BOCA RATON – The Jason Driskel-led FAU offense doesn’t have any intention of playing cautiously against No. 25 Miami on Saturday.
“We’re going in there to attack,” Driskel said. “We want to start fast. We want to finish fast. We pride ourselves on having a team full of South Florida guys that are athletes and we’re going in there to attack.”
Driskel has already experienced success employing this philosophy despite the youth suggested by his redshirt-sophomore status.
Against the Hurricanes last season, second game of the year, the Owls called on Driskel to replace quarterback Quez Johnson after the senior sustained an early ankle injury.
In his first game action as a collegian, Driskel led the Owls to a touchdown on his opening drive, which culminated in a play that was one of the highlights of FAU’s season.
Facing a third-and-goal from the 4, Driskel started to roll right then looked back left and lofted a pass into the end zone where tight end Nate Terry – who had fallen down as a decoy, then popped back up as the action of the play went away from him – stood uncovered for a score.
“It was neat, obviously with the atmosphere we had last year,” Driskel said. “Neat little play we had too. It was a pretty cool way to do my first drive.”
Driskel remembers that game as being a “tale of two halves.”
FAU tied the game at 20 midway through the third quarter before Miami pulled away for a 44-20 victory.
Driskel completed 17 of his 30 passes against the Hurricanes, tossing the one touchdown against two interceptions.
It was good experience, but while that game was played only one year ago, Driskel isn’t relying on past performance to aid with future success. At least not that past performance.
With Miami sporting an entirely new coaching staff that teaches different tactics and employs different schemes, and with FAU running a new offense of its own, there may not be many useful comparisons to draw upon from last season.
Driskel is more interested in his performance from this most recent Saturday, when he threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another in a 38-30 victory over Southern Illinois that has FAU boasting a 1-0 record for the first time since 2012.
“He did a good job of managing and distributing the ball,” FAU offensive coordinator Travis Trickett said. “It was a good first step, not a great [one]. I’m looking forward to him continuing to do it.”
Driskel completed 74 percent of his passes against the FCS-level Salukis, with most of those completions being close to or even behind the line of scrimmage.
He remains disappointed about missing some open receivers down field – particularly overthrowing a wide open Kalib Woods deep down the middle where a completion likely would have resulted in a touchdown. On that play in particular Driskel takes solace in the fact that he made the right read and that he doesn’t often make the same mistake twice.
“Hopefully that was first game jitters and they’re out of my system, and we’re throwing lots of touchdowns this year,” Driskel said.
And the best way to score touchdowns is to constantly be on the attack.
“I think having belief in ourselves is what is going to give us that mentality to go in there,” Driskel said. “We believe in our guys to go out there and make plays and execute at a high level.”
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