Coming out of high school as Florida's Gatorade Player of the Year, Jeff Driskel was thought to be the next great Florida Gators' quarterback. Now, even after having a full year as an uncontested starter under his belt and an entire offseason with his teammates, Gators' fans were hoping for more consistency than they have seen so far in 2013.
After a long battle with the now departed Jacoby Brissett (transferred to North Carolina State), the 6'4, 240-pound Driskel took over the reigns of the Gators' offense for good in 2012. The Gators had a strong run game and a dominant defense. The offense was what kept the Gators from making a serious run at the national title.
The offensive line hasn't been as good as it was in the Tebow years, but it hasn't exactly been lackluster. For the most part, Driskel has had enough time to throw. When he hasn't had the time or he holds the ball for too long, that's when things start going downhill fast.
Let's take a look at some reasons why Driskel hasn't begun to approach the expectations that were prematurely placed on him coming out of high school.
An adjustment period is to be expected with any quarterback, especially in the SEC. Having endured numerous coaching changes and the position battle with Brissett, Driskel was given some slack but his first year as the incumbent should have served as his grace period. It's his team now and the Gators need him to show it.
If Florida wants to get back to being a national championship contender, Driskel needs to transform from a serviceable quarterback into a game changer. Florida is still very good and Driskel has his moments but if you want to be the man at Florida, you have to be better than good. You have to be great.
It's not as if Driskel has been flat out horrible, but there are clearly some situations that bring out the flaws in his game. Like most quarterbacks, the pressure of being deep in your own territory or getting into the opponent's red zone while trailing late in the game has gotten to Driskel. Unfortunately for the Gators it has happened at some inopportune times.
ESPN.com's Edward Aschoff breaks it down nicely in this piece on Driskel and the Gators offense, where he writes...
Driskel looked like a deer in headlights when the Gators got inside the red zone Saturday, but for the most part, he played pretty well inside the other 80 yards. He had command of the huddle, wasn't afraid to take a few shots down field (though he missed a few that were wide open) and is still owning the read-option. But his decision-making the closer Florida got to the end zone has to be concerning. And when the running game, which averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, shut down between the tackles, Driskel became too inconsistent with the ball.