Florida Football: Jeff Driskel Needs A Big Year in 2014

By Brandon Daniel

2013 was a rough year for Jeff Driskel. After a solid season in 2012, leading the Florida Gators to an 11-win season and a great defense returning, hopes were high in Gainesville. Some thought Driskel and the Gators were ready to take the next step and get back to Atlanta.

Even though Brent Pease’s pro-style system didn’t fit Driskel like a glove, he played well enough in 2012 and it was reasonable to believe he would progress in 2013. It was not meant to be, however, as the Gators struggled out of the gate and Driskel was lost for the season during the Gators’ third game.

In 2014, the Gators have brought over Kurt Roper from the Duke Blue Devils to be the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He presided over an offense at Duke that averaged over 30 points a game and has a track record for developing quarterbacks. If there is anyone who can get the most out of Driskel, it will be Roper.

This is Driskel’s last chance to live up to the tremendous hype of being one of the top quarterbacks in his recruiting class. It is fair to say that the college production has not matched his rating. Driskel needs a great season in his senior year, and so do the Gators.

Florida’s offense struggled mightily last year. With few playmakers and an inexperienced quarterback, teams were able to stifle the Gators too easily. Roper certainly will shoulder some of the burden of expectation to turn things around, but fans and teammates will be looking to Driskel to get the job done.

If Florida is going to have a successful year and challenge for the SEC crown, Driskel needs to be the offense. He needs to make the big play in the big spot and be able to stand up to the pressure that he and his coaches face. He needs to at least cross the 2,000-yard passing and 20 touchdown mark for the Gators to stay in the conversation throughout the fall.

Driskel has the talent and ability to keep the Gators in contention and be one of the best quarterbacks in the SEC this year. He must learn Roper’s system quickly and build the culture through summer workouts to make for a successful fall. If he buys in and pushes hard, the Gators could find themselves back atop the East.

If Driskel doesn’t answer the call and stand up to the pressure it could be a long season in Gainesville. They need to start hot right out of the gate to quell the hot seat rumors that will undoubtedly plague Muschamp as the season begins. Otherwise there will be nothing but distractions following the Gators all season long.

Should Driskel and the Gator offense struggle like they did last season it will be tough to find ways to win, especially with the talented offenses they must match-up against in the division. If the struggles and losses continue in 2014, Muschamp, Roper and the Gator staff will be updating their resumes.

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