Louisiana Tech coach: Jeff Driskel a ‘scapegoat’ in ‘toxic environment’ of Florida Gators football

By Adam Silverstein
September 10, 2015

It was no surprise when former Florida Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel transferred from the program prior to the 2015 season.

Set to be coached by his second staff (not counting the one that initially recruited him) and fourth offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach, Driskel decided that enough was enough; he was sick of failing as the starting signal caller for the Gators and wanted to try his luck elsewhere. Similarly, Florida fans were happy to move on from Driskel after being constantly disappointed in the performance of the five-star prospect, who failed to live up to his hype despite the tough circumstances he faced from a coaching perspective at UF.

Now Driskel’s new head coach, Louisiana Tech’s Skip Holtz, has spoken out about his new quarterback’s time with the Gators and unsurprisingly placed the blame solely on Florida, not his current player.

“I think down at Florida, it got very toxic for him. He became the scapegoat,” Holtz said on his weekly radio show, according to The News Star. “He became the guy that was tied to losing at Florida as a fan base that does not take very well to losing. It really became a negative situation, which is unfortunate because he’s such a great Christian young man with such great values who is a leader.”

He also took a shot at the athletes the Gators had surrounding Driskel.

“There are some guys [at Louisiana Tech] that are really helping him, and I don’t know how much he got that when he was at Florida,” Holtz continued. “I don’t know how much he had the help around that he has here right now.”

While Driskel’s performance on the field was seriously lacking, he showed tremendous character while with the Gators, always standing up in front of the media to answer questions about his and the team’s play. Driskel never shied away from being the face of the program, even when that was a face disliked by the fan base.

Last Saturday, in the Bulldogs’ dominant 62-15 victory over Southern, Driskel racked up five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) and 247 yards.

Tip of the hat: Tampa Bay Times

Photo Credit: Associated Press


  1. Sjkoepp says:

    The LA Tech coach is probably closer to the truth than I would like to think. I really do feel for Jeff, as it seems like he had to be the QB in one of our biggest talent dropoffs at WR and TE (he looked very different in 2012 when he had Jordan Reed). This may seem crazy, but I STILL think Driskel could be a good QB. I honestly hope he finds all the success in the world.

  2. Oldflyer says:

    I hope that Jeff enjoys great success. He is a fine young man. I sent him a letter back when he was catching so much crap, and received a very nice response.

    He is also a talented athlete. I expect him to do very well with a reasonable amount of support.

  3. john vickery says:

    Best of luck to Jeff. I hope he goes on to have a great career!

  4. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Good luck to Jeff. No question there was a seriously dysfunctional atmosphere during muschamp’s last year.

  5. 305Gator says:

    I don’t have a problem with Holtz defending Driskel. The so called “toxic” environment he talked about was a product of muschump and his complete lack of regard and understanding about the offense.
    While most of the blame lies on muschump Driskel is no scapegoat but a participant in that failed system. Maybe he is more of a victim of that system than anything else. He suffered from a lack of player development and coaching that could have helped him grow and get better. Instead he regressed and got worse.
    I am happy that both muschump and Driskel are gone. Hopefully now he will continue to play well at LaTech all season long and not come out with a terrible performance the next time around like he did while at UF.

    • Tractorr says:

      Bingo, I know it was just New Mexico State but let’s be honest the offense looked 1000% better than it did at its best during Muschamp’s run. These are mostly the same players that Muschamp had and a mostly less experienced OL, and McElwain in game one has made them look like a competent offense. I know they won’t look that good once they start playing better teams but the offense had trouble doing simple things during Muschamp’s years.

    • Oldflyer says:

      Driskell and Muschamp are the favored whipping boys. Muschamp was never going to have a chance because he was not a name. Even when he won 11 games he was crapped on for the style with which he won.

      Last year is colored as a major disaster; yet the record was better than Spurrier’s–who is obviously a coaching God. Muschamp supposedly left the cupboard bare, but the defense is being touted as the best in the SEC if not the country. The starting QB, if there ever is one, was a Muschamp recruit. The playmakers on offense will be Muchamp recruits.

