Driskel, Gators step us as new leaders

College Football has become a year-round game with players going straight from the football field to the weight room when the season ends.

To throw a wrench in things, only the strength and conditioning coach is allowed to be with the players off the field.

With that being said, it’s key to have players be great leaders through player run practices in the dog days of summer.

“In the summer there’s a lot of off-time, so you’ve got to spend some time with your guys and stay together,” Jeff Driskel said. “There will be times that it’s not mandatory to see your players for a couple of days but we’ve done a lot of stuff together. We’ve done 7-on-7, we’ve done 1-on-1 and we’ve come together as a whole to just keep the plays fresh and be with each other.”

On Tuesday in Hoover, senior Dominique Easley stated that four Florida Gators have stepped up this offseason as leaders.

““Jeff (Driskel), (Jon) Halapio, Antonio (Morrison) and (Ronald) Powell are the leaders of this team,” Easley said. “They are both outspoken and lead by example guys. In order to be a leader, you have to lead by example.”

When senior offensive lineman Jon Halapio was pushed to name his leader, he said that quarterback Jeff Driskel was one of the guys in his mind.

For Halapio, having the quarterback step up as a leader is a welcome sight to him, as he said the offense lacked a leader in 2012.
“It’s a big impact to have an offensive leader, we were missing that last year,” Halapio said. “Jeff is doing a great job, we need that from our quarterback. Filling that role, his leadership has definitely picked up. He’s changed and grown up since last year. He’s focused now that he doesn’t have to compete and he knows he is the starting quarterback. He’s taken the leadership role this offseason.”
Not only do you like to see the quarterback of your football team as the leader, you like to see confidence, something Driskel has shown this offseason.

“Yeah he is confident,” Halapio said. “You always want some cockiness out of your quarterback because they have to be certain in what they do. Just the way he handles the offense and the way he talks to us now. You can hear it in his tone of voice, he’s not afraid to speak his mind.”

One of the surprise leaders of the team is sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison, who didn’t even start every game as a freshman last fall.

When asked what makes Morrison a leader, defensive tackle Dominique Easley said it was several things, but mainly his in your face mentality.

“He’s a special kid,” Easley said. “ I’ve never seen someone who wants it like him. He loves the game and he wants to be the best. He isn’t afraid to get in your face or grab your facemask.”


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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.