Florida Needs Consistent QB Play from Jeff Driskel to Win SEC East

Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterSeptember 24, 2012

Florida QB Jeff Driskel
Florida QB Jeff DriskelKim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Florida has been looking for consistency out of the quarterback position ever since Tim Tebow took his final snap in the 2010 Sugar Bowl following the 2009 season.

Jeff Driskel won the job in the opener and then took control of it during Florida's first two SEC games versus Texas A&M and Tennessee, completing 75 percent of his passes, throwing for 381 yards and rushing for 88 yards in those two contests.

Those were two big-time contests in hostile environments, but last weekend versus Kentucky—a team he should have lit up—he was average at best.

The sophomore completed 18 of 27 passes for 203 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Not bad, but he missed several open receivers and looked hesitant at times—especially in the first half. His biggest pass play of the day was a 52-yard prayer to Omarius Hines where the Kentucky defensive back simply didn't turn around.

Driskel knows that he has some work to do.

"I definitely have to clean some things up, but I think I did a nice job with the opportunities I had,” Driskel said in his postgame media session following the game.

Every quarterback is going to have ups and downs, especially young quarterbacks. But Florida is fortunate that this performance came against Kentucky rather than a more competitive SEC team.

We have already seen what Driskel is capable of.

His touchdown pass to Jordan Reed in the third quarter of the win over Tennessee was a pass you see on Sunday, not Saturday; and his pass on the run down the sideline to Solomon Patton to set up a field goal was as well.

If he plays like that on a weekly basis, not only is Florida going to contend for the SEC East title, it could even be the favorite to win it.

But his performance on Saturday versus Kentucky won't cut it if the Gators want to win the division.

Is Florida "back"?

Back in contention, absolutely.

To be successful in the SEC, you have to run the ball and play defense, and Florida can certainly do both of those well whether Driskel is on his game or not.

But Driskel can't play like he did in the first half against Kentucky versus SEC East powers Georgia and South Carolina if he wants to win the division this season, because those defenses will take advantage.