Why Everyone Needs to Stop Hating on Jeff Driskel

Watching UF’s latest game against LSU last weekend was a frustrating one for Gator fans. After skimming a 10-9 win against Tennessee the week before, LSU was a huge game Florida needed to win. And they dropped the ball…literally.

Which is exactly why Gator fans need to give the Jeff Driskel hatred a rest.

I attended the game against the Kentucky Wildcats and noticed a lot of ball dropping all throughout the game. From the angle of my seats, it was hard to tell if it was Driskel’s fault or the receivers’. But the case of the butterfingers was bad enough to where they should’ve had glue on those gloves.

In the first two games of the season, Driskel’s stats were decent with a 68.9% completion rate against Eastern Michigan while rushing for a total of 295 yards at the Kentucky game. Not completely horrible.

After the Kentucky game, things went south. Fast.

Only nine completions were made against ‘Bama, which resulted in the first loss of the season for the Gators. Then there was the whole 59-passing yards against Tennessee that wasn’t a good look. But in the LSU game, Driskel seemed to get more involved and came out with 183 passing yards, a 56% completion average, and 71 total rushing yards.

From a spectators standpoint watching at home, this last game against LSU wasn’t Driskel’s fault.

I understand being the quarterback, he’s going to get the criticism if they do bad, yet get all the praise when they win. Driskel threw some dirty passes that were caught and he threw some very clean passes right into receivers’ hands that were dropped.

I’m referring specifically to the would-have-been touchdown pass Driskel threw to tight end Tevin Westbrook (87) towards the ends of the game.

In case you missed the epic ball drop:

Tevin Westbrook

Photo Credit: PHIL SANDLIN/AP PHOTO

Listen, Jeff Driskel has some work he needs to do, there’s no denying that. But instead of beating him down, I think a little compassion is in order. He’s under an immense amount of pressure after a disappointing season last year, he’s young and not everyone is able to handle that kind of pressure with ease. He started off in the first two games great. I’m sure there were a lot of pep talks, a lot of enthusiasm amongst the team and rapport building at the beginning of the season.

It seems that after the loss to Alabama, things are getting to him. To have a football legend like Emmett Smith tweet trash talk about you doesn’t feel good. Although Emmett ended up deleting the tweet and calling up Driskel to apologize, I’m sure that got him down.

I mean, wouldn’t you get down if that happened to you?

Driskel needs his teammates and all of Gator Nation to stand by him. He needs a pick-me-up instead of continuously getting put down. College football is such a competitive sport and being in the SEC puts a thousand more pounds of pressure, especially when playing against another SEC school. The trash talking doesn’t solve anything.

No team who has players that are out there playing for themselves is going to be a team that is successful. There needs to be unity, leadership and positivity for a team to thrive. Watching the UFvsLSU game it was apparent to me that the unity isn’t there. Teammates were making hand gestures to Driskel after bad plays which doesn’t help the situation and in the end breaks the team. If they don’t trust in his leadership, they’re going on a downward spiral for another season.

Coach Muschamp is standing by Driskel and so should the rest of Gator Nation. We should all love our teams whether they do well or not. It’s frustrating for a fan when they’re not doing so hot, but our players can feel the atmosphere when they’re out there playing. The negativity is almost visible to them when they’re out on the field.

It’s time we start pouring some positivity into our players. If you tell someone they’re doing terrible at something, they’re eventually going to start reflecting that. I’m sure once they win the next game and his confidence boosts, we’ll be seeing a major change.

 

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