The career of Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel is one that just makes me shake my head. When he was chosen as starting quarterback, we all expected big things. He delivered some nice performances in 2012 (against Tennessee and Texas A&M specifically) and we certainly don't have the year we did without him.
But as 2012 went on, the performances trended downward. You could see that something was missing.
Last year was a lost year, I think we can all agree to that. Before the year started though, Driskel was the choice of many national writers to be the SEC's breakout player or performer. Then he broke his leg against Tennessee and the season, well, yeah.
This year, it's just been another go around. National writers projecting him to have a breakout year but it's becoming the same old story again. You can blame this most recent loss to LSU on a number of things: dropped passes, blown coverages, horrible run defense and a few other things I'm sure and you won't get an argument from me.
We'll get to those later, but for now we'll look at Driskel's performance against the LSU Tigers.
Play No. 1: Driskel's 9 yard touchdown run
Driskel will fake the handoff and run the ball himself for the touchdown. It's this aspect of his game that is why he's the starting quarterback. Football is trending towards running quarterbacks, but you've still got to be able to throw the ball.
As the play-action begins, Tevin Westbrook is will head out to become the lead blocker on the play. Yes, it's the same Tevin Westbrook that would later drop the winning touchdown. Driskel will be right behind him and will drag three or four defenders about five yards into the endzone for the touchdown.
Driskel will easily get into the endzone. The Gators would take the lead for now (they really should have won this game by about 10 points, but we'll get to that in a little bit) but the defense will give it right back.
Play No. 2: Driskel hits Demarcus Robinson for 73 yards
One of Driskel's shortcomings at quarterback has been his ability to hit receivers from further than 15 yards out. He hits Robinson here with a perfect throw and if the Gators were able to punch it in from the two yardline, we're celebrating instead of the vocal majority wanting everybody fired and/or benched.
Robinson gets behind the defense and the throw is right on the money. It even hits him in stride.
From another angle:
Probably the best deep ball that Driskel has ever thrown. I thought that we might actually get the win after this play, but with Matt Jones out with an injury, scoring from the two yardline would be difficult. But surely a rollout by Driskel or something like Andre Caldwell's play in the 2006 BCS National Championship would work, right?
Play No. 3: Tevin Westbrook's drop
This play just about sums up Driskel's career. For all he's done, good or bad you'd have to at least admit that the guy can't catch a break. Granted, Westbrook is a converted defensive end, but still. My grandmother, who is 91 years old, could have caught this ball.
Westbrook at this point is wide open and calling for the ball. He clearly wanted it, but when the ball arrived he didn't want it anymore. Note that Quinton Dunbar (whose been a bust at this point, yes?) is also wide open behind him on the play.
Wide open, but he drops it. Who does Westbrook think he is, Irving Fryar?
From another angle:
Unbelievable. You just can't drop this ball in this situation.
You can debate for days who was at fault for this loss. The correct answer is nearly everybody, because nearly everybody made mistakes. But the mistakes of Driskel (including a late interception), Poole (who had another costly blown coverage that we'll cover tomorrow) and Westbrook (above) are the biggest offenders.
The final straw for me in regards to Driskel however was yesterday in a discussion with my father. A quick note on my father: It's extremely rare that he'll say a comment regarding the Gators before I bring the subject up. He'll bring up the Washington Redskins all day long, but usually reserves comments on the Gators to me to bring up, but that wasn't the case yesterday.
Unsolicited, he made the comment of: "What's up with Driskel? He sucks."
After a roughly five minute or so rant about his decision making, throwing ability, the promise he showed a couple of years ago, I think it's clear that my dad isn't a fan of Driskel. He's also the best judge of football talent that I know and when he says a player is finished, the player is usually finished.
It's time to move on.