The quarterback battle between sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier that has engulfed the Florida Gator football program ever since Jim McElwain took over and former starter Jeff Driskel decided to transfer has yet to be decided.
The first two games ended up as de facto extended scrimmages, an extension of fall camp for the qb’s and a chance for coach Mac and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to further evaluate the two passers.
Seemingly, neither quarterback has taken the job. Both have done some good things and done some not-so-good things. Neither has done much that would be considered great or has the “wow” factor.
Despite that fact, The Monday Morning Quarterback believes it’s time to name a “permanent” starter.
While it’s understood there is no permanence in a starting quarterback job, the backup is always the most popular guy on the team when the team struggles, it’s clear that somebody needs to be declared “The Guy”.
Continuity on offense is non-existent as long as they continue to rotate players.
The quarterback position is unlike any other spot on the field. He is not just an athlete who makes plays with his arm and his feet.
He’s a field general.
He makes the calls on the field, he makes decisions before and after the snap, he hands off the football, and he throws passes.
Huddle demeanor is important and every guy is different. Some guys are loud and vocal, almost a coach on the field. Some are quieter with a softer voice and hesitant nature.
The players around him are dependent upon the quarterback on every play to make sure they get the correct play call, are clear in where they line up, and understand their role.
Having one guy provides consistency for the offensive players. Rotating players creates a higher likelihood that mistakes are made in assignments and a different cadence can easily create false start penalties.
The handoff, which many take for granted as a mundane part of the offensive action, is highly important. It’s like a dance. It requires some level of coordination.
Where the quarterback meets the running back, where he places the football, how quickly the transfer is made, and the force applied all determined the difference between a successful handoff, which gives the back optimal opportunity to make a play, and a turnover.
The Gators turned the ball over against East Carolina in a QB-RB exchange on Saturday evening. While seemingly everyone but coach Mac placed the blame on the running back Mark Herndon, it shows the importance of getting that right and giving one guy the opportunity to play creates continuity in this area.
Finally every quarterback throws a different ball. His arm strength is different, his throwing motion is different, and he throws at a different trajectory, and he puts different touch on his throws.
For receivers, platooning quarterbacks forces them to get used to two different guys doing two different things in the areas mentioned above. This can be confusing and create issues for receivers.
A quick-out that might come in high on average by one QB might come in low or outside from another. A pass that might’ve been fired on a rope by one QB might float in an arc by another.
Quarterback-receiver play requires coordination. There’s timing and rhythm on every throw that determines success or failure. Naming a starter will create more cohesion on offense and more continuity.
It will also allow receivers to focus more on their routes and catching the football and create more reacting and less thinking.
So that leads us to who should be the starter.
It’s easy to say a starter should be named but at this point much harder to say who that should be.
For sure, both guys bring different things to the table.
Grier is taller with a stronger arm, is more decisive in the pocket, is quicker in his progressions, and is a better runner.
Harris plays safer, is more mobile in the pocket, throws a better deep ball, and throws better on the run.
Grier tends to lock in on a receiver missing better options at times and sometimes head-scratchingly makes bad decisions.
Harris holds the ball too long, is often late on throws, and floats balls that need more zip.
The Monday Morning Quarterback believes that Grier is the better QB long term and is the future for the Gators at the position.
As such, he should be named the permanent starter this week heading into the Kentucky game.
That’s not to say that Grier will light it up this season and lead them to a championship. In fact, with a problematic offensive line, Harris might very well give the Gators a better chance to win this season with his ability to throw outside the pocket and his penchant for playing close to the vest.
However, for all intents and purposes this is a rebuilding year. This team has zero chance of competing for a championship and, as such, they should prepare for the future. This means Will Grier should get the majority of first team snaps in practice as well as in live game action.
What say you?
I’m The Monday Morning Quarterback and I’m out!