Much-maligned Jeff Driskel to remain as Florida Gators starter

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Jeff Driskel remains the Florida Gators starting quarterback.

This isn't altogether surprising news. After all, Driskel has been the starter since his sophomore year, when he helped lead the 2012 squad to an 11-2 record and the Sugar Bowl. 

Sure, he was benched last year, but that was due to injury, not performance: Driskel broke his right fibula three games into the season.

But despite his experience, the redshirt junior's status as lead signal-caller was called into question recently.

Driskel was dismal last week in a 42-21 loss to Alabama, only completing 9-of-28 (32 percent) of his passes for 93 yards and a touchdown. He also threw two interceptions, which led to some fans calling for his benching.

Now, most coaches will ignore such suggestions.

But when one of those fans is Emmitt Smith, the former Florida great and an NFL Hall of Famer, well, it's harder to ignore that.

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'Seen enough'

The tweet came in the midst of the shellacking of the Gators, when the three-time Super Bowl champion seemed to finally have enough.

"Put Jeff Driskel on the bench please, I have seen enough," tweeted Smith, from @EmmittSmith22 on Sept. 20. 

Smith didn't explain if he was asking for a complete benching, or rather, just to sit Driskel for the remainder of the game. Taking a break could have saved the quarterback some embarrassment; he was only 1-of-8 on third downs and missed 14-of-16 of his passes that went farther than 10 yards.

Head coach Will Muschamp gave Driskel the dreaded "vote of confidence" - after all, if your coach has to publicly explain why he's keeping you on the field, there probably are some significant reasons for that.

"Jeff needs to play better. He understands that," Muschamp said on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. But the coach also added that Driskel "gives us the best opportunity to win right now."

As for the comments from Smith?

"Emmitt called to apologize to me, to Jeff Driskel and our football team," Muschamp said. "He was frustrated. He wants us to win. He wants us to be successful."

Disappointing Driskel

Still, Smith was only reiterating the disappointment of most Gator fans.

After all, Jeff Driskel was supposed to become a name synonymous with Tim Tebow and Chris Leak, dominant players who took their Florida teams to national championships in the 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons.

He was touted as the top pro-style quarterback in his class by both and and was the Maxwell Football Club National High School Player of the year. 

But that was a long time ago. Now Driskel needs to perform like a winner on the field, or he will likely be taken off it.

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