GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Jeff Driskel was a pretty good high school baseball player, but he’s not too keen on sliding on the football field.
In fact, Florida’s sophomore quarterback doesn’t mind taking hits when he’s running with the ball. He seems to like it, actually, which is not exactly thrilling news for coach Will Muschamp.
"They told me at the beginning of the year when I get the opportunity to slide," Driskel said. "But I’m a bigger guy. I can take a couple of hits. If I’m going to get popped and know it’s coming,I’ll slide. But I’m a bigger guy and feel like I can put my head down and get a few more yards."
The 6-foot-4, 237-pound Driskel took a couple good shots in the Gators’ 20-17 victory at Texas A&M last Saturday. He was sacked eight times, although he ran out of bounds on two of those, and ran the ball an additional nine times. His last carry went for 21 yards on UF’s final drive and he took several hits before finally going down.
That’s a perfect example of when he should have gone down. Once he got the first down -- it was second-and-10 -- Muschamp would have liked Driskel to avoid a hit. The first down sealed the victory and taking a hit was needless.
"We want him to get down more in situations and obviously be smart in the situation," Muschamp said. "If it’s third-and-8 and we’re scrambling and it’s 2 yards away, then we need to get the first down. But we need to be smart about the situation and that’s going to be hard on Jeff, to be quite frank. He’s a guy that’s going to throw his jaw in there and try to get what we can get."
Driskel was a dual-threat quarterback at Hagerty High School in Oviedo, Fla., and ran for 1,333 yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior. He won the starting job at Florida over sophomore Jacoby Brissett because of his mobility and ability to run, and Muschamp does want Driskel to run with the ball -- as long as he’s smart about taking hits.
But Driskel -- who has 17 carries in two games (including nine sacks) -- never slid in high school and it’s a foreign concept for him now. But he said he’s working on it.
"It would be different. I’ve never slid in the past," Driskel said. "You never want to take that many hits, but I’m fine. I’m good to go."