Jeff Driskel led a 1:15, 59-yard scoring drive in the final moments of Louisiana Tech’s spring game Saturday to lead his team to the win. The former Florida quarterback is settling in at his new home, where he transferred in January after a frustrating few years with the Gators.
Driskel played for three offensive coordinators in his time in Gainesville, as head coach Will Muschamp tried in vain to find someone who clicked.
Coming off a 9-win 2014, and returning seven offensive starters — including All-Conference USA wideout Trent Taylor and stud running back Kenneth Dixon — Louisiana Tech is a contender to win the 2015 Conference USA championship. A key piece missing for the Bulldogs is a quarterback after the departure of Cody Sokol, another journeyman who found the right fit in Ruston.
If Jeff Driskel can similarly turn around his college career, the Bulldogs are well-positioned to repeat as C-USA West champions.
Jacoby Brissett, who signed to Florida in the same 2011 class as Jeff Driskel, will also pursue a conference championship in 2015. Brissett is coming off a 2014 with 23 touchdowns and just five interceptions, 2,606 passing yards and another 529 rushing. In 2015, he’s central to intriguing NC State’s dark-horse candidacy for the ACC Atlantic.
Brissett was, at times, an electric playmaker last season.
NC State head coach Dave Doeren told Joedy McCreary of the Associated Press Brissett has made strides to being more consistent in 2015, building off the positive momentum with which the Pack finished the campaign.
The irony of both Jeff Driskel and Jacboy Brissett in position to contend for conference championships elsewhere is that Muschamp signing both in the same class was intended as a safety net: should one not work out, the Gators had another blue-chip prospect ready.
The duo signed after a 2010 campaign in which the Gators’ lack of quarterback stability hamstrung them. John Brantley struggled through a 9-touchdown/10-interception campaign, Urban Meyer stepped down at season’s end, and Charlie Weis
Brissett’s departure was perhaps foreshadowed from the moment he committed. His mother publicly voiced concerns about his signing with the Gators, saying she “didn’t like the way Florida handled the [recruiting] process.”
Jeff Driskel, however, was touted as a budding superstar before he ever donned blue and orange.
At the 2011 Under Armour All-America Game, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix said, “He’s going to be just like Tebow.”
It’s interesting how much in hindsight Clinton-Dix’s assessment of Jeff Driskel foreshadowed the quarterback’s disappointing time at Florida.
Florida’s been snake-bit at the position since Tim Tebow’s graduation after the 2009 campaign, and the revolving door of offensive coordinators Muschamp installed was a direct result of the Gators’ QB failings.
New head coach Jim McElwain is faced with the same challenge, and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier told Jesse Simonton of the Miam Herald he’s confident he can elevate Treon Harris’ game.
Nussmeier must; as he so astutely points out to Simonton: “It’s hard to find teams that don’t have a good quarterback that are successful.”
But then, “good” is also subjective. Jeff Driskel never took off at Florida despite opportunities, and Jacoby Brissett was relegated to a reserve role without much opportunity. Both are now well positioned to quarterback teams into conference championship races.