Driskel needs help, Muschamp says
Published: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 10:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 10:28 p.m.
Every young quarterback is bound to have a bad performance in his first season under center.
For Florida sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel, who had played smart and efficient in the first seven games of this year, his came against Georgia with the SEC Eastern Division on the line.
“It was a bad night to have it,” Driskel said after the 17-9 loss to the Bulldogs. “That was a big game.”
Driskel's 185 yards through the air on Saturday was the first time he surpassed the century mark since the Kentucky game, but he committed four crucial turnovers and was sacked five times.
As many mistakes as Driskel made, UF coach Will Muschamp didn't place all the blame on him.
“They were loading the box, and we gotta win down the field,” Muschamp said. “We gotta protect better, we gotta create vertical plays, we gotta find ways to run the ball. You can't put everything on Jeff Driskel.”
The lack of production on the ground bothered Muschamp the most. Senior running back Mike Gillislee had been held to under 100 rushing yards in the last three games, and Muschamp said it's difficult for Driskel to pass when the defense knows it's coming.
“We weren't running the ball well enough (against Georgia),” Muschamp said. “When you become one-dimensional against really good rushers, it's hard and it puts a lot of pressure on him. So we gotta play better around him and find better ways to run the football.”
Losers' locker room
Saturday was the first time Florida went into the locker room without a win this season.
It's a feeling most UF players experienced six times last year.
But this team believes it knows how to handle defeat more maturely and bounce back better than it did in 2011.
“We went through a lot last season and we definitely grew as a team,” senior linebacker Jon Bostic said. “This is not the end of everything.”
Muschamp has previously said a few of his players did some finger-pointing after last year's losses and didn't deal with adversity the right way.
Not this time around.
“We've already had some guys stand up,” Muschamp said. “We got a bunch of down guys in the locker room, and I totally understand that. But we gotta regroup here. Our staff will get back in the office tomorrow and work, then get the players back at 3 o'clock on Monday.
“I think we've got good leadership on our football team and we'll be fine in the long run. We just need to push through this, and there's no question there's a lot of football to play.”
Senior safety Josh Evans said the Gators didn't respond to the first couple of 2011 losses as well as they could have, but he feels they've learned their lesson.
“We've been in this situation before,” Evans said. “It's all about how you get back. That was pretty much the talk in the locker room (Saturday). I'm confident in this team that we'll bounce back pretty well.”
On the injury front, junior defensive tackle Damien Jacobs did not travel to Jacksonville because his injured hip isn't fully healed, Muschamp said. As for the game, Muschamp said redshirt junior linebacker Jelani Jenkins tweaked his hamstring and he thinks junior receiver Solomon Patton broke his left arm. … Senior kicker Caleb Sturgis, who connected on all three of his field-goal attempts against Georgia, hit a 50-yarder in the fourth quarter to extend his own Florida record of field goals of 50 or more yards to eight. … Redshirt sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball made the first interception of his career in the first quarter. … It was Georgia's biggest upset of Florida since it beat the top-ranked Gators in 1985.