The Florida Gators suffered a monumentally disappointing 2013, failing to make a bowl game and dropping like a rock down the SEC standings as the season went on. A major part of the problem was their offensive inability to score points. Quarterback Jeff Driskel was a major part of those struggles early before suffering a season-ending injury in the third game of the year. With Driskel coming back 100 percent healthy for his senior year, can the Florida quarterback turn it around in 2014?
There were some positive signs that Driskel was on the right track in 2013 (he was completing almost 70 percent of his passes), but the lack of a vertical game really hurt the Gators’ offense. Going into his senior season, it may be too late for him to turn his game around, but he’s got every opportunity to do it in 2014. Will Muschamp is coaching for his job, making him more open to changing things up offensively. The team is bringing in a new offensive coordinator in Kurt Roper to try and revitalize the passing attack in Gainesville and Driskel needs to take advantage of this fresh start to silence his critics.
He will need some help to get it done. Young playmakers at receiver like Demarcus Robinson and Ahmad Fulwood will need to show significant growth after their first year in the program and emerge as playmakers in the passing game. As freshmen this season, the two combined for just 23 catches for 170 yards and one touchdown. Running back Kelvin Taylor is another young star that could emerge in 2014, giving the Florida offense some much needed balance. But at the end of the day, it will still be up to Driskel to take advantage of these young, budding playmakers if he wants to save his job.
If Driskel struggles this offseason with Roper’s new offense, it could open the door for Florida to look younger under center. Incoming freshman Will Grier, an Elite 11 participant who has enrolled early at Florida, could make a strong push with a good spring showing and challenge Driskel for the starting job. Can Driskel hold onto his spot as the No. 1 quarterback and have a bounce-back season in 2014?