Why the Florida Gators Should not be Worried About Their Quarterback's Future
The Florida Gators defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 48-10 on Saturday. However, John Brantley was taken to the locker room before halftime after getting hit by Danny Trevathan. Fortunately, he did not appear to have any major injuries as he returned in the third quarter.
During the time Brantley was out, True Freshman Jeff Driskel received some reps against the Wildcats. His first two drives resulted in a fumble and an interception. Naturally, some speculation has rose around the highly recruited quarterback, and no doubt his confidence has taken a hit. Before we blame anything on Driskel, let's review his turnovers for the game:
The Fumble- As Driskel dropped back, the offensive line quickly collapsed around him to the point where Driskel could not even scramble. Danny Travathan then wrapped his arms around the ball in Driskel's hands and took the ball, while also recording a sack. For Driskel, this is a matter than can simply be fixed with experience. He will learn to protect the ball better, though there was really not much he could have done in this situation.
The Interception- Driskel made a perfect throw between coverage directly into the hands of Frankie Hammond, but Kentucky's Mychal Bailey hit Hammond from behind and popped the ball straight into the hands of Avery Williamson. If anything, Hammond is to blame in this situation, once the ball is in your hands it is your job as a receiver to hold on to it. Driskel did his job on this play.
Now to take a step back, I am willing to absolve Driskel of all sin for the Kentucky game, but he has shown a few problems in previous games. For example, on his first pass against FAU he threw an interception straight into the hands of FAU's Marcus Bartels. But let's also be honest, your first collegiate pass as a quarterback is a lot of pressure, and that time it was too much.
Driskel will turn out all right. He has plenty of time to develop and he can learn a lot under a senior quarterback and a veteran offensive coordinator. In fact, I don't believe the panic button can even be hit until next season. Physically, Driskel is perfect, and he has loads of talent waiting to be brought out. For now, keep giving him some reps against tough opponents. The main concern right now is to get him as much experience as possible.