GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Florida’s quarterback competition will stretch into the season.
New Gators coach Jim McElwain said Thursday that sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier will both play in the team’s Sept. 5 season opener against New Mexico State.
“It will play itself out,” said McElwain, who has not named a starter. “Like I’ve said, and I mean this, you guys keep pushing for this, but there isn’t a timetable. 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.
“By no means am I displeased with what they’re doing. But we still need to see in live action how the people around them, how they elevate the play of the people around them.”
Harris started the final six games last season, completing 49.5 percent of his passes for 1,019 yards, with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 338 yards and three scores after replacing ineffective starter Jeff Driskel.
Grier, one of the top high school prospects in 2013, missed all of last season after injuring his lower back lifting weights.
McElwain has a history of using two quarterbacks early in the season before settling on one starter.
And he plans to do the same at Florida.
“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. At the same time, that’s kind of a goal every week, to play as many guys at as many positions as we can, especially early in the year to see the response when they’re in live action.”
McElwain was hired in part to turn around one of the Southeastern Conference’s most pedestrian passing games. Florida ranked 114th, 107th and 104th in passing yards the last three years, and McElwain has a history of offensive prowess.
For now, he wants to see more from Harris and Grier. Neither has stood out in practice or two scrimmages, so McElwain wants to see how they perform under the lights in front of nearly 90,000 fans.
Harris and Grier have very different styles. Harris has scrambling ability, and Grier is considered more a of a pocket passer.
“In each guy’s case, there might be two or three (plays) that might be the same on their call list,” McElwain said. “Yet there might be another three or four that are different, so you know what, you’re going to lean in this situation on this guy because it’s really something he’s comfortable with, which might not be the same on the other list. You get a great feel for their execution of certain concepts and then feed it from there.”
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