Thursday, February 28, 2013
Offseason spotlight: Florida
By Chris Low
We continue our offseason spotlight with the Florida Gators:
Spotlight: Quarterback Jeff Driskel, 6-foot-4, 237 pounds, rising junior.
2012 summary: Driskel beat out Jacoby Brissett for the starting quarterback job after the two battled all spring and preseason. Driskel finished the season completing 63.7 percent of his passes and threw for 1,646 yards. He passed for 12 touchdowns and had five interceptions. Driskel was also second on the team in rushing with 413 yards and added four rushing touchdowns.
The skinny: It goes without saying that Florida has to add some pop to its passing game, and much of that centers around Driskel growing as a passer. He certainly has the arm strength and is plenty athletic. The big thing this spring and offseason will be improving his timing and chemistry with his receivers and learning to trust the people around him. That includes his offensive line, which wasn't the best when it came to pass protection a year ago. Spreading the ball around will also be important. There were times last season when Driskel would lock onto his first target and didn't see the entire field well enough. He's sure to grow in those areas after playing and starting an entire season in the SEC, and it will also help being with offensive coordinator Brent Pease for a second straight year. More than anything else, Driskel needs to take command of the Florida offense and prove that he can be the kind of quarterback who can beat teams throwing the ball if that's what the situation calls for. With Brissett transferring out, the Gators don't have a lot of options behind him at quarterback, so it's paramount that he take a big step this spring and offseason. Driskel is as tough as they come and delivered in several key situations last season. He's going to need more help from his receivers, but the Gators will need a more consistent passing game, period, in 2013 if they're going to contend for the SEC championship.