Closing out any uncertainty regarding the Florida Gators quarterback situation Jim McElwain made it clear that both Treon Harris and Will Grier will play in the first game of the season against New Mexico State on September 5.
“What you hope to do is go out there with a good performance and get a lot of guys reps,” McElwain said. “We’ve got to go out and figure out how we’re going to win a football game against a team that’s going to come in and be real hungry to show us who they are.”
The fact that neither Grier nor Harris has been able to pull away and create separation in more than 20 practices in the spring and fall could raise eyebrows and concern among fans. Harris had to miss several practices following the death of a cousin in the spring and Grier was able to pull ahead in the race at that time. Ideally, you would like to see one of the two young passers grab the proverbial bull by the horns and take the job. While neither quarterback is lighting the world on fire in practice, that doesn’t mean McElwain is discouraged with what he’s seen out of his two young quarterbacks.
“By no means am I displeased with what they’re doing,” said McElwain. “We still need to see in live action how the people around them, how they elevate the play of the people around them.”
There are certain things about playing Division I college football that you simply can’t replicate on the practice field. There aren’t 90,000 screaming fans, television cameras and opposing defensive linemen trying to take your head off at practice.
Florida Gators fans have seen what Harris can do on Saturday, starting with leading a comeback last year in Knoxville to beat Tennessee 10-9, but they don’t know how Grier will handle the spotlight. Fortunately, the schedule makers were kind to Florida and they’ll have two safe games — if need be — to give the quarterbacks real scenarios where, hopefully, one will shine above the other and grab the starting job for good.
It will play itself out. Like I’ve said, and I mean this, you guys keep pushing for this, but there isn’t a timetable,” McElwain said. “The timetable is figure out a way to win the football game with whoever is moving the team at that position and getting the right parts at the other positions as well.”