Rare has it been for Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain to compliment one of his young starting quarterback contenders without throwing some love the way of the other. That trend continued Monday.
After noting that Sunday’s two-a-day practices were “as good a back-to-back practices as he’s ever seen,” McElwain explained that quarterback play “probably had something to do with” the success though he was not sure the defense had itself a great day.
“At the same time, I thought that there was some real spark there. I thought Treon [Harris] did a great job in the red area, and we added an extra different pace to practice. I thought he handled that really well as we moved forward,” McElwain began.
“Will [Grier] had a really good two-minute [drill] in the morning, and I thought that his team move-the-field was really good. As we got to the exotic period, both guys handled that pretty good. And in the sudden change, which is something we’re really working on, from a defensive standpoint as well, I thought they did a really good job there.”
McElwain then turned his basketball-reference switch on, noting that the Gators’ offense is beginning to “make some free throws and make some open layups” (gimmies like short passes) but still struggling to drain three-pointers. “Right now, at least we’re stroking the ball pretty decent.”
Pressed further, McElwain detailed how practice has been split up between Harris and Grier. The sophomore and redshirt freshman, respectively, have “been splitting” reps with every group. They’ve both had good and bad days, leading him to “feel comfortable with both of them.” In other words, as one would expect him to say publicly, they’re even. (Whether that’s truly the case privately is another thing altogether.)
Ultimately, though, a decision will have to be made. “What I want to do is, I want to see them take ownership,” he said.
Whether that decision comes before the first – or even second – game? That remains to be seen, too. McElwain is not against working things out from a roster standpoint early in the season.
“In the first couple games, there’s still gonna be some experimentation,” he admitted Monday. “Believe me, every day someone’s job is at stake, and that’s where you hope the competition keeps getting better each practice.”