UF’s Pease sees Driskel improvement

Second UF football open practice
Second UF football open practice

Quarterback Jeff Driskel and offensive coordinator Brent Pease during an open practice at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in August 17.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 20, 2013 at 1:33 p.m.

Despite Florida’s offensive struggles through the first two games of the 2013 season, coordinator Brent Pease believes his unit is headed in the right direction.

Starting quarterback Jeff Driskel threw for a career-high 291 yards at Miami. However, he also accounted for three of UF’s five turnovers that resulted in the 21-16 loss.

Pease said Driskel is not “by any means where he needs to be,” but he’s still seen improvement from him early on in his junior season. Pease pointed to his experience with his former quarterback at Boise State.

“I look back to Kellen Moore when he was in the offensive system that we had,” Pease said Thursday night on the Gator Hotline radio show. “He was a good player his freshman year, but there were a lot of great players around him. He got better his sophomore year. He had an outstanding junior year, and he was very good his senior year. So the years he blossomed were really year three and year four.

“Now, am I saying Jeff is Kellen Moore? No. They’re two different type of players. But I think the kid has progressed, and I think there’s still a long ways to go. He takes the right approach to wanting to get better and really execute what we need to do. ... I know people are so critical of the situation because of the spot he plays. But there’s things all around us that we have to get better in as an offense.”

Pease talked about the three main statistics he uses to evaluate the offense.

“Turnovers, that’s our No. 1 goal,” he said. “Second thing is third-down conversions. The third one is red-zone efficiency.

“When we look at third downs, we’re better this year than we were last year. Red zone, we were not good enough in the last game. It’s early in the season. We need to progress and progress fast to get where we want to go.”

UF converted 37 percent of its third-down attempts in 2012. That percentage is 44 so far this season.

The Gators scored on 83 percent of their red zone trips last year. They have scored on 50 percent of their chances in 2013, including two-of-six against the ’Canes.

Florida has lost four fumbles in two games, almost half of the number (10) it had last season.

“We were pretty tough on our kids (this week) in a five-minute period of holding onto the ball and punching it out,” Pease said. “I was punching with my hand and my knuckles were bleeding the other day. We usually try to do it once a week. This week we’ve done it every day.”

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