There are 74 days until football season.
It’s a number that seems so small, yet the college football kickoff is still so far away. With that in mind, Gator Country will begin to break down the two-deep depth chart. We’ll do so with knowledge that the freshmen class will report on the 22nd of this month and could shake things up.
We’ll breakdown what the two-deep depth chart looks like now and make predictions as to which players are on the outside looking in but have a chance to shake things up with a strong offseason and fall camp.
The two deep: Jeff Driskel (R-Jr.), Skyler Mornhinweg ( R-So.)
The rest: Will Grier (Fr.), Treon Harris (Fr.)
This is Jeff Driskel’s job. That was made abundantly clear when spring practice was pushed back to make sure that Driskel would be able to be a full participant. Will Muschamp and his staff like to create position battles and leave starting roles up to how players perform in practice and in games — and they have done that at quarterback before — but not at quarterback this season.
Driskel is finally in an offense that suits his skill set. Driskel was recruited to run Urban Meyer’s spread offense but enrolled just months after Will Muschamp took the job and vowed to bring a pro-style offense with him. Driskel struggled to adapt to two different offensive coordinators in his first three seasons but finally has a coordinator whose offense fits the quarterback’s strengths and hides his weaknesses.
If Driskel can stay healthy, he will be the quarterback the entire season.
Currently, Skyler Mornhinweg is the No. 2 guy here. However, we saw Will Grier take more snaps from Mornhinweg as spring practice went on.
That said; don’t expect to see Grier play this season unless it is due to an injury to Driskel.
If Driskel were to go down, expect to see Grier take over the starting job and Mornhinweg slide down the depth chart.
The wild card in this scenario is Treon Harris. Florida was fortunate to land Harris after getting in on his recruitment late. Harris is a supremely talented and athletic quarterback who should be able to get on the field early. That, of course, will depend on how he is able to adjust to the speed of the college game and learn a new play book. Playing in his favor is the fact that Harris has played big-time high school football in Miami, leading Booker T. Washington High School to two-consecutive state championships and a mythical high school national championship.
He’s a coaches son, which typically translates to a higher football IQ, having grown up around the game and in locker rooms.
The ideal situation for Florida would be for Driskel to stay healthy for the entire season — something he has yet to do in his career — have Grier redshirt (creating separation on the depth chart between he and Harris) and to have some packages for Harris.
Last season, Roper used a two-quarterback system where Anthony Boone threw 68% of the passes, while Brandon Connette threw 31%. Connette was the bigger running threat and carried the ball 101 times to Boone’s 66 attempts.
If Driskel were to stay healthy, expect a similar split with Driskel and Harris — maybe an 80/20 split rather than the 70/30 that Boone and Connette enjoyed last season.
There would be a disaster plan that would involve Grier. Grier is a talented quarterback and, according to Roper, has already bulked up about 15 pounds since he arrived on campus, but he would still benefit from a redshirt season.
If Jeff Driskel were to go down, expect Grier and Harris to split the quarterback duties moving forward with a 60/40 or almost 50/50 split with Grier earning the start and Harris coming in as a change of pace.
One thing is certain, 2013 was a learning experience. Florida was ill prepared to have Driskel go down and they won’t let that happen again. Florida will have all of their backup quarterbacks up to speed by opening day and they will make sure even the freshmen are ready to answer the call if need be.
In a perfect world, Driskel would stay healthy and thrive in Roper’s offense. If Gator fans learned anything in 2013 it was that the world isn’t perfect, life isn’t fair and even a scooter accident can take a player off the field.
The difference between 2013 and 2014 is Florida is better equipped to handle injuries, at least at the quarterback position.