GAINESVILLE — Take heart, Florida fans. There's a good chance you might not have to sit in front of your TV this weekend screaming at Jeff Driskel to get rid of the ball before he's sacked. The Gator quarterback spent Sunday studying game film and said he knows that's an area he must improve — quickly.
"We'll be focusing on that a lot," he said. "We know that Tennessee is definitely going to come at me, definitely, because we put on film that I'm susceptible to hold the ball too long or try to get outside and not throw it away. But I'll definitely work on that. The first game, second game was a learning experience and I'll get better from there."
Driskel was sacked eight times Saturday against Texas A&M and said "most of them were on me." He said coaches have reiterated that in some circumstances it's okay to throw the ball away and not take the sack.
"I've got to get rid of the ball earlier and not lock into my first read," Driskel said." If nothing's open and someone's coming at me, just throw the ball away. … I'm a young quarterback and I've got to learn from my experiences. (This) week, you'll definitely see me throw the ball away if I get in that situation."
POWELL OUT: The devastating ACL injury LB Ronald Powell suffered in the spring will keep him off the field this season. He had been rehabilitating and was said to be progressing faster than expected, but coach Will Muschamp said Monday Powell reinjured the knee during rehab and most likely will redshirt. He will be re-evaluated next week. "We took the MRI (exam), probably a little too much swelling to really tell where he is right now,'' Muschamp said. "Very disappointed for him; really a setback as far as where he is and where we thought he would be at this point, as accelerated as his rehab has gone. It's just disappointing for him, a guy that's mentally has been a rock." Powell started 12 games in 2011.
KICKERS SPOTLIGHT: While Florida K Caleb Sturgis was named SEC special teams player of the week, Tennessee K Michael Palardy was being replaced. Derrick Brodus will take over for Palardy, who missed an extra point in each of Tennessee's first two games. Palardy will continue to kick off. Meanwhile Sturgis is 4-of-5 on field goals and has hit all four PAT's. His 51-yarder Saturday extended his streak of 50-plus field goals to seven, which leads the nation among active kickers.
GAMEDAY, AGAIN: For the second consecutive week, ESPN's College GameDay will originate from a Gators game. The GameDay crew will broadcast from Knoxville, where the Gators and Vols play at 6 p.m. Saturday.
UK AFTERNOON: Florida returns home Sept. 22 to play Kentucky; kickoff has been set for 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network (Ch. 38 in Tampa Bay).
GROSSMAN HONORED: Former Gator QB Rex Grossman will be inducted into the Florida Athletic Hall of Fame, one of nine inductees. The 2001 SEC Player of the Year, Grossman was the first sophomore quarterback in school history to earn first-team All-America honors in 2001. He was the 2001 Heisman Trophy runnerup to Nebraska QB Eric Crouch and the AP National Player of the Year. One of his former teammates, Armwood High graduate and OL Mike Pearson, is also in this year's Hall class. The rest of the inductees, to be honored April 5 in the Holloway Touchdown Terrace at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium: Jeff Davis (wrestling), Josh Fogg (baseball), Riko Higashio (women's golf), Heather Mitts (women's soccer) and Chrissy Van Fleet (gymnastics). Former football player and assistant coach Larry Morris will be inducted as a distinguished letterwinner and longtime gymnastics coach Ernestine Russell Weaver as an honorary letterwinner.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]