Photo: Gators QB Jeff Driskel was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after win at Tennessee.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Sophomore Jeff Driskel has heard comparisons to former Gators star Tim Tebow since he was in high school.
They both play quarterback. They are both big and physical for that position. They both came out of high school as top recruits nationally. And they both signed with the Gators.
As Driskel led Florida to a 37-20 win at Tennessee on Saturday, the Tebow comparisons erupted once more on social media. Driskel finished 14 of 20 for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed eight times for 81 yards.
There is one big difference: Tebow helped the Gators win two national titles, and Driskel has two career starts.
Driskel took questions about the Tebow comparisons in stride at his Monday press conference.
“I’ve definitely heard those comparisons, even back in high school, just because of our body size and the way we can run the ball,” he said. “It’s nice to be compared, but I wouldn’t go that far and say that I try to be like him or watch his film and try to be like him, but I guess we do play similar styles.”
About the only fair comparison to make between Driskel and Tebow at this point is to look at what they did in their first two career starts.
In Tebow’s Heisman-winning sophomore season of 2007, he made his first two career starts against Western Kentucky and Troy. The Gators won both and Tebow finished 31 of 42 for 536 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. Driskel’s first two career starts came on the road at Texas A&M and Tennessee – both wins – and he finished 27 of 36 for 381 yards two touchdowns and no interceptions.
For now, there is one claim that Driskel has over Tebow: He was named SEC Offensive Player of Week his first career start against Tennessee. Tebow earned the award as well in his second career start in ’07 against Troy.
“It’s a great honor, all kinds of great players out there putting all kinds of crazy numbers up,’’ Driskel said. “It’s cool to get that honor but wouldn’t have any numbers like that if Frankie [Hammond] wouldn’t have taken a little hitch 75 yards or the offensive line creating holes all over the place. It’s a team thing.”
QUOTE OF NOTE
“Really proud of the team win Saturday night in Knoxville. That’s what it was – a team win, a collective effort offensively, defensively and special teams. I thought our players did an outstanding job managing through the game, managing the ups and downs and the ebbs and flows through playing on the road and playing in this league. Really proud of their effort – together everyone achieves more. And that’s what we’re talking about with our football team at this time.” – Muschamp on the win over the Vols
The Gators came out of the Tennessee victory relatively healthy. The most notable injury was to defensive lineman Dominique Easley, who tweaked a knee late in the game according to Muschamp.
Muschamp said the junior is day-to-day with swelling in the knee. Easley needed help leaving the field but was later walking on his own and celebrating with his teammates on the sideline.
"We'll see how the week progresses there as far as his status for the game is concerned,’’ Muschamp said.
Meanwhile, Muschamp said offensive lineman Chaz Green (ankle) is probable for Saturday’s game against Kentucky. Green missed Saturday’s game and was replaced by Kyle Koehne at right tackle. Also, the sore groin that senior running back Mike Gillislee has improved.
“He felt better after the game than he did before is what he told me,’’ Muschamp said. “Everything we have from the injury report was very positive.”
As for linebacker Jelani Jenkins (thumb surgery) and Cody Riggs (foot), both are expected to miss their second consecutive game. Jenkins and Riggs were hurt in the win at Texas A&M on Sept. 8 and did not play at Tennessee.