If the quarterback is the face of a team then the Florida Gators will be two faced to begin the Jim McElwain era this Saturday against New Mexico State.
Last week Jim McElwain stated that both redshirt freshman Will Grier and sophomore Treon Harris would play in the first game and that plan remains in place with just five days to go before the season kicks off.
McElwain and Doug Nussmeier had a long meeting on Sunday night with both quarterbacks, going over the gameplan for Saturday but there is still not a clear plan in place as to how the reps will be divvied up in game.
“I don’t know when we’ll determine it. We’ll go as is today. We have a prescribed amount of reps we’re going to get; they’ll split that in all the different situations again in a 58-minute practice that we have,” said McElwain on the quarterback situation. “We’ll come up with the best plan that’s going to help us be successful.”
McElwain’s past has shown that he isn’t afraid to play two quarterbacks, at first, but normally he has settled in on a definitive starter pretty quickly.
Under the lights of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday is far from the first head-to-head test the two passers have faced since spring camp began, but it will be their biggest test thus far. You simply can’t replicate the environment, the atmosphere, the butterflies and everything that goes on during a game in practice. That is why McElwain is eager to get both quarterbacks out of their non-contact jerseys and into real live game situations to see how each handles the new pressures.
McElwain and Nussmeier have been able to identify what each quarterback does well inside the system. While the downfall of a camp environment is having to guess how someone’s play in practice will translate to the field on Saturday, it does provide a large sample of how well each player has picked up on the offense as a whole and what they will be most successful running.
The Florida Gators will be a two-faced attack at quarterback on Saturday but film doesn’t lie and what each quarterback puts on film for the staff to review following the game will determine their fate the rest of the season.
I don’t think that idea is going to be uncovered until we get in a game situation,” McElwain said of how the reps will shake out during the game. “As much as you try to simulate it, there’s no experience for doing it. I think it’s going to tell us a lot when we get done and watch the video of this game.”