Driskel Making Necessary Reads

After seven Florida players caught passes in each of the first two SEC games, there were ten players that caught at least one pass on Saturday against Kentucky. The competition and atmosphere weren't the same as the first two road games, but quarterback Jeff Driskel was able to spread the ball around more than any game this year. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease credits the sophomore's growth.

"Jeff is starting to make reads and find where the open guy is at," Brent Pease said. "Some of the plays are created off scrambles. He's finding open guys and guys are working to him."

Pease also credited players settling into their roles as the season moves on. Quinton Dunbar, Frankie Hammond, Omarius Hines and Jordan Reed each caught three passes on the day. Six other players, including the first career catch for Raphael Andrades, had just one.

Instead of struggling to figure out where to go with the ball when a play breaks down or holding onto it and causing a sack like happened against Texas A&M, Driskel is going through all of his reads. It's producing an atmosphere around the Florida offense that has multiple playmakers involved.

It was also evident with deep balls on Saturday. Driskel and the Florida offense tried to stretch the field against the Wildcats, but it wasn't a big surprise to those in orange and blue. Kentucky showed on film that it was willing to give away the deep ball to try stopping the run and taking away the short routes.

"It's what the defense is willing to give up. That was part of our plan," Pease said. "We knew we were going to be aggressive with throws. We missed a few of them. When you hit some of those, it helps the run game a lot more. That was our objective because that is what was presented to us in our breakdowns and opponent study, so we wanted to take advantage of it."

It was a good opportunity for Driskel to continue to grow closer with his receivers. Florida coach Will Muschamp said on Monday that he wanted the sophomore quarterback to improve his timing with the receivers during the bye week. Florida spent Tuesday and Wednesday focusing on itself during practice, and that was one of the key areas the offense was going to focus on.

The downfall of a long quarterback battle during the offseason is that this timing usually gets taken care of before the season starts. The Gators were forced to split reps between Driskel and Jacoby Brissett during the offseason, and one quarterback wasn't able to build chemistry with the receivers.

"We missed a few throws and some of them are some accuracy or timing of rhythm based off of just the receivers and quarterbacks being a little more in tune with each other," Pease said. "Some of them are just that the protection's got to hold up a little bit better. Guys are just learning that they understand those concepts. They're playing faster.

REED'S ROLE GROWING: Jordan Reed has become a go-to target for the Florida offense. He leads the team with 16 catches that have gone for 193 yards and one touchdown. It's his athleticism that makes the difference.

Reed came to Gainesville as a quarterback before switching to tight end part time in 2010 while also taking reps under center. Last year was his first year at only tight end, and Reed is excelling in his second year at the position.

"He's a guy that's ahead of the learning situation because he hasn't really played tight end a whole lot but he can," Pease said. "I was kind of excited because I knew we could move him around and do a lot of different things with him. Very talented as far as hands and route-running ability and learning and getting better every day as a blocker as far as the tight end position on line."

Pease knew Reed was comfortable at tight end earlier in the fall. The offensive coordinator was pushing Reed to understand more about the position, such as how to attack a defense depending on the coverage. Reed recently started suggesting things at practice that made Pease realize how far he has come.

It's his understanding of running routes and how to attack a defense, how to attack a matchup if that's what he has," Pease said. "He understands what the defense is presenting him and how he's got to beat the coverage or where the blocking scheme's got to fit the best."

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