Florida’s quarterback battle in 2016 will consist entirely of new faces.
Treon Harris will be moved to wide receiver this season. The news was first reported by GatorCountry’s Andrew Spivey, who tweeted that he was working out with the rest of the wide receivers. Another sort of clue that this is actually happening was a picture tweeted by Purdue transfer Austin Appleby that featured all the QB’s hanging out in the Swamp- a picture that Treon Harris was not in.
It was simply a move that Jim McElwain had to make.
The fact of the matter is, Harris struggled mightily this past season. Since he took over the QB spot for Will Grier, he completed 100 of his 207 passes for 409 yards, including eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. But even more so than the stats show, Harris was very inaccurate, even on seemingly simple throws. Defenses eventually learned to stuff the box with the fear of being beaten through the air diminished, and the result was that the Gators’ offense regressed back to the way it was under Will Muschamp- wholly ineffective.
Florida’s quarterback battle will now be between Appleby, fellow transfer Luke Del Rio (Oregon State) and freshman Feleipe Franks. Each of them have potential, and I’d be OK with any of them starting this year, though I’d be wary of starting Franks unless the coaching staff is absolutely positive he’s ready. But whoever gets the nod has to be considered an upgrade. Better yet, there’s actually hope that whoever it is will make improvements if he does struggle. And because so many of the Gators’ problems last year stemmed from the lack of a successful quarterback (an indirect reference to the fact that there were no viable backup options), I’m confident that the simple addition of one to this Gator offense will yield at least some overall improvement.
We got a taste of what Florida football would be like with a solid quarterback for the six games that we had Will Grier. Here’s to going back to that- for good.