GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It's not an easy time to be Jeff Driskel.
The noise in the system is reaching a crescendo after another dismal performance in a big game. The latest misstep was Saturday's 42-21 loss to No. 3 Alabama in which Driskel completed 32 percent of his passes (9 of 28) for 93 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
By now Driskel has seen or at least heard about Emmitt Smith's tweet calling for the junior QB to be benched.
Smith was just one voice in a chorus of former Gator players ready for a change at QB.
Heck, even Driskel's favorite target, sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, was caught expressing his displeasure in the form of a damning retweet:
Oh boy. pic.twitter.com/7O8efjdH4Z— Jonathan Arnholz (@JArnholz) September 21, 2014
Everyone it seems is ready for a new face at quarterback after three-plus seasons of Driskel at the controls. Even Driskel's most important supporter, coach Will Muschamp, admitted he thought about turning to true freshman backup Treon Harris during Saturday's rout.
"I did [consider a change], but Jeff gives us the best opportunity right now," Muschamp said after the game. "For us to win a football game like that, Jeff Driskel needs to play.
"As we move forward we need to play better at that position and a bunch of other positions, so we will evaluate that."
The Gators (2-1, 1-1 in the SEC) have nearly two weeks to evaluate before a critical game at Tennessee that could have a big impact on Muschamp's future as coach.
Before the season started, Muschamp said it was important to develop backups at the quarterback position. He was mostly referring to UF's two true freshmen recruits who were both among the top-10 prospects in the country last year.
Still, this is a teenager who has thrown just two passes at the collegiate level.
After Florida's shaky triple-overtime win against Kentucky during which Driskel struggled mightily in leading the Gators to just three first-half points, Muschamp said he didn't think about putting in Harris.
He does, however, believe Harris has the ability to play this season.
"Absolutely," Muschamp said two days after the UK game. "And we have a plan every week for him in some situations to come in and play. Absolutely.”
It didn't happen against Alabama despite Driskel's ineffectiveness, and now the same noise on Twitter that has called for the starter to sit has led to a #FreeTreon hashtag.
One thing is certain -- it's gotten very difficult to defend Driskel, internally that is.
He's last among SEC starters in QB rating (111.1) as well as yards per attempt (5.5). His work on third downs this season is particularly telling. He's completing 42 percent of his passes (13 of 31). On eight third-down passes in Saturday's loss, he completed more passes to Alabama (two interceptions) than Florida (one).
"I didn't get it done," he said afterward.
He's as frustrated as any of his teammates, but Driskel is in a leadership position. All eyes are on him and he knows there's still a long season ahead.
"We're not going to hang our heads and we're going to continue to work to improve," he said "...Going into the bye week, we're going to have to shore some things up."
It starts at quarterback.