GAINESVILLE -- It’s a hot debate in Florida staff meetings: to run or not to run quarterback Jeff Driskel.
The junior signal-caller who missed nine games with a broken leg in 2013 is a legit duel-threat talent — especially in coordinator Kurt Roper’s new spread scheme — but the Gators desperately need Driskel healthy if they hope for a major rebound season.
It’s a tricky juxtaposition to juggle.
“It’s always the debate,” Roper said. “Jeff [Driskel] does give us the ability with his feet to add to the run game and cause defenses more issues. You definitely want to use that, but at the same time you want to be smart. He doesn’t need to take any unnecessary hits. … The discussion always goes back to what I try to hang my hat on: Jeff got hurt on a drop-back pass. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running the football or throwing the football, you’re always at risk. We want to be smart and minimize the amount of contact that we possibly can, but we need to use his ability to run the football.”
In 2012, Driskel ran for 408 yards and four touchdowns, including a career-best 177 yards at Vanderbilt. Last season, he totaled just 38 yards on the ground in two-plus games.
Two years ago, Florida’s war cry was “FNB: Florida Never Breaks.”
Following a dismissal in the 2013 season, starting left tackle D.J. Humphries has inspired a new mantra.
“We all we got. We all we need.”
“They used to say it here back in the 1990s,” wideout Ahmad Fulwood explained.
“It kind of just carried over to us. It’s true. We all we got, we all we need.”
The Gators are using the motivating motto to ignore outside distractions and build team unity.
“We’re circling the wagons,” Fulwood said. “Everybody talks, everyone has their own opinions. We don’t really care. We’re just worried about the Florida Gators.”