Driskel and offense working on the deep ball

Driskel

In a season where the Gators have overachieved in many fans' eyes there can be those moments of brevity even if it is about something that isn't going quite as well. One of those moments happened on Saturday in the first offensive series when sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel rolled out of the pocket to his left after he was being rushed and he threw the ball out of bounds.

That in itself wasn't too humorous, but the ovation from the crowd watching the play was when you realize that they were applauding Jeff Driskel for a non-play, but one that he should have been making a lot of this season.

"I noticed it on the first one that everyone cheered when I threw the first one away," Driskel told a Monday morning media crowd. "I thought that was kind of funny."

He understands the issue at hand and has just had a hard time following through with the thought that he sometimes is just not going to be able to make a play and the best case scenario is to take the loss of down that comes with an incomplete pass.

"When you take a sack you put the offense in second and long or third and long," he said. "It's a lot tougher in play calling to pick those up. When you get a chance to throw the ball away you have to do it."

He is so used to not doing it, when it happens, it may not be the best thing.

"I tried to throw one away late in the game and it ended up being right at one of their guys," he said. "I have to do a better job with that and get it up in the stands instead of on the field."

He does believe he is getting better and he is conscious of what it takes.

"I hope so," he said when ask if he has improved In that regard. "I haven't thrown the ball away too much this year and took a lot of sacks. A lot of sacks look like they are on the O-Line, but they're not. It's on guys getting open and me having urgency with the ball. Getting rid of the ball is kind of a big deal with me."

The Florida offense has been a bit stagnant in the last two games. Just two touchdowns in eight quarters and both coming in the last half against Missouri on Saturday, has them looking for things to make it better.

A ground and pound offense is now in need of a deep threat to it's arsenal, they need to open up the defenses they are facing. Against Missouri they had a beautiful play called and everything ran to perfection on a ‘Post' route to Frankie Hammond. Then the long touchdown was called back for holding.

"I assume we will have to hit more shots down field," Driskel said of what it is going to take to make the offense rev with more RPM's. "We hit one last week and it got called back. Frankie did a great job of getting open. I laid it out there for him. He ran under it and made a good play.

"We are going to have to be more explosive, that is what it comes down to and be more effective on third down. When you start converting on third down it opens up lanes and it is easier to drive.

"You just have to set up your shots. The shots are set up for certain looks and we get their formations and see how they line up to them. We had one set up right and it was set up nicely, unfortunately it got called back.

With the lack of a deep passing game so far this season, they are still working on timing and trust between the quarterback and receivers.

"When you throw a deep ball I just have to give the receiver a chance," Driskel said. "I threw a couple times this year and didn't give them a chance. That's what receivers want. You just have to believe in them that they will be in the right spot and beat the DB's."

The Gators also employed a no-huddle to start the game and went to it a few times during the game. The offense hasn't done a lot of it, but according to Driskel they are really comfortable with it in practice.

"We went to a no-huddle this week because we feel like we play better and move the ball better when we have a good tempo," he said. "We had a couple of first downs to start the game but had a couple of tipped balls on third down. It is frustrating when you get balls tipped because guys are open. We have to do better throughout the whole game. Offense has to be more productive and get more work done."

"We like (the no-huddle) a lot. Obviously when you pass the ball you kind of win big or get off the field quick. When you are going no-huddle or up tempo the defense can't really get any checks, so it is nice to see what they are doing and that they will stay in their base coverages."

The draw back to the no-huddle or hurry-up offense is when it doesn't work. If you are out there and only run three plays and punt, your defense has had no time to rest with the offense trying to go at a fast pace.

"We do it every week in practice and something we've worked on a lot, but you have to get going," Driskel said. "It's hard to get into that without being in a groove. We want to give the defense a break sometimes. It's tough for them to keep getting back on the field. We have to feel it out sometimes."

Despite the offensive issues they have had theor strong points. In all but one game the offense really made adjustments in the first half and made the opposition pay in the second half. That has led to an 8-1 season and 7-1 record in conference play. Driskel says everyone on the team is proud of their accomplishments.

"We won seven games in the SEC this year and only the 12th team in UF's program to do that," he said. "That is a big deal to us especially with all the great teams that have come out of Florida.

Florida is done with their conference schedule and early in the season. They step up to play Louisiana at home on Saturday in what on paper looks like an easy match up. Driskel knows they don't have time to rest on any laurels from the season so far.

"We still have three games to go in the regular season and post season play," he said. "We have a long way to go and have to keep getting better.

"At the end of the day you have to prepare the same week in and week out. Every team has play makers. We haven't watched film yet because we do that on Monday afternoon. We have to play well and that is what it will come down to.

"You have to play the game. You can't just roll your hat out there and win. We will prepare and make sure (a letdown) doesn't happen.

A loss to Georgia is the only blemish on the Gators' record this season. That blemish means that the Bulldogs are in the driver's seat for to represent the SEC East in Atlanta.

The Bulldogs play lowly Auburn this weekend and the Tigers are the only team that stands in the way for Georgia to play in Atlanta next month. The odds are definitely against an Auburn victory, but Driskel and company will be watching the game and hoping for a miracle to happen.

"We're definitely going to watch the game when we get done (with the Louisiana game)," he said. But we have to worry about what we can do and stay focused on what we control.

"It is tough, but at the end of the day you have to put what is in the past in the past and worry about what you can do."

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