For a quarterback trying to lead his team to championships, Jeff Driskel has been talking to the right people.
Florida’s sophomore quarterback revealed Monday how he visited with a pair of former Gators quarterbacks and national championship winners.
Driskel said he’s been in contact with Danny Wuerffel and Chris Leak, but was guarded about the specifics of those conversations. He also said they were the ones that “reached out to me.”
“They’ve said keep it going, we got a long way to go, the season’s not over yet,” Driskel said. “Just general stuff. ‘Keep the team rolling, don’t look back, focus on games ahead.’
“I don’t want to get into any details with it.”
Driskel, who’s from Oviedo, Fla., was born in 1993 and grew up following Florida football. He’ll make his fifth career start at quarterback for the No. 4 Gators (5-0, 4-0 Southeastern Conference) when they play at Vanderbilt (2-3, 1-2 SEC) at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
“I watched Chris Leak,” Driskel said. “Never really watched Danny Wuerffel, that was a little before my time. But I know how good a player he was here.
“They were both great players here, and it was cool to speak to them.”
Teaming with Tim Tebow, Leak helped lead the Gators to a BCS National Championship and the Southeastern Conference Championship during the 2006 season, Florida’s first since 2000. Along the way, he broke Wuerffel’s school record for career passing yards.
Leak was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of the 2007 BCS National Championship Game after he completed 25 of 36 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown in a 41-14 win against Ohio State.
Wuerffel won the 1996 Heisman Trophy in guiding the Gators to the 1996 national championship. He was a two-time All-American and a two-time SEC Player of the Year on UF teams that won four consecutive SEC Championships.
The 52-20 win against Florida State for the 1996 national championship was Florida’s second-consecutive appearance in the national title game.
Wuerffel owns many passing records. He amassed 10,875 yards and 114 touchdowns, the most in SEC history and second most in major college football. He became the first quarterback to have an efficiency rating of 170 or above in consecutive seasons, and his 178.4 rating in 1996 is a single-season college record.
While Driskel didn’t offer many details about the conversations with Leak and Wuerffel, perhaps one of the topics that came up was how to stay grounded during a successful season.
It’s been a few years since the Gators have won at this high of a level (first time in the AP’s top 5 since the 2010 preseason poll), so few of the players on this year’s squad have experienced — in college anyway — how to handle prosperity.
“I think we’ll be fine,” Driskel said. “Like we’ve been saying all along, we have a more mature team this year. We’re not going to be satisfied. We know there are definitely corrections to be made and improvements to be made.
“We’re going to handle this week like any other week.”