      If the offensive linemen were so damn good the past couple of years, why was Jeff running for his life; when he wasn’t getting his bell rung? Then again, how do you develop confidence when your receivers cannot run a route or catch a ball that hits them in the hands?

      I think the comment blasting Muschamp for playing Harris against FSU pretty well sums up the ridiculous attitude around Gator football. Muschamp took “expletive deleted” for not starting Harris the whole year. Now he was stupid for playing him? Jeez!

      While I am on may soap box, I noted here and there that Muschamp was blasted for being critical of UF’s facilities. New guy comes in and immediately gets an IPF and a major dorm upgrade, among other things. Wonder why?

      I can think of two guys who are damn glad to be out of Gainesville. Well, make it three counting me–but, I have been gone for 60 years.

      • ryan v. says:

        no matter who is to blame, muschamp or driskel, there’s no way we should have lost to Georgia Southern last year. Even in our 11-2 year, scoring 20 points won us games. Those 20 points a game eventually weren’t enough.

      • Tractorr says:

        1) I definitely crapped on the style in which Muschamp won 11 games. Why? Because it rarely seemed like most of those 11 games were dominated. I don’t care if a team is defense first. In fact, I prefer a defense first football team. The problem was that Muschamp seemingly forsake offensive football. You can’t do that in modern football and you certainly can’t do that at the college level. Even the best college defenses are still populated with players who are going to make a number of errors per game. Those errors get turned into points quickly.

        2 )Anyone who ever questioned Muschamp’s defensive coaching ability is an idiot. I certainly never did.

        3) The OL was not good during Muschamp’s years but maybe that was because they were being asked to do things that they were not suited for. The guys that we saw on Saturday are not a major talent upgrade over what Muschamp had, in many cases less experience, and they still looked like they knew how to play the game of football (you know not blocking each other)

        4) I think the nature of the complaints about Harris starting at FSU was because he was being thrown to the wolves. Had he spent more time under center maybe he would have been ready to play at FSU.

        5) When you aren’t producing on the field you don’t get what you want off. People keep pointing to the 11-2 season. Well guess what we didn’t get to the SEC championship and we got blasted in the bowl game. Also, maybe not get the facilities he wanted had something to do with having the first losing season since 1979 the following season. I love how so many people who want to defend Muschamp bring out the 2012 season but don’t mention the 2013 season. A season where we don’t so much as win the East and get destroyed in the bowl game don’t make up for the first losing season in over 30 years.

        6) I am not so sure that Driskel is that happy to be at La Tech anymore. Considering he just threw for 357 yards last night but only had 67.2 QB rating (both Florida QBs had over a 200 on Saturday something Tebow only did 3 times in his whole career) and he lost the game against a much lesser talented defense then he would have seen in the SEC. Driskel has a lot of talent but he simply isn’t a big time QB.

  6. Orlando Gator says:

    Holtz hit the nail right on the head. I don’t have any ill will towards Driskel, it just didn’t work out at Florida for him. I’d be willing to bet if Driskel had gone to, say South Carolina, things would have gone a lot different for him.

  7. KarVer says:

    A pansy! In a weak knee league! Let them face the gators this year an UF will wipe the floor with Driskels team…

  8. Charlie says:

    I have no problem with Holtz’s comments. This is an attempt to pump up the confidence of Driskel. Driskel certainly shares some of the blame for UF’s poor performance. I can think of several losses where he could be pointed to as the primary reason we lost (Miami definitely stands out). But he was a scapegoat for a lot of the deficiencies in offensive playcalling and playmaker recruiting.

  9. Michael Jones says:

    Holtz is dead on. Happy to see that some of the commenters agree. The others. . .well, that’s the well-known ugly side of Gator Nation. Fans like that embarrass our program more than Driskel ever could on his worst day.

    I hope that Driskel has a great year and then goes on to play in the NFL. That would not only be befitting to a fine young man and athlete, but also pretty hilarious. I wonder how many of the bozos who have bashed him would be man/woman enough to come out and admit they were wrong? Ha ha. . . . I can answer that: ZERO.

