University of Florida Quarterback Jeff Driskel Ready to Take Next Step

By Curt Popejoy
Jeff Driskel
Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports

Last season the University of Florida football team was led by a punishing ground game and smothering defense. In a crowded SEC the Gators were in the mix until the very end, and one has to believe that if the Gators offense could have been just a bit more imaginative and a little less predictable their season could have gone even better.

That added element to the offense has to center on making this offense run through quarterback Jeff Driskel. The junior quarterback enters the 2013 college football season as the undisputed starter and should be considered the focal point of the offense. But is Driskel and the Florida team ready for that?

In 2012, Driskel was a victim of poor play-calling and bizarre coaching decisions. The Gators offense was all too predictable, choosing to grind it on the ground with running back Mike Gillislee, and only calling on Driskel to make a play when it was an obvious passing situation, often putting him in a precarious position for any real success.

In 2013, the Gators staff needs to be more proactive with their play-calling, allowing Driskel to make plays on early downs, using the short and screen passing game, and design the run game around his elite athleticism. I’ve heard a lot of jokes about Driskel as a runner, but I personally think a well designed quarterback run package would be very effective and give an added dimension to the offense.

My take-If the Gators struggle this year, I don’t think it’s going to be on Driskel. He’s got a ton of raw talent, a live arm and just needs some help. If he can get better blocking up front and if Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease can build a much better offensive system around Driskel’s skill set, he could end up as one of the top quarterbacks in college football next season.

Curt covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, the NFL draft, and college football for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard.

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