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Who Will Emerge as Florida’s Starting Quarterback?

The Florida Gators had the second worst offense in the SEC. The Gators had 4,411 total yards in 2015, which ranked thirteenth in the conference.

Florida averaged 367.6 yards per game and a 36.46 third down conversion rate, ranking twelfth in both categories.

New head coach Jim McElwain, a former offensive coordinator, made an offensive improvement the main focus of spring practice. He called the team’s changes “a work in progress” during the team’s spring practices in April.

“It took a while [there],” McElwain said. “Let’s face it, there’s parts [to the offense] and we’re identifying the parts and we’ll put some plans together to help the explosive playmakers have an opportunity to make those plays. That’s for us to come up with after we go back through and go through every single cut-up of every practice. It’s amazing what you see when you do that; see how guys get better to details. … There’s a lot of left to do.”

The Gators’ passing offense was its biggest flaw. Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel struggled through his first four starts and was benched in the team’s fifth game against Tennessee.

True freshman Treon Harris spent the remainder of the season as the team’s starter. Harris went 4-4 as a starter and finished with a 146.21 passer rating. However, he averaged an abysmal 45.5 completion percentage and was incapable of taking snaps under center.

Harris will compete with redshirt freshman Will Grier for the starting role in 2015. Grier was as a four-star high school prospect who ranked as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in 2014.

The two quarterbacks both participated in Florida’s spring game and had similar performances. Harris went 6-of-10 for 94 yards and a touchdown. Grier went 8-of-11 for 136 yards.

McElwain is expected to decide on a starter before fall camp. The first year head coach confirmed that Grier holds an early advantage while speaking to reporters in April.

“You know, obviously Will’s ahead simply because he’s been here more,” McElwain said. “It’s unclear if that pecking order remains the summer as falls draws nearer.”

Bleacher Report’s Barrett Sallee also weighed in on the odds of each quarterback starting for Florida in 2015:

Player Year Odds
Will Grier Freshman (RS) 9-2
Treon Harris Sophomore 7-1
Josh Grady Senior 20-1
Jacob Guy Junior (RS) 25-1

Grier is likely to be the starter in 2015. He is the perfect fit for a McElwain offense as an accurate passer capable of completing short and intermediate passes.

The redshirt freshman has the talent to succeed but enters with a lack of in-game experience.

“There’s a lot of the playbook that still needs to be opened, a lot of things that we can do that we didn’t. We’re not necessarily extremely sharp right now,” Grier said. “A lot of things that we just need more work on, more reps. We can get those things cleaned up and, moving forward, be really good. I’m really encouraged by the guys just buying in and working and really caring about this. We’ve got a lot of potential to do really well.”

Grier provides the best opportunity for Florida to make an offensive improvement in 2015. He should win the quarterback competition in fall camp and will hold the position through the season barring an injury.

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