Expecting Jeff Driskel and the Florida Gators to go anywhere special – win the SEC, the division or be a threat on the national title is simply delusional, seeing how the quarterback and the offense struggle when it comes to putting points on the board.
Driskel didn’t have the worst of days against Miami. The problem was his performance when it came to executing in the redzone, which was quite awful. The Gators lost 21-16 to Miami, and have put up only 40 points on the board through their first two games of the season, both against non-SEC opponents.
Driskel didn’t have to do much last season. The running game with Gillislee and a phenomenal defense carried the team to an 11-1 regular season and playing against Louisville (and losing) in the Sugar Bowl. Driskel was more of a conductor, operating in the read-option, but minimized any risk taking.
This season the playmakers around him aren’t as talented as before, putting more pressure on the Junior to actually win games with his arm. His performance against Toledo was satisfactory (17-of-22 for 153 yards and a touchdown), but against Miami Florida needed a lot more from him.
He played well as long as he was at least 20 yards away from the ‘Canes endzone. Florida ran 65 plays for 399 yards outside the redzone. Inside the 20? They ran 12 plays for 14 yards, and turned the ball over three times – two interceptions and a fumble. Last season, with Driskel not having to do too much in this offense, Florida turned the ball in the redzone a total of three times during the entire season.
There are numbers that suggest this offense is doing better: They’ve put up over 400 yards in consecutive games for the first time since the beginning of the 2011 season. The fact that they’ve scored points on only 50% of their redzone visits is the worrying issue.
Driskel has to make more plays now with big throws. He doesn’t seem phased by the pressure or by the larger share of responsibility. 291 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions doesn’t make him an awful quarterback. But Florida have a big problem when it comes to putting up points, and it’ll only look worse when they play in South Carolina, LSU and against Georgia later during the season.
This isn’t the year Florida surprise everyone in the SEC and claim their “rightful” place on top of the East. They might be the third best team in that division, which speaks volumes for their place in the conference. As long as Driskel and this offensive incompetence continues, talking about BCS bowl games or doing anything meaningful for a program with the kind of recent history Florida has is simply ignoring the serious flaws this team has.
A defense can carry a team only to a certain point. Having a quarterback who is only there to not make mistakes is also OK. Teams have done more than Florida with less. But when you ask that quarterback and those limited offensive players to start scoring points like its the Big 12, something was wrong in the foundation stages of building this team.