As of Wednesday, however, Kiffin still isn’t certain which quarterback that will be.
In the second week since reopening the quarterback battle, Kiffin and the Owls’ offensive coaches still haven’t seen enough separation between Jason Driskel and Daniel Parr to make a decision.
“We wanted it to be, but it really didn’t so we still split [repetitions] today,” Kiffin said moments after the conclusion of Wednesday’s practice. “We’ll go watch this [practice video] and hopefully make a decision.”
Kiffin’s search for a quarterback began shortly after his arrival in December.
Parr won the battle to start the season, but Kiffin re-opened the competition following FAU’s 45-0 Week 3 victory over Bethune-Cookman because he believed the Owls are missing too many opportunities in the passing game.
FAU hit some big plays with Parr behind center – most notably a program-record 95-yard touchdown to Willie Wright – but most of the action came near the line of scrimmage. Six passing plays either lost yardage or didn’t gain yardage in the opener against Navy. Against Bethune-Cookman, Kiffin counted 15 completions behind the line of scrimmage.
Driskel, last year’s starter, didn’t exactly reward Kiffin’s decision to start him against Buffalo, throwing for only 150 yards with an interception on Saturday. Despite Driskel’s struggles – one-third of those passing yards came on the final drive – Kiffin never inserted Parr into the game.
He isn’t planning on trying a two-quarterback system this week against the Blue Raiders either.
“I doubt it,” Kiffin said. “One guy needs to play and do the right things so we can win.”
Parr and Driskel spent the early portion of the past two weeks splitting snaps with the first team. Leading up to the Buffalo game Kiffin decided on the starter prior to Thursday’s walk-though, but never actually told Driskel that he won the job.
That week Driskel took the majority of the snaps during Thursday’s and Friday’s practices.
“He probably figured it out,” Kiffin said. “We didn’t make a big announcement or anything like that. We just started moving the reps in that direction.”
Driskel, Parr accustomed to QB battle
Driskel and Parr are in the midst of their second season battling each other for the starting job. A redshirt-junior, Driskel is actually part of an FAU quarterback battle for the third consecutive season, having competed against Quez Johnson in the 2015 season.
Parr took part in a quarterback battle as an underclassman at Palm Beach Gardens-Dwyer – an experience he draws upon today.
“When I was in high school my sophomore year it was kind of like the same situation,” Parr said. “I guess I’m kind of used to it.”
Parr possesses the stronger arm and enjoyed more downfield success this season compare to Driskel.
Driskel’s longest completion at Buffalo covered only 23 yards, but he did a better job in the mental aspect of the position – getting the Owls into the right plays and ensuring the proper alignment.
Both quarterbacks are, essentially, equally efficient, with Driskel completing 60 percent of his passes to Parr’s 57.3 percent. Parr’s 43 completions average 13.7 yards, a statistic that drops to 11.7 if Wright’s 95-yard touchdown is removed. Driskel’s 21 completions average 7.9 yards.
Parr said he’s concentrating on eliminating mental errors – taking the proper drop, giving a passable play fake, ensuring the offense is aligned correctly – this week in an attempt to earn his fourth start of the season.
He sees some positives from the extended quarterback battle.
“I think the good thing is you’ve got to be on your toes,” Parr said. “You’ve got to be mentally sharp. It forces us to go out there and play at our peak every day. I think that’s probably why the coaches are doing it because it forces us to take our game to another level.”