Theater of Operations, Florida Vs. Auburn: Reviewing Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel

AUBURN, AL - OCTOBER 15: Jacoby Brissett #17 of the Florida Gators passes against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium on October 15, 2011 in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Theater of Operations takes a look at the performances of Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel last Saturday against the Auburn Tigers.

Ever since John Brantley went down with a high ankle sprain, it seems that Gator Nation has been split on who should get the start at quarterback, Jacoby Brissett or Jeff Driskel. It is well known here at Alligator Army that I'm a big supporter of Jeff Driskel -- not because I think he is better prepared to play the position, but rather because he can make plays with his legs.

Right now, given the state of Florida's offensive line, the Gators need players who can make something out of nothing. Driskel can do that better than Brissett, in my opinion, because he can run the ball. The bottom line, though, is that both players have looked dicey at the position. Neither has inspired much confidence in the fan base that he can be the guy for now.

Hopefully, Brantley is ready to go for the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in two weeks, because without him, the Gators are in serious trouble. 

Play No. 1: Jacoby Brissett's interception:

Brissettint_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

What a way to start the game! Brissett, in the shotgun, has plenty of time to get the throw off. But he proceeds to make the play much more difficult than it should have been.

Brissettint2_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Hunter Joyer (yellow square) makes an exceptional block right here. This allows time for the play to develop.

Brissettint3_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Joyer is finishing off his block. And Brissett, judging from the coverage you'll see very shortly, needs to be throwing the ball right now.

Brissettint4_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

But he waits, wasting another second dancing around the pocket. Another second will be wasted by the time he actually releases the ball.

Brissettint5_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

The coverage is to the inside, which gives Brissett two ways to avoid a pick. The first option: Throw it to the outside shoulder of the receiver, nearer to the sideline. If it is thrown in that location, the receiver is either going to catch it, or it will fall incomplete.

The second option is to throw it further down the field, where, because the receiver has the corner beat, he will either catch it or it will fall incomplete.

Brissettint6_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Brissett does neither, and instead underthrows the ball very badly. Look at Deonte Thompson at this moment. He is practically trying to come back to the ball.

Brissettint7_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

This makes for an easy interception for Auburn defender T'Sharvan Bell.

Play No. 2: Brissett is sacked in the 2nd quarter:  

Brissack_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

I'll admit, that this sack probably shouldn't be put entirely on Brissett because of the pressure from the outside. But at the same time, as the play develops, he has two players (Burton and Rainey, who are both circled) that he can hit. Burton will run out to the flat, and Rainey will run straight to the middle of the field. Both players will be wide open.

Brissack2_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Brissett does a good job of avoiding the pressure and begins his scramble straight up the middle to about the line of scrimmage. But Rainey and Burton aren't ready to receive the pass yet.

Brissack3_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Trey Burton (top circle) is wide open now. Though a throw at this point would be difficult, it isn't impossible. Rainey isn't quite as open, so Brissett makes the correct decision in not trying to flip the ball to him.

Brissack4_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Both Rainey and Burton are wide open at this point, but it is probably too late to attempt a pass. The best chance to hit either was about a half second before this. It would have been difficult, even with a shovel-type pass, but, as mentioned earlier, not impossible.

Brissack5_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Brissett is instead swarmed by the Auburn defense. Again, I'm not really faulting Brissett fully for getting sacked here as it was a difficult play from the moment pressure began. This is a dangerous situation, and in such situations, if something positive is gained, it is considered a fantastic play.

Play No. 3: Jeff Driskel is sacked in the 3rd quarter:

Drissack_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

This sack is in no way the fault of Jeff Driskel. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of Xavier Nixon, who's circled. Corey Lemonier (green circle) makes one spin move and has a free lane towards Driskel.

Drissack2_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Lemonier is in the process of completing his spin move. Nixon is beat and he knows it. Driskel feels the pressure about a half second too late. But I can't fault a quarterback for that, especially when it is that quick.

Drissack3_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Driskel begins his attempt to avoid the rush. But he has another problem brewing: There is another defender (green circle) that has begun to break free, and Driskel, if he escapes Lemonier, will more than likely run straight into him.

Drissack4_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

He doesn't escape. But again, there is nothing on this play that Driskel could have done. The play was busted from the very beginning.

Drissack5_medium

(Photo courtesy of ESPN)

Look at Xavier Nixon's reaction. Hands on his helmet. He knows the sack was his fault. As pointed out in the game thread comments by poster Gene Smith, what Nixon should have done was help Driskel up instead of walking away. One could come to the conclusion that Nixon actually made two mistakes on the play.

All in all, out of the three plays discussed above, only one, Brissett's interception, can really be considered the fault of the quarterback. The offensive line really played poorly against Auburn, and the unit really hasn't played up to their potential all season. But then again, aside from a few players, nobody has played up to their potential for these Gators.

Part two, which will be posted tomorrow, will contain a statistical breakdown along with the usual video breakdown.

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