Not that it should come as a surprise to anybody, but Will Grier has been named the Gators’ starting QB against Ole Miss this weekend.
Grier had an up and down performance last week against Tennessee, but he was at his best when he needed to be, including 5/5 on fourth down plays for 123 yards and a touchdown. Add the fact that he’s the guy who led the Gators back from 27-14 down with a double digit win streak over the Vols in jeopardy, plus Treon Harris’ brilliant decision to smoke weed in the middle of the season and subsequent suspension, and it’s really not news at all. But it’s at least good to know for certain, as opposed to potentially worrying about the 2% chance there was of McElwain actually playing Harris, or worse, rotating the two QB’s against the Rebels.
The only reason I can possibly come up with as to why this decision took so long is that McElwain wants to keep Grier humble. It’s not a bad idea, on the surface: we’ve been through who Grier is, his high school success and his family’s fame several times before, and now we have a strong performance in crunch time to beat a rival to add to potential reasons to worry about him getting a big head. But we’re past the point of honestly expecting fans to believe that there’s still an ongoing competition at the QB position, and it actually seems borderline silly to continue to throw the idea of a QB battle out there given what Grier and Harris have each done since the start of the season.
By no means do I expect Grier to go out there and play a perfect game against an Ole Miss defense that makes opposing QB’s lives hell, or even a great one. But this is where he learns, and grows up. You don’t get really good at making split second decisions against a defense that wants to kill you without actually doing it in real live game situations. And since this game doesn’t matter in terms of the SEC East standings, I’m OK with him having a rough performance. He’s a smart guy. He’ll learn from it and be better from it.
And that’s the worst case scenario. I just described the worst thing that could happen, which is that he plays badly. The other side of that coin, of course, is that he plays really well and guides Florida to a shocking victory over Ole Miss in the Swamp. Or even that he plays really well in defeat, which I’m also OK with (because again, this is a cross-division game).
In any case, the ball is in your hands, Willy Goat. Show us what you’ve got against one of the nation’s best teams.