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The Gators lost staring quarterback John Brantley last week and highly touted freshman Jeff Driskel will take over in the first start of his career. Driskel came into Florida as the consensus No. 1 high school quarterback, choosing Florida over LSU, Auburn and Alabama.
Driskel's high school accolades will not help him this week. Charlie Weis has only one week to find out what his quarterbacks strengths are and devise a game plan that will allow Driskel to be successful.
After taking over for Brantley, Driskel struggled against a stingy Alabama defense. Not all of it was his fault, as Florida's offensive line was manhandled for much of the second half. Driskel's bright spot came on a 31-yard run that brought back Tim Tebow nostalgia for Gator Nation. Driskel is a very capable runner and should not hesitate to tuck the ball and go if he can't find an open man.
Weis will be forced to gut dumb down the offense this week to make his quarterback comfortable, something the Gators do not want to have to do when going up against arguably the best defense in the country.
On the year, Driskel is 7-of-16 for 73 yards and two interceptions.
The Tigers come into this game undefeated and ranked atop most major polls. They have done this with senior quarterback Jarrett Lee. The Tigers starter from a season ago, Jordan Jefferson, sat out the first four games after being charged with assault in the offseason. His charges have since been dropped to a misdemeanor and made a return to the team last week against Kentucky. While Jarrett Lee remained the starter, Jefferson made his first appearance, rushing four times for 29 yards and a touchdown.
It doesn't appear that Jefferson will take the starting job from Lee, even after Lee's lackluster performance against Kentucky. Lee completed only 8-of-23 passes and added a touchdown. The most likely outcome with Jefferson's return to the lineup will be the Tigers will move to a rotation similar to the one they had last year, only reversed. Expect Lee to start and Jefferson to come in for some set packages that will allow the offense some versatility with the rushing threat Jefferson brings.
Breakdown: Jeff Driskel's baptism by fire continues this week in Death Valley. The Gators will struggle to move the ball on offense with the freshman taking snaps and a simplified playbook. LSU will put off their quarterback controversy for another week.