Florida is now just 12 days away from kicking off the Jim McElwain era, but the new Head Gator has yet to pick a QB.
Even though one has been playing substantially better than the other.
It’s getting a little redundant to keep writing about how Will Grier is tearing it up at practice, but because of the way McElwain keeps saying the QB race is in the air, it’s worth repeating again. Treon Harris has by no means played horribly, but he’s inconsistent and just not as good as Grier. Or conversely, Grier has just looked better than Harris.
So, why does McElwain keep putting off the decision? I’ve guessed before that he’s scared Grier will develop a big head and get cocky if he just names him the starter outright, and I still believe that’s the answer. It’s really not a stretch, when you think about it. Grier enjoyed a big high school career, he’s the brother of Vine star Nash Grier and now he’s a (redshirt) newcomer stealing the show. Is it so farfetched to believe that naming him the starter in the middle of fall camp would create a sense of complacency and entitlement? I’m not saying it will or won’t happen, but it’s a legitimate thought process.
It’s also the only reason I can think of, because while Grier started off hot, he’s maintained that level of play- and then some.
Grier’s arm is not the strongest arm in college football, but it’s still a pretty powerful one; more than good enough to throw an accurate ball up to 50 yards down the field. When he hasn’t had wide receivers open in practices, he’s thrown them open by leading them perfectly. His accuracy also comes in handy with swing passes and checkdown options, both of which need to be on the money to give the receiver the chance to gain some more yards by running after the catch (if he’s open enough to). And while the big plus with Harris is his mobility, Grier’s got some wheels, too. I wouldn’t want him running the option against LSU, but if the coverage blankets his receivers and the blocking breaks down, he’s plenty capable of taking off and picking up some yards on the ground.
Harris, for his part, has looked fine, if in spots. He has some good days, and some not so good days. The not so good days include chunking passes into the ground, overthrowing receivers by a few feet and making the wrong reads. But he has been doing a lot better lately, according to McElwain and a few other people I talk to. And his good days really are good; he demonstrates a solid understanding of his receivers’ routes, sometimes throwing the ball just before they make their break and putting it right where the receiver expects it to be while the defender is only just reacting to his move.
But if McElwain is smart- and I think he is- he’ll hold off on naming a starter for at least another week, to really push Grier and keep him humbled.
Meanwhile, Florida has christened its brand spanking new Indoor Practice Facility, aka the IPF, with a practice on Saturday. There is now a 100% chance of practice at the University of Florida. Or, in other words, in all kinds of weather, we’ll practice together… in Florida’s new IPF. It looks really top notch, comparable to those of NFL teams and other top colleges.
What was that about the Gators not having top tier facilities again, Muschamp?