LSU to provide true test for UF this week
Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:02 p.m.
Through four games, Florida's offense has established a pretty clear identity already under new coordinator Brent Pease.
What: No. 10 University of Florida vs. No. 4 Louisiana State University.
When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, aka The Swamp.
TV/Radio: CBS, AM 850, 103.7 FM.
Information: Visit www.gatorsports.com or www.gatorzone.com/football.
The Gators have shown excellent balance between the run and the pass, are taking care of the football and have a young quarterback in Jeff Driskel who has been making progress from game to game and is spreading the ball around to multiple playmakers.
"Our identity is to be physical and balanced and be able to run the ball," Pease said last Wednesday. "To reach a goal of 200 yards a week (rushing) is what we want to do. Our identity has been established in that we're going to do that with the guys we have.
"The roles change every week on how we're getting it done."
But, of course, the Gators might not discover their true identity until they face one of the nation's strongest defenses this week against LSU.
"This is a defining moment to see where we're at," Pease said.
It's a daunting challenge, but one the Gators seem ready to take on after the way things have come together over the course of the first four games.
Much of the positive vibe has been generated by the emergence of Driskel, who has been making plays with his arm and his feet and has thrown only one interception.
Pease said Driskel's rate of progress is ahead of many of the quarterbacks he's coached at the same stage in their development.
"I don't know if it's a faster pace. Some of the guys I've worked with, he's ahead of what they've done on a week-to-week basis," Pease said. "Sometimes it's maybe right on par. I don't think he's behind anybody.
"Each week, he's done a better job. You ask him this week, and he'll go back and say, ‘I missed a few things. There were a few things I could have done better.' That's just part of the learning curve. Nobody's perfect. He's learning that, too."
One of Driskel's strengths has been his ability to take care of the ball. His only turnover came on an interception on a deep throw against Kentucky.
"He'll learn from that," Pease said. "I think he's been smart understanding the defense, how he's attacking it.
"He has been aggressive. He's fit the ball in there and put them in a good spot. He's an accurate passer. That's a tremendous benefit of his. He has great accuracy. I think that's all kind of worked into his ability."
Driskel also seems to be seeing the entire field now instead of locking in on receivers. He completed passes to 10 different players in the win over UK.
"I think it's a combination of a few things," Pease said. "One, everybody kind of finding their role, what they can do. Two, there were some guys who had to step in for guys that were either down for a moment in a series or injured at the time. And Jeff is starting to make reads and find where the open guy is at. Some of the plays are created off scrambles. He's finding open guys, and guys are working to him. It's a mixture of all that."
"One of the things I think he's done a great job of is just his comfort zone in the pocket. Trusting the protection. Then starting to use his feet when he has to. He hasn't mastered it by any means, but he's gotten a lot better at it on a week-to-week basis."
Robbie Andreu is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.