Maybe junior Treon Harris won’t be part of the Florida Gators‘ quarterback competition after all. Harris, who struggled to lead Florida during the latter half of the 2015 season, will be practicing at wide receiver during spring practice, according to veteran reporter Mike Huguenin of GridironNow.com.
There was little offense coming from the Florida Gators‘ side of the field over their final few games of the season, due in large part to the play of sophomore quarterback Treon Harris, an injured offensive line and a lot of youth and inexperience on that side of the ball.
Redshirt senior offensive lineman Trip Thurman, set to play in his final game in the 2016 Citrus Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines on Friday, is accepting of the criticism that Florida’s offense has received but equally disturbed by the lack of respect being paid to the Gators ahead of this contest.
Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain is rarely specific when he speaks with the media. While he may offer some praise here and there, criticisms are generally kept under wraps and those attempting to discern what he means are often forced to read between the lines of what he actually says.
So on Tuesday, when McElwain spoke ahead of the 2016 Citrus Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines, there was plenty to ask the coach but only so many answers that came back. However, if one looks closely enough, McElwain’s opinions are not that tough to discern.
The 2015 season began with promises of the Florida Gators being fixed … eventually. It was 2016 when Florida was supposed to be whole again with quarterback Will Grier entering his third year, then-new head coach Jim McElwain in his second and the coach’s first full recruiting class set to join the program.
My how things can change over four months.
Grier’s emergence came to fruition … only for the player to get suspended for a full year by the NCAA and then decide to transfer from the program. McElwain had the Gators’ offense humming under Grier as Florida rolled to a 9-1 start … only to be manhandled in back-to-back games as the offense appeared as inept as it was under Will Muschamp.
Still, the Gators exceeded expectations in 2015, which means they will only be greater for Florida and its now-veteran coach in 2016. And before UF even settled in to practice for Michigan ahead of the 2016 Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, the team was focused on what it will look like next season.
Starting defensive end Alex McCalister, who has been sidelined with a foot injury for the last month, has been dismissed from the Florida Gators for a violation of team rules, according to The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu.
Just days after head coach Jim McElwain said at a media availability that he expected redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier to rejoin the Florida Gators on Jan. 5, 2016, ahead of spring practice, Grier will instead transfer from the program.
According to Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman, Grier “met with the [coaching] staff last week” about his decision. OnlyGators.com confirmed Grier’s departure via team sources, and the team announced the move later Saturday.
“Will came to me about exploring his options to transfer. We will support him and help him in [any way] we can. This has been very difficult on him and obviously he is looking for a fresh start. We will always be there for him as will all Gators,” McElwain said in a statement.
No. 18 Florida Gators football is in the process of preparing for its first Southeastern Conference Championship Game appearance since 2009 when it meets the No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide at 4 p.m. on Saturday in Atlanta, Georgia.
Head coach Jim McElwain met with the media early in the week to provide some updates on his team as it prepares for its toughest test of the season.
To appreciate where the Florida Gators will stand Saturday – on the field of the Georgia Dome preparing to square off against the best team in the Southeastern Conference (if not college football) in the league’s title game – one has to remember how Florida started the season.
The Gators did not have a starting quarterback, nor did it look like they had the offensive talent to truly compete against top-tier opponents. Hell, the team didn’t even have a kicker. Except head coach Jim McElwain developed a star signal caller in a matter of weeks, turned a three-star freshman into the team’s best pass-catcher, injected life into a dormant tight end position, turned a walk-on kicker into a scholarship performer and somehow made a Frankenstein offensive line work – at least most weeks.
Florida did not sneak into Saturday’s SEC Championship via tiebreaker; it worked and earned this spot by sweeping the SEC East and routing Ole Miss 38-10 to go 6-1 in league play.