We are just one week away from kickoff. How about that.
Needless to say, that means the practices are becoming more important and more intense.
Will Grier got much of the hype throughout spring practice and fall camp, both from myself and from other Gator media sources. And though he continues to play well, so has the other guy in the mix for the starting QB spot, Treon Harris. Thus, McElwain announced earlier this week that both QB’s will play in the season opener against New Mexico State. That’s no knock against Grier, but rather strong praise for the job Harris did of bouncing back from a poor start to fall camp.
I’ll reiterate it, just to make sure there’s no misunderstanding. From what I’ve seen with my own eyes plus what people close to the program are telling me, Grier has been stellar throughout spring and fall ball, and is still ahead of Harris. That gap has closed though, not because Grier has suddenly started to play badly (though he has cooled off slightly), but because Treon has really stepped up his game. Harris has really looked good with his deep ball of late, something he has been inconsistent with in previous practices. He has also become increasingly intelligent about when to dump the ball off and selecting his receiver.
I still think at this point that it’s Grier’s job to lose, based on a much larger sample size of impressive practice performances. But for the first time, I also think that he can lose it if he plays particularly badly in practice this week or if he does something unforgivably bad against New Mexico State. In any case, I am happy that Harris is pushing him a little bit. I don’t want Grier to win the job by default or be given it. I want him to win it, to earn it.
On another note, there’s some good news about OT Martez Ivey. He got his knee scoped yesterday morning, which was done to clean up a meniscus surgery he’d had in high school. It went pretty well, and he’s taking medication right now to help deal with the pain, but he seems to be in good spirits.
The educated guess from the UF medical staff is that he’ll be back for the Gators’ SEC opener against Kentucky on September 19th. If he isn’t healthy then, he should be ready to go the following week for the rivalry game against Tennessee. Until then, Mason Halter, David Sharpe and Frederick Johnson will take turns holding down the fort at the two OT spots (Sharpe likely on the right side, Halter on the left with Johnson backing them both up).