Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Offseason spotlight: Florida
By Edward Aschoff
Florida's offense has to get going in 2014 or major change could be coming. This player had his 2013 season cut short, but has a chance to really turn his career and the Gators around this fall:
Spotlight: Quarterback Jeff Driskel, 6-foot-4, 239 pounds, redshirt junior
Jeff Driskel's injury was a major factor in Florida's collapse last season.
2013 summary: Driskel had his junior season cut short in the third game of the season, when he broke his right leg against Tennessee. During his three starts, he threw for 477 yards on 41 of 62 passing. He also threw two touchdowns to three interceptions and rushed for 38 yards and one more score.
The skinny: Despite what many might think about Driskel's limited time on the field in 2013, he showed flashes of growth before his leg injury against the Vols. Coach Will Muschamp points to the Miami game as Driskel's best passing game yet because of his ability to throw the ball downfield. He passed for 291 yards in that game, but also had two costly interceptions. Driskel hasn't lived up to the hype of being the nation's No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2011 class, but he's also about to work with his third offensive coordinator in his time at Florida. The good news for Driskel is that new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper's spread attack will have him in the shotgun more, which is similar to what he did in high school. Running more zone-read plays should also help him see more of the field and use his legs more. But he has to show that he's still a top leader on this team, he has to develop even better chemistry with his receivers and he has to make better decisions in the pocket. Driskel has gotten into a habit of getting careless with where he puts the ball and taking too long in the pocket. That can't happen if the Gators are going to rebound from a 4-8 2013 season. There's a lot of pressure on Driskel, and home fans turned on him at times in 2013. He's shaken that off, but wants to prove himself. He'll also get some good competition from true freshman Will Grier, who is already on campus, and incoming freshman Treon Harris, who ran a similar offense in high school to what Roper ran while at Duke. This is easily Driskel's most important offseason with the Gators.