Florida Gators football: Driskel shows off moral fiber

Embattled doesn’t even begin to describe the past two years of Jeff Driskel’s life. A poor performance against Miami and a pick six against Tennessee were the last two memories Florida fans had of Driskel in 2013 before a broken leg sidelined him.

He returned this season — with spring practice pushed back so that he would be able to be a full participant. He shined against Eastern Michigan and even played well against Kentucky in a triple-overtime thriller before faltering over the next month.

“It’s been tough,” Driskel said, not mincing his words. “I’m not going to say it hasn’t been difficult. But at the end of the day I’m still doing what I’ve always done. I’m still preparing to be ready to go in and make plays if my number gets called. That’s what I owe this team.”

Driskel was replaced as the starter during Florida’s bye week in favor of freshman Treon Harris. He didn’t play a single snap in Florida’s 38-20 win over the Dawgs but Will Muschamp and Kurt Roper maintained that Driskel would have a role in the offense.

It appeared against Vanderbilt. Driskel carried the ball four times for 10 yards and a key touchdown on a fourth-and-goal situation. He attempted one incomplete pass as well. The role is not one that Driskel envisioned himself playing when the season started but, the consummate team player, he’s just happy to still be able to contribute in any way possible. “Any time you can contribute to the team and to a good team win it’s a good feeling,” he said.

Driskel’s attitude is a cold glass of water on a hot summer day and magnified in stark contrast to another decision that was made last weekend. When Leon Orr decided he would rather leave the team than not be a starter, Muschamp promptly informed Orr and the team that there was no place for that in his program. No one player is bigger than the name across that orange helmet that the team straps on or the program that those letters represent.

Jeff Driskel gets that.

“I think everybody on the team should have the same sense of responsibility to the team,” Driskel said. “At the end of the day it’s a team sport and everybody has to contribute and do their part.”

Driskel is selfless. As a starter, he understood that the weight of each loss — whether warranted or not — would fall on his shoulders. Now, as a backup, he takes time to work with the new starter — the freshman who took his job — in order to make sure that the University of Florida is ready to put their best product on the field each Saturday.

“Just some simple communication things, especially in practice when we have two-minute offense going. There’s some situations he hasn’t been in as often as I have,” he said. “There’s just little tips. I’m not going out of my way to try to take over or anything like this. It’s just simple tips and reminders on the practice field and on the sideline.”

Driskel’s take and approach to everything he has endured the last two years is impactful. His moral fiber has taken the forefront of a situation that grew ugly during a short losing streak this season.

“I think it goes back to I was raised right,” Driskel said when asked how he is able to deal with all of it. “I think my parents did a really good job of instilling a sense of the team is greater than the individual.”

This is the way every parent wishes their son or daughter would handle adversity. Driskel has looked everything he has come face-to-face with this season in the eye and taken it head on. Jerry and Mary Driskel did a fine job raising their young boy into the man that he is today and the University of Florida is lucky to have a person like Jeff Driskel in the locker room and in the program.

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. Nice article Nick. At the end of the day, what he is doing and the way he is acting is more important than being the starter. You are right, it is moral fiber and Mr. and Mrs. Driskel should be very proud of their son and so should Gator Nation.

  2. Unfortunately, he is the opposite of Tebow. Tebow practiced flat (although put his all into it) and Driskel shines in practice and just couldn’t consistently translate that to game-day on the field. I can’t imagine what it takes to be where he is right now. The disappointment, and the reality he stands in currently. As you mentioned rather eloquently, Nick, he possesses the role model ‘attitude’ players should emulate. It would be cool if his day could come. And if it doesn’t right away, hopefully, this experience will help to strengthen his resolve in the next endeavor that comes his way…Go Gators.

  3. Nice piece Nick. I have to admit, if I were in his shoes I don’t know that I would’ve handled it as well as he has. I feel bad that it didn’t work out for him. There is no denying his talent and potential and quite honestly it is probably in his best interest to transfer. Maybe to the ACC, where they seem to resurrect former Gator QBs. A fresh start would do him good….and I would root for him.

    • I dispute the claim that Jeff Driskel is talented. He’s never been talented, he’s always been a mediocre to bad quarterback. It’s not a big deal that he accepts his benching, it doesn’t show any type of moral character, it’s just a fact and he has no other alternative. It’s like calling people who serve in the military, by the way I also served, heros. It’s an empty statement, the heros are in the grave. Jeff Driskel is about as dumb as they come when it comes to football intelligence, he looks catatonic half the time and I doubt he really understands what goes on around him. Florida is much better off with him never seeing the field again. Driskel was a cancer on the team. No. I’m not talking about being a knucklehead, I’m talking about the team not worrying about him “driskeling” anymore. I know some of you will be outraged, but it’s a myth that Driskel is talented, he’s never shown it on a college field, and it’s a myth to say it shows great moral character to accept being benched. Driskel has never been the brightest bulb in the room. A shining example is his decision to give up baseball because he thought he was an NFL quarterback. You don’t need to be smart to play baseball, Driskel wasn’t even smart enough to realize that. Like Dirty harry said: “A mans got know his limitations.” Driskel never learned that, but at least he’s on the bench where he’s always belonged.

  4. Everyone please excuse Snowprint’s comments, he’s obviously short a few bricks in the character/class department, as one can ascertain from the stance of his opinion and his determination to express it in commentary to Nick’s fine article.

    Nick love your article, think it is spot on. Jeff has demonstrated as Coach Muschamp has stated numerous times, a propensity to rise above the fray, show humility, accountability, and leadership by placing the TEAM first before his own desires. Helping his fellow QB’s, taking them under his wing when needed for the betterment of the program, is commendable. No one can argue that point!

    All that garbage spewed about Jeff from Snowprint is just that, what does he know about Jeff or moral fiber. Snowprint certainly hasn’t shown by posting anything here that he has anywhere near as much moral fiber, class or character as Jeff, whom he chooses to continue to deride at every opportunity that avails itself on this website. Snowprint, I find your commentary borish and lacking the desired modicum of decency this forum deserves. Please try to control your compulsion to bash someone whom has represented himself far better than you in the public domain! You only continue to distinguish the huge difference in moral measurement between Jeff and where you stand on the bottom of that scale.

    • Amen….yeah it’s funny that Snowprint acts like he’s an expert on class. And to make comments that insinuate that he’s stupid?….c’mon snowflake I would love to see your Winderlick score. Gator Nation has rode Jeff’s ass all season, not that they were wrong….but to keep coming to practice everyday with that attitude willing to help the team in any way, after the beating he’s taken from fans, the media and blogging nerds like snowflake shows a lot of character. Stop being a jackass.

    • Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. We are not at a funeral, where it’s appropriate to omit reality and sing the praises of someone. There’s no reason to praise Driskel. If he didn’t act like an ass, like Leon Orr, that’s not something praiseworthy, it’s just a normal thing that almost everyone does. If you don’t realize by now that Driskel’s brain is akin to being analog in a digital age, you aren’t paying attention. He may be very smart, but he’s very slow at processing things. That’s why he is a horrible quarterback, you have to be a nimble thinker, and Driskel is not. He also has the charisma of a rock. Sure he’s a nice guy, but aren’t most slow witted people nice? He’s ill suited to be a quarterback. He doesn’t have the mind, leadership, or charisma that you need for the position. I’m just stating the obvious. He hasn’t died, so let’s not start characterizing Driskel as anything but what he is, an amiable dunce.