Monday, January 22, 2018
Colleges

Florida Gators aim to improve protection for Jeff Driskel

GAINESVILLE — Florida QB Jeff Driskel has received the brunt of criticism for the offense's six-turnover loss to Georgia on Saturday.

Driskel, who had four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles), accepts much of the blame, but offensive coordinator Brent Pease said the line has to improve to give Driskel time to pass and to improve a faltering running game.

After averaging 5.42 yards per carry in the first five games, RB Mike Gillislee has struggled to 3.1 over the past three as defenses have stacked the box.

"Could (Driskel) have made better decisions? Certainly, he recognizes that," coach Will Muschamp said. "But we also need to play better around him. We need to protect better. We need to be more precise with our route running. We need to do a better job of running the ball."

Driskel has been criticized for holding the ball too long in the pocket throughout the season, but Pease said he has seen improvement.

"Early on, he was probably guessing on things. The other day, I don't think he was guessing," Pease said. "I don't think he had some time. Things were caving in on him pretty fast."

G Jon Halapio, a former St. Petersburg Catholic standout, said the line lost its composure against Georgia, leading to errors in communication and breakdowns that allowed defenders free runs at Driskel.

"We were too aggressive after plays," Halapio said. "We agreed that we were doing too much talking, talking trash to the Georgia front, and we should've just done our jobs better."

"We're going to bounce back this Saturday and make sure everyone is fundamentally sound on the offensive line," C Jonotthan Harrison said. "You guys won't see that anymore out of the offensive line."

Miami Herald

FSU: Resting and ready for Hokies

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State QB EJ Manuel, who is from Virginia, expects energy from his team's next opponent, Virginia Tech. The Seminoles, off this week, visit the Hokies on Thursday.

"I know a lot of guys I grew up playing with or against who play for them," Manuel said. "They'll be ready to play."

The No. 9 Seminoles are 22-12-1 all-time against Virginia Tech. In their last meeting, the Hokies won the 2010 ACC Championship Game 44-33.

Injury report: Starting T Menelik Watson and backup C Austin Barron sat out Thursday's practice. Coach Jimbo Fisher has said he wanted to rest multiple players this week. He expects FSU to be at full strength for Virginia Tech.

Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel

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