Driskel can't connect, offense sputters

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- The Gators had to take shots down the field to compete with Alabama. They took them early, but Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel wasn’t able to connect for the second week in a row.

To open its second drive of the game, Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper dialed up a play designed to get Demacus Robinson open down the sideline. It worked, and Robinson had multiple steps on the Alabama secondary. The ball was overthrown by a few feet.

It came one week after Will Muschamp and Jeff Driskel said following the Kentucky game that they needed to hit some shots down the field to avoid opponents loading the box to stop the run.

“That was a game of big plays,” Driskel said. “Alabama had a lot more than us. We’ve got to correct some things. It’s just missing it when it’s there. It’s open. Demarcus did a really good job of getting open and beating his guy, but I didn’t put it on him.”

Driskel took the blame for the missed throws and put it on himself, saying Alabama didn’t do anything unexpected in the secondary. The Gators tried to attack the middle of the field and hit passes in the seam, something Driskel was targeting when Alabama had two safeties on the field.

“Sometimes the inside is your best matchup,” Driskel said. “We didn’t get it done. That’s where you go with the ball in that situation. We just didn’t get it done.

Driskel had two interceptions and contributed to Matt Jones’ fumble. Muschamp said that he thought Driskel didn’t put the ball on the middle of Jones’ body, leaving it on his hip and able to come out easier.

The junior quarterback ended the game 9-28 for 93 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. With the overthrows continuing to happen, Muschamp admitted that they considered putting freshman backup Treon Harris into the game. However, they ultimately decided that Driskel gave them the best chance to win.

“We did (consider playing Harris), but Jeff gives us the best opportunity right now,” Muschamp said. “For us to win a football game like that, Jeff needs to play. When we move forward, we need to play better at that position and a bunch of other positions.”

Muschamp’s postgame comments were similar to his last week after the Kentucky game, noting that Driskel missed too many throws down the field.

“The execution was not what it needed to be,” Muschamp said. “We missed the deep ball to D-Rob earlier in the game. We had it open and got on top of a guy. Against a team like that, you’ve got to make plays when you have opportunities. We didn’t do that, didn’t run efficiently enough and didn’t stay on the field during third down.”

The bye week gives Florida an extended period of time to watch the film and try to make corrections before playing Tennessee in two weeks.

“We’re not hanging our heads,” Driskel said. “We’ll work to improve. There’s a lot of football to play.”

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