Driskel comfortable after first practice

After being cleared to return to practice on Thursday following an appendectomy, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel wasn't sure what to expect. He sat behind the offensive huddle during each of the practices over the first week, but mental reps can only go so far. Thursday was about returning to the field and starting his preparation for the season.

"It was good," Jeff Driskel said. "Everything felt good in my stomach. I thought I threw the ball really well, and I thought we had a good day offensively. I wasn't limited at all -- I was full go. I didn't have any pain, no issues."

The only frustration for Driskel was the NCAA mandated acclimation period that kept him out of pads. He'll get to put full pads on early next week, but that won't keep him out of Saturday's scrimmage. Florida quarterbacks wear red non-contact jerseys during camp, so he won't take his first hit until the first game of the season.

The recovery period was different for Driskel. While his team was out on the practice field with Tyler Murphy taking first team reps, Driskel eased into action slowly. He started by walking on a treadmill before move to an elliptical and then went into some light running before being cleared on Thursday.

The message from the doctor was to monitor his right abdomen area and ‘don't be dumb.'

"If it hurts, tell the trainers and they'll do what's best for me," Driskel said, recalling the doctor's message. "Don't push through pain is basically what that means."

Driskel was happy with how the first practice went, and his teammates and coaches were, too.

"Very good," Florida head coach Will Muschamp said. "He had great command. He threw the ball extremely well. Nice zip on the ball. He threw a couple nice touch passes. I thought he looked sharp. The guys know this is Jeff's team. We have a lot of confidence in him and certainly you felt the command out there. But I think Tyler Murphy did a really good job too. I'm really excited, very valuable for him and us moving forward."

Heading into his second year as the starting quarterback, there are noticeable differences for Driskel. The appendectomy would've been a much larger issue for him last year in the heat of a quarterback battle. Now, he knows the offense and how to put in study time on his own.

That made returning even easier. He isn't learning a new offense or dealing with a new offensive coordinator. He knows what Brent Pease wants on the field, making it even easier to get back in the groove.

"I just think I'm a lot more comfortable," Driskel said. "I know where to throw the ball and I know where to throw the ball in certain situations, and we're a lot better at timing. I'm getting the ball out before they're breaking rather than waiting for them to break to throw the ball. That's a big difference in catching the ball and getting tackled or catching the ball and turning it up-field."

And because of the growth in the offense, Driskel thinks he's ready for a breakout year.

"I'm excited for the first game to really show it off, but thus far I feel like I've gotten a lot better, and I think we've gotten a lot better as a whole on offense."

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