Florida Gator starting quarterback Jeff Driskel won’t suit up and lead his team out onto the practice field for the start of fall camp.
Driskel didn’t have a run in with police or break any team rules. In fact, according to all reports, Driskel has taken on a leadership role this offseason and has been the driving force behind most of the offensive workouts since the end of spring camp.
Driskel will miss about two weeks to begin fall camp because of acute appendicitis, which caused the quarterback to undergo an appendectomy surgery on Tuesday afternoon.
“Jeff had acute appendicitis and fortunately the medical staff caught it very quickly,” said Muschamp in a statement released by the University. “His surgery went well and how long he is out will be determined by how his body responds, which could be two weeks.”
An appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix and acute appendicitis is the most common condition of the abdomen to require emergency surgery. If not caught early, acute appendicitis can lead to the appendix rupturing which can cause infection and a more serious, risky surgery.
Symptoms of acute appendicitis include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, fever and abdominal swelling among others. The term “emergency surgery” might cause fans to panic but the surgery is classified as such because once symptoms start to appear, the appendix could rupture within 48-72 hours.
Based on the press release from the University, it does not appear that Driskel’s appendix ruptured. This means that Driskel likely underwent a laparoscopic surgery. This type of surgery involves making a few small incisions in the abdomen and inserting small tubes into those incisions with camera on the ends. The surgeon performs the surgery while watching what the cameras pick up on a television and the appendix is removed through one of the incisions. Laparoscopic surgery can often be an outpatient procedure, with the patient being released on the same day as the surgery.
With fall camp set to begin this week without the leader of the offense, could this actually be a good thing for the Gators in the long run?
It can, and here is why. Behind Driskel Florida has three quarterbacks who have attempted as many college passes as the entire staff at Gator Country. That number is zero, in case you were wondering.
Sure, there can be an argument made that Driskel needs to develop a relationship with his receivers and he needs to develop chemistry and timing with them.
A valid argument.
However, I would argue that it was equally important to find a reliable No. 2 quarterback behind Driskel. Driskel has suffered some type of injury in both seasons he has spent in Gainesville and in both instances, Driskel has missed game time while recovering.
The style of quarterback that Driskel plays puts himself in harm’s way. What separated him from Jacoby Brissett last season, was his ability to move and make plays with his feet – it’s one of his greatest attributes as a quarterback and you can’t take that part of his game away from him.
Assuming that mobile quarterbacks have a higher risk of injury – and with Florida’s quarterback being very mobile – why wouldn’t you want his backups to get some meaningful reps with the first team in fall camp?
Driskel has led offensive workouts with his receivers all summer long. Sources close to the team say that Driskel has developed a closer relationship with this group of receivers and the fact that he is the unquestioned starter has helped the receiving corps get behind Driskel, rather than being divided between two quarterbacks.
Another reason this will help Florida, is that Driskel will be back very soon. This isn’t an injury that will force him to miss the entirety of fall camp, he’ll be back in two weeks and can resume his role with the first team after Florida gets to see what they have in Tyle Murphy, Skyler Mornhinweg and Max Staver.
Lastly, the things that Driskel needs to work on most can’t really be seen while he has a red jersey on and no fear of a pass rush. Driskel needs to improve on going through his progressions while under duress in the pocket. Sure, Dominique Easley bursting through the line and staring at Driskel without offensive linemen between the two should be nerve-racking, but it isn’t when you’re in a non-contact jersey. Yes, Driskel will be able to work on timing with his receivers at full-speed against defensive backs, but that’s something he’s been doing during player run practices all summer.
Losing Driskel for the beginning of fall camp initially looks like bad news for the Gators, but when you take a step back and remove the emotion from the situation, it could be a good thing for the Florida Gators in the long run.