Season of improvement for Driskel

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel went into preseason camp fighting for a starting job. He'll line up under center on Wednesday to quarterback a BCS game. The sophomore's transformation from beginning to end of the year is one offensive coordinator Brent Pease is proud of, but he's even more excited for the two years Driskel has left on campus, as he continues to develop at the position.

"He's got more knowledgeable," Brent Pease said. "His leadership skills have started to step out. Things get easier. He anticipates a lot better with what he's doing. Now it's just the development of different aspects of offense, whether we've opened it up and letting him throw it a little bit more and throw it downfield or have more checks at the line.

"Those type of things are things we continue to try to growth with as an offense."

The Florida offensive coaches opened up the offense against Florida State in the finale of the regular season. Even as that continues to happen and the players continue to find their role in the offense, the Gators will always feature the run game as long as Will Muschamp is the head coach. It's the design he wants his offenses to have and the mentality he wants to resonate with his team.

When Driskel was allowed to throw the ball more and have more control of the offense, he looked more confident against the Seminoles. But he swears that confidence was always there.

"I feel like I have been confident the whole season," Jeff Driskel said. "There has never been a lack of confidence. I feel like I am a little bit more confident because we beat teams week in and week out and I've played well down stretch. I'm excited about playing a good Louisville team in the Sugar Bowl and getting a jump on next season."?

As the offense grew, it continued to feature Driskel's running ability. The sophomore gained 679 yards on the ground with his legs this season and added four touchdowns, including three against Vanderbilt. His legs were especially a trusted part of the offense late in games. When the Gators were trying to run the ball and kill the clock, play action keepers by Driskel often caught the defense off balance and went for a late first down to run some more clock.

That element of the offense won't be going anywhere. Even as Driskel becomes more of a proven passer, the running element of his game will continue to be an important point of the Florida offense.

"I really think that that's going to be a part of the offense," Pease said. "I look back through when I was at Boise State, we played Nevada and they had Colin Kaepernick. That's part of what they did. He's very good, see what he does in the pocket, moving the pocket at the next level.

"But Jeff's got the arm. And as far as him being a better pocket passer, we've got to get some people get better people around him, play the spots, give him more depth that the receivers had, because we had injuries and guys that gotta be more consistent. He's gotta get those repetitions."

Those will come this spring. Driskel went through spring ball last season while fighting with Jacoby Brissett to win the starting job. This offseason, he'll take all the first-team reps that he needs by himself.

"I think you always see drastic improvement as you go into spring," Pease said. "He'll know everything we're doing. You can start to go back and spend some time in the film room where you're not having to do it out there, talk a little verbally about him, get the mindset that way and more what they're thinking, and start that development with that process."


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