Lane Kiffin brought best out of once-third-string QB Jason Driskel

Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin is many things, especially on social media, but no one has ever doubted his work with quarterbacks.

*Lane Kiffin’s latest take on Nick Saban

*More FAU coverage

In Kiffin’s first head coaching job since being fired from USC midway through the 2013 season, he helped turn Owls redshirt junior Jason Driskel into one of Conference USA’s top quarterbacks. After losing the preseason quarterback battle to Daniel Parr (Dwyer) and beginning the season as the Owls’ third quarterback, Driskel went 10-1 as a starter as the Owls won their first C-USA championship and won the Boca Raton Bowl. The Owls won a program-record 11 games.

To start our positional reviews from the 2017 FAU season, it only makes sense to start with a position that wasn’t solidified until the Owls were already making history …

MVP: Driskel didn’t play until garbage time of a 45-0 win over Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 16 and didn’t start until the next week against Buffalo, but the redshirt junior more than made up for lost time. Driskel finished with career-highs in completion percentage (66.5) and touchdowns (15) while cutting down on his interceptions (4 after throwing 11 in 2016).

Though Kiffin has promised another quarterback competition, Driskel should enter spring camp as the full-fledged starter for the first time in his career.

Biggest surprise: Despite a slow start from Driskel, Kiffin never elected to use a two-quarterback system and kept Parr on the bench. When games were out of reach, Kiffin put wide receiver and former Auburn quarterback John Franklin III in at quarterback to lead a Wildcat formation. After throwing 74 times in the first three games, Parr did not attempt a single pass after being removed from the starting lineup.

Who’s returning? Jason Driskel; Chris Robison; Connor Miller; and Tyrone Smith Jr. (Although Smith is expected to see action at cornerback this spring and could permanently move there). De’Andre Johnson is expected to return for the 2018 season if he is healthy in his return from blood clots.

Who’s leaving? Parr announced last month he will be transferring to Duquesne University . FAU is not losing any of their true quarterbacks, though Franklin III has exhausted all years of eligibility.

Biggest offseason storyline: Is this spring’s competition strictly between Driskel and Robison? With Parr’s departure and Johnson’s football future uncertain, Kiffin could opt to add an impact quarterback to this year’s recruiting class during the February signing period.

Given Johnson is still working his way back from a serious surgery, rising fifth-year senior Conor Miller is likely to enter camp alongside Robison as one of the first two quarterbacks behind Driskel.

Noteworthy: FAU running back Devin Singletary (American Heritage) and linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair have officially been announced to the 63rd Touchdown Cub of Columbus Awards next month as Players to Watch in 2018. Singletary ran for 1,920 yards and 32 touchdowns this year as a true sophomore and will be joined by five other running backs. Al-Shaair is the all-time career tackles leader in FAU history (354) and will be joined by Ohio State’s Nick Bosa and Buffalo’s Khalil Hodge as defensive players to watch. Marshall quarterback Chase Litton and North Texas quarterback Mason Fine will also represent Conference USA.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

FAU to name Brian Battle interim athletic director

Florida Atlantic is prepared to name Brian Battle, a high-ranking member of the athletics department, as the school’s interim athletic director following Pat Chun’s departure for Washington State, The Post has learned. Battle currently serves as the University’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for Internal Operations and previously...
Lake Worth’s Alexa Pano, 13, advances to Doherty final
Lake Worth’s Alexa Pano, 13, advances to Doherty final

Meghan Stasi had the shot of the day Thursday in the 86th Ione D. Jones/Doherty Women’s Amateur Championship, holing her approach to the par-4 17th hole at Coral Ridge Country Club for an eagle and a dramatic change in momentum. The 112-yard shot gave Stasi a 1-up lead in her Amateur division semifinal match against Noelle Maertz. When Maertz...
How will FAU address QB situation after Jason Driskel’s retirement?
How will FAU address QB situation after Jason Driskel’s retirement?

As Florida Atlantic quarterback Jason Driskel leaves football following his retirement on Thursday, his former head coach has a new problem. With Driskel leaving football to complete his engineering degree and ex-Dwyer star Daniel Parr transferring to Duquesne, the quarterback competition that Owls coach Lane Kiffin promised after his team’s...
Bernhard Langer, John Daly to play Boca Raton Championship next month
Bernhard Langer, John Daly to play Boca Raton Championship next month

Bernhard Langer and John Daly — the most dominant and perhaps the most popular players on the PGA Tour Champions, respectively — have committed to play in the Boca Raton Championship Presented by Sallyport at Broken Sound on Feb. 5-11. *PGA and FedEx Cup champ Justin Thomas to play Honda Classic Langer, a Hall of Famer and longtime Boca...
Miles Jones commits to Nebraska: Huskers land former Vanderbilt pledge
Miles Jones commits to Nebraska: Huskers land former Vanderbilt pledge

Miles Jones joined Nebraska football’s 2018 recruiting class Thursday night, announcing his decision on Twitter. He’s the 17th member of the Huskers’ class, and the fourth to commit since the early signing period ended on Dec. 22. Jones de-committed from Vanderbilt on Tuesday after spending eight months verbally committed...
More Stories