Driskel growing in confidence

Florida junior quarterback Jeff Driskel said knowing he's the clear-cut starter has removed a burden from his shoulders.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.
Florida junior quarterback Jeff Driskel is a different player this spring. He's calmer, more confident and finally comfortable with himself and the UF offense. The second-year starter is no longer looking over his shoulder, knowing that Jacoby Brissett is gunning for his job. Brissett transferred to N.C. State, and so has Driskel's burden of being one bad game away from the bench. “This year, I'm the guy, and that does take a little bit off my shoulders,” Driskel said. It also allows him to be more open with UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease. Last year, Pease felt both Brissett and Driskel would say they understood a play or concept when they sometimes didn't, wanting to impress the new coach and appear ahead of the other guy.

“When they were in there competing,” Pease recalled, “maybe they weren't as honest as always they said they were, ‘Hey, I got this. I know this.' After we went back and assessed and I kind of re-asked some questions, there was some, ‘Coach what do you mean by that?' I think they maybe hid some things a little bit. Not mischievously, but just in a learning factor of trying to know it all.” Driskel still has a lot of learn, but his extra time in the film room since the Sugar Bowl has given him much more knowledge of Florida's offensive system. “Jeff really attacked the offseason from a mental standpoint as far as film is concerned and studying what he can do to be a better quarterback,” UF coach Will Muschamp said. “That's part of the maturation process in becoming a better player is understanding what you've got to do to be successful.” Driskel's amount of improvement, specifically in two areas of his game, will determine how productive the offense is in 2013. “We've got to be a better throwing team, and that starts with him,” Pease said. “And a lot of it is based around understanding the protections a lot better and when he has to get rid of the ball and where he has to see his reads. Just seeing the field better as a quarterback.” Driskel isn't quite there yet, but he feels himself making strides this spring and is confident in his abilities. “Getting the ball out quick is something we've emphasized a lot, and I feel like I've done a good job with that, and put a lot of time into (knowing) protections,” he said. “I definitely know where my eyes need to be more than just kind of scanning the field guessing. “I'm confident. Coming in very confident, and confident that I've done the work in the classroom to be able to be more confident. Not just because I'm the guy now, but because I've put in the work. That more than anything.”

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