There has been one huge theme for this 2014 version of the Florida Gators among the message boards, the fans, the media, and everyone that talks about college football. How good is junior starting quarterback Jeff Driskel and can he get it done? The answer to that question has a lot to do with the success of the Florida football program in 2014 and we don’t have the answers after two games.
Well, some believe they have the answer and that Driskel isn’t the guy. I’m not in that camp, but I do believe something needs to change.
Driskel has just got to get some swag to his game.
By that, I mean he needs to get more confidence in his game and even more important, more confidence in the players around him.
From my perspective, I believe Driskel is trying to be too careful. He is more worried about allowing a defender to get to the ball than he is about getting the ball to his receiver at the other end of the pass.
He actually has been very careful. He has one interception in two games and that was a freaky mistake with communication between him and his receiver when he was rushed out of the pocket. The one really bad throw I think he has made was a screen pass in the Eastern Michigan game that should have been an interception.
Watching Driskel throw the deep ball, it is almost always overthrown. His receiver has a half step or a step on the defender and he lays it out there just a little too deep. His intention to keep it away from the defender means he keeps it away from his own receiver. That can’t be the case.
Now I have no intention of even intimating a quarterback controversy, that isn’t even in the realm of my thinking. But a good example of what I am talking about came in the Eastern Michigan game and the arm of Treon Harris. It is amazing that Harris threw two passes for 148 yards and both were touchdowns, but that is beside the point. But his first throw was to sophomore receiver Demarcus Robinson. Robinson had a step or more on his defender and Treon laid it out there deep. The pass was actually slightly under-thrown and Robinson had some contact with the defender who could have made a play. Instead Robinson took the ball away and finished with a 70 yard touchdown strike.
Driskel needs to trust his star receiver Robinson and senior Quinton Dunbar that they have the ability to go up and pull down the ‘50/50’ balls as head coach Will Muschamp likes to call them. In my opinion, that lacking trust is a major part of the issue with his throwing the ball.
Honestly, that trust was an issue a couple of years ago when he started 13 games. Dunbar was just a first year starter and a sophomore then. The receivers weren’t all that ready to be prime time. ‘50/50’ balls went the other way more often than not.
But all of that has changed.
Some still believe he can’t make the deep throw with any real chance of completing it at a decent percentage. We watched this spring and fall when he did exactly that. I totally believe it is a mindset change that needs to happen. It’s something he was forced to have for three years and now must change under a new offensive coordinator that wants to use the deep ball as a staple of the offense.
He just needs more confidence in his game and the players around him. He needs some swagger. And, he just needs to sling it.