    By the way, we would have beaten FSU a second time with Driskel at the helm last year if Coach Dufus had the good sense to play him instead of the lame-duck throwing Harris who reportedly had a shoulder injury.

    Go Gators!! Go Jeff Driskel!!

    • senuod says:

      I’m all for Driskel succeeding and wishing him well in the future. I never was big on putting the blame squarely on him, but let’s be honest with ourselves. There is absolutely no evidence, based on last season, that team, coached by Muschamp and crew, would have won that FSU game with Driskel playing. Absolutely none.

      Especially when you consider the missed field goals for that game. The receivers would not have played any better with Driskel throwing the ball. In fact, we’ve seen them play worse with him at the helm of the offense.

      I truly liked the kid and wish the last regime hadn’t ruined his chances to be a successful QB at a major program, like he was supposed to be, but let’s not revise history either.

    • senuod says:

      AND let’s not downgrade a true freshman who arguably was more successful than Driskel in his first few starts at a major program against major opponents. Under the exact same arguably incompetent offense staff.

      Treon may not win the starting role this season, but I think it’s clear he is talented enough to help us win major games. Talented enough to start given a good offensively minded coach, which it finally seems we may have. Will Grier simply might just have better measurables and be equally talented.

      • Michael Jones says:

        Driskel is 10 times the QB Treon is. I don’t know what you’re thinking or what game you were watching last year. We couldn’t score and Treon was part of the reason why. To his defense, he apparently had a sore shoulder or something. But the D played great and Driskel would have given us a much better chance to win.

        Do you remember who was quarterbacking the Gators the last time we beat FSU in Tally? Jeff Driskel. That’s all the evidence you need. He’s actually done it.

  10. 1974Gator says:

    I agree with Holtz but don’t think he should have made the “toxic” comment. Coaches don’t talk like that about another coach’s program. It was clearly apparent that we had a serious problem when we had 4 offensive linemen drafted and 8+ taken by the NFL earlier this year. We had the talent but it wasn’t being coached up.

    • Michael Jones says:

      I doubt that he was just singling out Muschamp. In fact, it was pretty clear that he was calling out ALL of Gator Nation, as he well should have. The way we did Driskel was a disgrace. Definitely not our proudest moment. The only thing I can recall that disgusted me as much was the fireronzook.com website before the poor guy ever had a chance to coach his first game.

  11. Rakkasan says:

    Driskel was a lousy quarterback at UF, and despite being a five star guy out of high school it should be obvious to everyone that he was over-ranked, and was closer to being a three star guy. I don’t blame him because he never had the coaching he needed to be even average, however I wouldn’t go so far as to call him a scapegoat. I would agree that the situation was toxic at UF with a crazy guy at the helm of the football program who managed to not only bring down the Florida football program, but also managed to ruin the brand.

    I wish the young man luck.

  12. Sharon Milner says:

    Part of the blame at least belongs to Jeremy Foley for letting it go on way too long.

  13. Iamtheeggman says:

    There are certainly a lot of armchair coaches that know everything that was wrong in hindsight. The reason Jeff Driskel failed is staring at him every time he looks in the mirror. Now some folks are saying UF is a great offense, yet they scored less than last year against another cupcake with Jeff Driskel at the helm? The same exact things were being said last year, only Roper’s name was used as the genius, not McElwain. Let’s see what UF looks like when October rolls around before coming to any conclusions about UF’s offense being better. Last year it only took a half after the 65 point outburst to find out. That’s when UF scored a single field goal against might Kentucky at home in the first half. We’ll learn something this week about UF and also Tennessee when they play Oklahoma. FRom the posts here you’d think UF was a good team and ranked high. The reality is very different.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Dude, in case you haven’t noticed, this is a comment board for armchair coaches. We all are. Including yourself. Of all the lame criticisms of a commenter, the ol’ “you don’t get paid to be the coach” criticism is the biggest joke of all. Like no s–t! lol