McElwain announces both Grier and Harris will play in season opener

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Surprise! We’ve got QB drama…

Well, there is. Jim McElwain has finally gone and said it: both Will Grier and Treon Harris will play in the Gators’ season opener against New Mexico State.

By all accounts, Grier got off to a fantastic start in the QB battle. He outplayed Harris in the spring, and Harris missed some time in spring practice with a family emergency. Grier also got off to a strong start in fall camp, looking fantastic in the first couple weeks of practice while Harris struggled.

But Harris has played better lately, looking exceptional at times. He’s throwing the ball with confidence now, something he didn’t do early in fall camp. In fact, Harris was downright inaccurate early on, chunking balls into the ground and overthrowing receivers by several feet. He’s eliminated those mistakes now, and his incompletions really only come from good plays by defensive backs or occasional drops from receivers. Throughout this past week, he’s seldom made throws that any coach would call “bad”. He’d dug himself a hole behind Grier, and is in fact still in the process of climbing out of it, but he’s looked good enough for McElwain to declare that both QB’s would play against the Aggies.

The last time Florida held a quarterback audition in the first game of the season was 2012, against Bowling Green. Will Muschamp and Brent Pease were deciding between Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel. Neither was very good and the Gators struggled mightily in a 27-14 win, but Driskel got the nod. I know that this is what a lot of Gator fans are thinking about, and using this as a reason to doubt the wisdom of waging a QB battle in a real live game.

If this bugs you, it shouldn’t for two reasons. One, New Mexico State flat out sucks. The Gators could beat the Aggies with their second team. And two, McElwain knows more about quarterbacks than most people who will criticize this move. Yes, Grier still appears to be ahead of Harris right now, but now it’s not by so much that McElwain shouldn’t at least give Harris a shot to run the new offense in a live game before he rules him out. When you’re picking your QB, you’re doing so with the hope that he’ll be your QB for as long as he wears your team’s jersey, i.e. you hope you’ll never have to make a switch. So since McElwain is making a decision he hopes will be permanent, it’s only fair to make 100% sure he’s picked the better QB before pulling the trigger and being stuck with it, for better or worse.

I’ll say it again: I still think Grier eventually beats out Harris. It’s true thatĀ Harris has stepped up and played better lately, but Grier has consistently been very, very good throughout spring and fall practice. He hasn’t really had any true “bad” practices, and has only made a handful of bad decisions and throws since McElwain took over. And the consistent solid performances he’s turned in should be enough that, unless he absolutely flops against New Mexico State, he’ll get the nod as the starter.

IĀ like Harris a lot, but I want Grier to be my team’s quarterback. And I remain fairly confident that at the end of the day, he will be.

5 thoughts on “McElwain announces both Grier and Harris will play in season opener

  1. These are also two QB’s who are much better than Brissett and Driskel were in 2012. In a better offense. With better coaches. Against a worse team. I’m not concerned.

  2. This is stupid. Both can play but Grier is better based on literally everything I’ve heard from everybody. Make the decision and focus on the other parts of the team that need it.

    1. That’s the problem, you base your choice on “everything I’ve heard” instead of seeing Grier play an actual game. I know you and many other are refusing to believe what is obvious to anyone by now, and that is the fact that Grier hasn’t “been very, very good.” If he had been, he’d be the starting quarterback. I think some of you thought that Grier was another Jameis Winston that was going to win the Heisman this year, based on what you “heard.”
      Guess what, and this will probably make your head explode. There’s a high probabilty that we will see nothing settled after playing New Mexico State because they are such an awful team. The Palm Beach Post compared the cupcakes that UF, Miami, and FSU play to open the season, Texas State, and Bethune-Cookman are the others. They opined that New Mexico State is by far the worst team of the three. Based on that, I don’t know how much McElwain can learn from watching them play such a crappy team.
      One other thing that no one seems to consider is the fact that the best offensive play UF had last year was when Harris ran the ball, either by design or impromptu. If Grier isn’t as capable of doing that, and everything else is relatively even, why would you remove the one thing that UF has proven they are capable of doing on offense?

      1. I refuse to believe that Mac won’t have a starter picked after NMSU. Yeah they suck but so what? It’s a real live game with a real live opponent. We aren’t looking to see which of them flops in the bright lights of the Swamp because that’s not going to happen. We’re looking to see which of them can lead his team better and play better in a real game. Will we learn from this game which QB is better equipped to lead Florida in the WLOCP? No. But this game is the best indicator we could get, and because we can’t afford to fuck around with this anymore… at some point you just gotta pick your guy, you know? And I believe if they both keep playing well it’ll go to Grier because he’s a better pure pocket passer.

  3. Can we stop with the NMSU sucks bit ? JM is no WM but after Georgia Southern can we not look forward a week to the next opponent ?

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