Florida practice report 9/15: Hargreaves returns, Treon Harris takes first team reps

All things considered, Florida had a very good practice today.

The first thing of note was that star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves made his return, and in full pads at that. He was held out of the team speedball drill, but participated in some non contact drills. He remains officially “questionable” for Saturday’s game against Kentucky.

But Florida’s secondary will be in better shape than it was last week against ECU regardless of whether Hargreaves plays or not because of the debut of safety Keanu Neal. Neal has yet to play this year because of a hamstring problem, and he’s more than glad to be back. Or, more specifically, he’s got “so much anger and energy built up inside me. I’m ready to go,” when speaking to InsideTheGators’ Landon Watnick. Neal and Martez Ivey (who’s returning from a leg injury) are both expected to play against the Wildcats. Alex Anzalone, who has an injury to his right shoulder that Florida will continue to monitor throughout the week, was at practice but not dressed.

Following his throat slashing gesture after a touchdown against ECU, Kelvin Taylor was subsequently dropped to third on the depth chart. That was evident today when freshman Jordan Cronkrite received the first team reps at running back, and looked good. Cronkrite is listed as a possible starter at running back along with Jordan Scarlett; which of them actually gets the start probably won’t matter, as the other one will definitely see a lot of carries in a game the Gators will need to be successful on the ground in order to win.

Another good bit of news to report: the amount of dropped passes went down significantly. Drops have plagued the Gators for years now, the most recent example of which was Alvin Bailey deflecting a Will Grier pass right into the arms of an ECU defender on Saturday. But the receivers looked a lot better today:

The star of practice, though, had to be freshman defensive end Cece Jefferson:

The only thing that really concerned me was that Treon Harris was taking first team reps at QB. Will Grier played the majority of the game against East Carolina, so putting Treon back in with the first team at practice today gives me the impression that Jim McElwain really is planning on stretching out this QB battle even longer. At this point, the problem isn’t even that Grier is the better QB (which he is) but rather the fact that we’re still seeing a rotating QB system. Quite simply, it just can’t happen much longer if the Gators want to really compete for the things they should be competing for, like a trip to Atlanta and a New Year’s Six Bowl, neither of which are possibilities with platooning quarterbacks.

I’d actually rather McElwain just pick Harris and bench Grier for good- even though Grier is the superior quarterback- than allow this battle to continue on for much longer. At least then, the offense could develop some continuity with a consistent leader.

9 thoughts on “Florida practice report 9/15: Hargreaves returns, Treon Harris takes first team reps

  1. Let’s be real for a second. UF probably has no shot at the SEC championship nor a NY6 bowl this season.
    Don’t use that as a reason to settle on a QB. If Mac hasn’t decided yet, it must be for a reason.
    I totally agree in the short run, the longer this drags out the longer it may take to establish concrete continuity on offense. But if we are looking long term, as in a real challenge to the SEC West’s dominance and a playoff berth in 2016, I am ok with letting the QB battle go as long as needed for this staff to make sure they’re making the right pick.
    And I say this with the belief that Grier is the better of the two. But I also acknowledge I’m not the coach and am not privy to every single factor in this decision that Mac and staff see.
    Let this QB crusade go, Neil. Have a little faith in the process.

    1. True, Florida has no realistic shot at a New Year’s Six game or even a trip to Atlanta. But that doesn’t mean we should just lay down our weapons and just not fight for it. We need to do all we can to put ourselves in position to get there, and if we don’t? Then oh well, we tried our best and I can sleep at night knowing we did everything in our power.

      As for the QB crusade: I do have a little faith in the process. But the longer I see Harris and Grier platooning, the less faith I’m likely to have. There is virtually zero historical data that supports a two QB system in the long run, and watching both Grier and Harris struggle after being cold makes me more sure than ever that it will not work in this case.

      1. You have to realize that the winner of this QB battle will be Mac’s starter for 3 years. The loser will likely transfer and I doubt he plays Jake Allen as a true freshman in 2017. So basically, the QB he picks has Mac’s job in his hands because if UF does poorly in those 3 years, Mac will be fired.

  2. Honestly there’s no juggernaut in the East, so any things possible. LSU/OLE MISS. are bye far going to be the toughest games and maybe even Ls, but I’m optimistic because he has a plan for success, and success is always right away!

  3. This can be traced all the way back to the NFL in the early 70’s when Tom Landry of the Cowboys shuttled Craig Morton and,Roger Staubach,it was a disaster then and,has been anytime its been tried.The only coach I know who ever had any success with doing that was Steve Spurrier when he was coaching at Florida.

  4. Coach Mac has a lot to think about with the QB positions although will seems to have the bigger arm. Grier had majority of the game to distant himself as the starter. He failed to do so.it shows when treon led the 4th quarter drive to put us up by 7 to close the game which is the most important part of anygame. Closing.And don’t forget this effects recruiting as well being that T3 is from the south Florida area which coach Mac wants to get a large portion of recruits from. It all has an effect on the program which way he decides. For example Calloway starting wideout as a freshman for UF isn’t just cuz of coach Mac.go gators! Just want to win.

  5. Instead of saying coach Mac should just pick one maybe we should say Grier or Harris should improve and take the job already…Im sure if coach Mac saw enough in either to reward one of them the job then he would have. In the ECU game he tried to give the opportunity to Grier when he started him in the second half and he did not take advantage… Harris has done nothing to prove he is deserving as well…So why just give one the job that has not earned it?..I for one feel Coach Mac is doing the right thing because if either one is to be the starter then he has to take that job by showing consistency in practice as well as take the reigns and leading our offense when the lights are on and all eyes are on them…

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