The Florida Gators made it through spring practice with a patchwork offensive line, two young, green quarterbacks and are still on the hunt for offensive playmakers.
It’s not the hand that Jim McElwain would have liked to be dealt, but he’s a gambling man and he’s betting on himself.
After fifteen practices we now have a better picture of how McElwain is arranging his cards to give the Gators the best chance at winning this season. Let’s take a look at the two-deep depth chart as Gator Country projects it base on spring practice.
We will only work with the players that were on campus this spring, meaning none of the incoming freshmen will be included. Given the numbers that Florida has — and the ones you’re about to see — it’s likely that several from the incoming class will be called on to play vital roles this season, but until they’re on campus it’s premature to include them.
Kicking things off will be the quarterbacks and running backs.
Starter: Will Grier
Backup: Treon Harris
This is a battle in the public eye and that is exactly what Jim McElwain wants people — especially the two quarterbacks — to think.
“No, we haven’t made a determination on that,” McElwain said of the quarterback battle following the spring game. “We’ll get back, we’ll look at the video, the guys will work this summer and come back in the fall and I’m just excited those two guys are here.”
However, after watching the open portions of practice, the spring game, and speaking with people who have seen both players during closed portions of practice, it’s clear that one quarterback is ahead. Harris, of course, missed some practice dealing with the death of his cousin, but even before that it was Grier who had shown more advancement as far as his footwork and decision making.
McElwain will continue playing this as close to the vest as possible. Florida didn’t sign a quarterback last class and they can hardly afford one of the quarterbacks transferring.
Starter: Kelvin Taylor
Backup: Adam Lane
Taylor really separated himself from the pack in this group.
“There hasn’t been a practice where he hasn’t showed up,” running back coach Tim Skipper said of Taylor. “He brings his A game every day. He lets the defense know about it. He’s one of the more talkative guys out there. He just brings a lot of energy. I enjoy coaching him. He’s here whether we’re meeting in the morning or practicing later in the evening it doesn’t matter. That kid is going after it.”
There proved to be a canyon sized gap between Taylor and the next back on our list. Adam Lane missed some spring practice this year and McElwain made it seem like Lane missing time with his injury was his decision, not one made by the trainers. Whatever the case may be, Lane missing time only widened the gap between he and Taylor and certainly didn’t make a good first impression on the new staff.