SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Jeff Driskel spoke to a group of reporters in the 49ers’ media room Thursday afternoon. Here’s a transcript.
Q: You’ve met Chip Kelly, right?
Q: What was your first meeting like?
DRISKEL: It was just a quick meeting. He sat us down and was telling us that we’re part of the team now, and it’s a great responsibility to be a 49er, and personally I’m so excited to be part of such a great tradition. I’m just honored to be here.
Q: How closely did you get to know Trent Brown and Kelvin Taylor at Florida?
DRISKEL: Ian Silberman as well. There’s three guys I played with in the past. I know them all really well. I had a chance to see Trent today. And Kelvin, we’ve been cutting up, hanging out a little bit today. So it’s been awesome. It’s really cool to see four former teammates in the NFL together. I think that’s pretty rare. It’s just a great opportunity for all of us, and I look forward to not just getting to work with them, but getting to work with everyone else as well.
Q: What kind of interaction have you had with Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick so far?
DRISKEL: Very little. Today was just rookies around. So very little. I met Blaine back when I was in high school at an Elite 11 camp, and he was one of the counselors. He helped me out and it was good to get to know him there. Just look forward to working with him and learning from him as well as the other quarterbacks in the room.
Q: Any texts with those guys?
DRISKEL: Just real quick with Blaine, like, “What should I bring?” Stuff like that.
ME: What’s your mindset for this offseason and what are your goals for this season?
DRISKEL: My mindset is just to come in and keep my mouth shut and learn, because there is a lot to learn. And I just want to come in and work hard and earn the respect of my teammates.
Q: Looking back at your early days at Florida, do you think you were burdened by expectations?
DRISKEL: I don’t really look back in that light. I had a good experience there. Four good years there. Graduated. Had a lot of fun. Met a lot of great people. Won a lot of games. So, my memories of Florida are positive experiences. My last year at Louisiana Tech, another positive experience. My mindset is to move forward, and that’s what I’m going to do.
Q: How different is it now, being a sixth-round pick, not having that same spotlight on you – do you think you benefit from that?
DRISKEL: I don’t think that has anything to do with what I’m going to do or how I’m going to work. If I was a first-round pick or an undrafted guy, I would work the same. And I think that’s most people’s mindset, is I’m going to come in and earn the respect of everyone else no matter where I got drafted.
Q: Did you take a few trips to see teams during the pre-draft process?
DRISKEL: Yeah, I took a few trips.
Q: Can you say where you went?
DRISKEL: Yeah. I went out to San Diego, went to Kansas City, went to Denver, went to Houston. But wouldn’t look to much into those.
Q: Were you thinking along those lines, that one of those teams would draft you?
DRISKEL: I think naturally you kind of think like that, but there was a lot of people along the way that told me, “Don’t get your sights set on one particular spot.” So I didn’t. And I was just so excited to talk to Coach whenever he called. It’s been awesome ever since, and can’t wait to get going.
Q: Have you got the playbook yet?
DRISKEL: Not yet.
Q: Have you done any research on Chip’s offensive style?
DRISKEL: It’s hard to do research. Obviously, I’ve watched a bunch of Eagles games and Oregon games in the past, but it’s hard to do research. There’s not the ins and outs of the playbook just online, so it’s hard to that research. But we’ll be getting it soon enough, and I’ll have a lot of time. I will definitely dedicate myself to getting it down.
Q: From watching those games, how do you see that offense adapting to your skillset?
DRISKEL: I don’t think it’s going to adapt to me.
Q: Or you to it.
DRISKEL: I think that it’s an explosive offense for explosive players. I just look forward to getting into it, learning it and competing every day.
ME: Are you an explosive player?
DRISKEL: I think I am, yeah. I believe that I am.
Q: You signed your deal already, right?
DRISKEL: Mhm, yeah.
Q: You had a lot of ups and downs, played at two schools. Do you think you come into the league a little better equipped than maybe a typical quarterback just given everything you’ve been through at this point? Are you a little mentally stronger than if everything went real smoothly for you in college?
DRISKEL: I don’t know if I’m any more equipped than anybody else. I think that going through some tough times helped me as a player and as a person. I’m kind of battle tested in that respect, know how to handle when times aren’t always going great. In the NFL, that’s going to happen. And I’ve just proven that I can respond from that and move forward.
Q: Can you stay for the rest of the offseason program?
DRISKEL: As far as I know.
Q: You’re packed and you’re here for good?
DRISKEL: Yeah. Hope so.
ME: How much experience do you have running the zone-read and how comfortable are you with that play?
DRISKEL: I’ve done it a lot. In just about every offense that I’ve been in, I’ve done the zone-read. It’s a play that I feel like I’m good at. I’ve got a good feel for what the defensive end is going to do, and have a good feel for hitting it up inside and getting down when the defense collapses on me. So it’s a play that I’ve done in the past, and I know it’s a part of the offense over here.
Q: You were the 14th or 15th quarterback selected. As you were watching the draft, or following it, and you see quarterbacks taken ahead of you, does that put a little chip on your shoulder? Does it make you feel like you have something to prove?
DRISKEL: As a competitor, you always want to be regarded highly and you want to be the first one taken. You think you should before this guy or that guy. But at the end of the day, I’m happy that I landed here. I think it’s a great fit. Just can’t wait to get to work with these guys because I think it’s the perfect fit.
ME: What do you like about the fit?
DRISKEL: I just think it’s an offense that allows me to use my God-given abilities.