Driskel: Despite Success, Work to Be Done

The Florida Gators were perched as high as they could possibly expect to be when the first BCS poll of the season came out on Sunday. The Gators are undefeated and have played maybe the toughest schedule in America so far, but they also have work to do in order to shore up some weak spots. Quarterback Jeff Driskel understands all of that and expects his team to continue to progress.

When the first BCS poll came out on Sunday the Florida Gators surprised a lot of folks by showing up in the number two spot. A preseason poll of fans and media would have been about unanimous that they would be nowhere near the second spot in the poll.

The Gators have done plenty of good things so far to merit the attention and adulation. Three road win in America's best football conference to go along with a home victory over then ranked #3 LSU are great resume builders for this squad.

Still, there is room to grow for this team,

Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel was 11 for 20 for 77 yards in the air on Saturday in Nashville as the Gators beat Vanderbilt. The Gators pulled off the win because the defense was strong for three quarters before finally giving up some tread in the fourth quarter for the first time all season.

Driskel did his part on the ground instead of the air rushing for 177 yards and so the team pulled out another win securing their spot near the very top f the BCS poll. The athletic quarterback says his team has probably earned it so far, but they know they can't pay attention to that stuff.

"We don't get too caught up in rankings, but we are undefeated and have had a tough schedule," he said. "We are 6-0 and that is what we want and can't get any better than that right now."

The 11 for 20 mark and 77 yards was the worst passing mark of the year for Driskel but he wasn't helped by four dropped balls on the night. Still, he feels he could have done better in the pocket by trusting his teammates.

"Sometimes I feel like I get out of the pocket too early," he said Monday to the Florida media. "I might be locking in on a receiver or watching the rush. As a quarterback I can't do that. I have to trust the offensive line is going to block and the receiver is going to get to a spot."

Scrambling and throwing has been good for Driskel so far, but could be better. It is something they continually work on because of his mobility.

"That is something we will have to work on and get better," he said. "It ended up working out for us. We made a couple of big plays when I got out of the pocket. We worked on our scramble moves with the receivers. There are positives and negatives that come with that, but we have to get better in that aspect."

Driskel understands what they have been able to do and not been able to do and says he knows teams will see it on film as well.

"We haven't made that many plays in the passing game," he said. "I would load the box and that's what teams will start doing. We have confidence that when we get one-on-one matchups we will be able to beat them. We have good receivers and playmakers and are just going to have to start to make plays."

The final score of the game and the overall record is what matters. Despite the Gators being dead last in passing offense in the SEC, Driskel isn't worried about anything but winning.

"I didn't realize we were last in passing, but we're first in the east," he said about being the only undefeated team in the SEC's Eastern Division. "That is all that matters, we are undefeated and if you are winning everything is alright. Obviously we have to get better in the passing game, but we are winning games and that is what matters."

With his running ability of course the comparisons to Gator Great Tim Tebow have come. Driskel has been hearing them all along, but really hasn't heard anything new on that front this week.

"They have been saying that all along," he said. "It is something you have to live with. It is an honor to be compared to player like that."

Florida has started to rely on Driskel's running ability more and more and the dividends have been great. Florida is running the Read Option from the Pistol formation and with fakes to running back Mike Gillislee who is now second in the SEC in rushing, Driskel found himself uncovered a few times and for touchdowns against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Saturday.

"It's a Read Option and you read the ends," Driskel said. "If he comes up field you give the ball, if he crashes the ball carrier, you pull and keep it. The line has to do a good job of selling it and the back has to do a good job of selling it.

"I don't know if you saw, but Gilly got lit up on some of them even though he didn't have the ball, he did a good job of selling the fake. That is a huge part of what he does well. He doesn't get enough credit for that and was a huge part of what sprung the huge gains.

"That is why t was wide open. On the second touchdown, the corner and safety on that side flew t Gillislee and I basically walked right past them.

"We've done them all year long. They've worked well for us. We just haven't hit the huge plays like against Vanderbilt. Against LSU we gave it to the back more than I kept it. They keyed more on the back this week and that is why I had some big runs.

"That is definitely a big part of my game that I can run and make plays with my legs. We didn't expect to put up numbers like that with me, but when you have Mike Gillislee running the way he has been year, they key on him and it opens up outside. When you get great perimeter blocking, that's when it happens."

Driskel is always a ‘we' guy and is quick to give praise when deserved. Some of his highest praise goes to fullback Hunter Joyer who has been a huge catalyst on a lot of the big running plays Florida has produced this year.

"He doesn't get near enough credit that he deserves and he doesn't want the credit," Driskel said of Joyer. "Fullbacks usually get 2-3 touches a year and that's it. He springs big plays all the time and is always sticking his nose in the middle of it. He's definitely a big part of our offense."

This week, the Gators are back home, but against division rival South Carolina. The Gamecocks are ranked seventh in the first BCS poll and will be in a foul mood after losing to LSU in a close game this past weekend.

Jadaveon Clowney will be supplying the pass rush and the sophomore has been a beast for everyone this year he has faced. Driskel knows all about him, but believes his guys are up to the task of stopping him.

"We definitely know he is a great player, but we know we have great players as well," Driskel said. "Our tackles are going to be challenged and we are definitely going to have to have some help with backs and protection. I don't think he is a guy that you have to look at and not the secondary or anything like that. Like I said, if you are a quarterback and looking at the rush, you are doing wrong. You just have to trust the line and the backs to pick up the rush."

The Gamecocks and maybe especially Clowney have been called out lately for talking a lot of trash on the field. According to Driskel, that is all part of the game and he honestly hears none of it when it happens.

"There is no time for that," the quarterback said. "I never really listen to it. If they are saying it, I'm not hearing it. That's nothing really that has ever really crossed my mind.

"There's always going to be trash talk during the games. It is a physical game and guys are excited, but I've never really paid attention to it."

Of course the Gamecocks are coached by ‘The Ole Ball Coach' Steve Spurrier. The ‘Gator Great' quarterback and former head coach has put his mark on the South Carolina program. He's had them battling for national supremacy in the last few years. It makes for a little more drama, but not in the eyes of Driskel and his teammates.

"He's definitely a Gator Great, I drive by his statue every day," Driskel said referring to Florida's three Heisman Trophy winner statues posted outside of the stadium. "All of our players didn't play for him or weren't here when he was around. It's definitely a bigger thing for the fans and the media than the players.

"It's hard to miss the statue and the guy that named the stadium and what it's called (The Swamp). I don't think we are worried about it, but I think we know he coached here."

He said he really didn't know about Spurrier when the gamecock head coach was roaming the sidelines at Florida.

"I think I was more worried about cartoons at that time," Driskel said. "You see film of him being a Gator coach and see his visor. I was too young for that and wasn't really a football fan at that time."

As far as getting ready for South Carolina, the real preparation starts Monday.

"We haven't gotten too much into the game plan yet, because it's early in the week," Driskel said. "We will get into that a little later this afternoon.

"We know they have a great defensive line and corners that will press you. It will come down to the one-on-one battles outside and slowing down the pass rush. It is a lot like LSU. They play the same type of defense and have the same type of players."

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