UF’s Driskel still supportive teammate
Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 5:03 p.m.
New starting quarterback Tyler Murphy said he’s been offered words of encouragement from the man he’s replacing, the injured Jeff Driskel, who is scheduled to undergo surgery today on his broken lower right leg.
“It was tough to see him go down,” Murphy said. “Anytime you spend a lot of time with someone in the meeting room, off the field, setting up players' practices in the summer, stuff like that, it's just tough because you know we kind of built a good little relationship.
“I texted him and told him I wish him the best. Hopefully he can get healthy and get back out as soon as possible. He said, ‘It's your time now.’ He was very encouraging. He said he was just going to help me along the way."
Offensive coordinator Brent Pease said he thinks Driskel will remain involved with the team and will successfully overcome his season-ending injury, including the emotional part of losing his season.
“It sets you back emotionally because I think he’s put a lot of time and investment into preparing himself, getting better,” Pease said. “It’s something you’ve got to overcome. It’s part of football.
“The good thing with Jeff is that he’ll overcome it, he’ll come back and be fine. He’ll just have to get back in the swing of things. It’s going to take four to five to six months for that to happen.
“He was in our meetings yesterday. He told Tyler (Murphy) and said it to me, ‘Whatever you need me to do, I’ll be glad to help. I’m there for you.’ He’s a supportive teammate.”
Pease said it’s a positive that Driskel plans to stay involved.
“He's still part of our team,” Pease said. “He's just not going to be out there physically doing some things, so you’ve got to keep him involved, because I don't want him to just disappear and not be around. He's got to be around. He's got to stay in tune with what we're doing offensively."
Taylor making a move
Pease said true freshman tailback Kelvin Taylor is making positive strides in practice and likely will get more carries.
“I don’t know a number. It depends on the flow of the game,” Pease said. “Kelvin has done a lot better in practice. He’s kind of hitting that flow like Matt (Jones) did last year when Matt started showing up and doing good things in practice and he started taking off. Kelvin is starting to hit that.
“He’s a kid who’s got good quickness, good strength, he’s got good running instincts and abilities. We want to try and get him into the flow on some things. We got him in there the other day. Based on the flow of the game, sometimes you want to get him more (carries).”
Just when it looked like true freshman wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was going to start getting involved in the passing game, he was suspended from the UT game last week. He’s been cleared to play Saturday against Kentucky.
“I just told him every freshman goes through it,” Pease said. “They’ve got to find that pattern of consistency about fitting in, being there. And he’s good about that. He understood. He didn’t complain. He’s moved on, so we’ll see how he approaches practice this week.”
One tough dude
Max Garcia said he can’t help but marvel at the toughness of fellow offensive guard Jon Halapio. After missing camp and the first two games of the season with a torn pectoral muscle, Halapio got poked in the eye and needed stitches in the UT game, but still returned to play.
“At first, I thought it was his shoulder again when he was on the field like that,” Garcia said. “When he came back with his eye, it pretty much looked like a grape. I was like, ‘Man how’d that happen? When did that happen?’ He was like, ‘I tried to cut the guy and his finger went in my eye.’ I was like, ‘Are you going to go back in? You’re crazy, you can’t even see.’
“I'm like, ‘I can't even play if I lose a contact and you don't even have an eye.’ This guy is a warrior. I have a lot of respect for him. Even before I came here, I knew he was a leader on this team. Just a tremendous amount of respect. He just continues to show that he's a leader. And he doesn't talk about it, he just walks the walk.”
Pease returns, too
Saturday night’s game is a homecoming for more than just wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, the former UK player and head coach. Pease also coached at UK. He was the Wildcats’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2001-02 under Guy Morriss.
“I’ve got a lot of friends there,” Pease said. “Obviously, worked there. It’s a great place. I’ve gone back there to see ... I always go back to horse races. Still have a couple close friends there that stay in touch with my family and my wife.”