Will Grier looks to have slight edge in Florida Gators quarterback battle with Treon Harris

By Adam Silverstein
April 12, 2015

Taking the Florida Gators2015 Orange & Blue Debut at face value, considering head coach Jim McElwain’s post-game comments and reading between the lines a bit, it is not hard to see that redshirt freshman Will Grier has a leg up on sophomore Treon Harris in the team’s starting quarterback tug-of-war.

Grier, who opened Saturday’s spring game as the starter on the Orange team (which was comprised of first-team offensive players), looked poised in the pocket and decisive with his throws.

In fact, the only criticism McElwain tossed on Grier after the contest was displeasure over the signal caller getting frustrated when three perfectly-thrown balls were dropped by his pass catchers.

“I thought Will let a few of the drops kind of bother him,” McElwain said. “He’s got to learn: clap it off, come back and win the next play.”

Grier took McElwain’s comments to heart, noting that he is aware improvement is needed in that area but that his frustration was more internal, despite him showing it externally.

“When any type of adversity happens – because it does happen – I just need to be the same steady guy all the time. It wasn’t frustration that the receiver dropped the ball necessarily or anything like that. It was more just me wanting to be successful and be perfect in every aspect because I wasn’t perfect by any means today,” he explained. “[I need to] just not show that, not show any emotion and just keep it going.”

Grier’s also had a leg up on Harris in practice even before the latter quarterback was forced to miss four sessions while in Miami mourning the unfortunate death of his 16-year-old cousin. The narrow margin between the two was even tighter before he was unavoidably absent those days.

McElwain noted that Grier and Harris took the same number of snaps with the Orange (first) team on Saturday. Each did attempt nine passes on that squad, but Grier certainly looked like the more polished of the two signal callers, and he was not criticized nearly as much as Harris was after the scrimmage.

“For the most part, the quarterbacks did OK,” McElwain said.

“Treon’s got to understand the sense of urgency the closer you get down in the red zone. He’s slow with his feet. He’s got to get his feet set, ball out. Those are attention-to-detail things that help you be successful to play the position, and yet, he did some good things.”

McElwain later added: “There’s a lot of those details in the pass game that, from that position, need to get better. It showed today. It showed in practice. This was another teachable moment, which is great, because he’s got some great skills and some natural leadership ability, as [does] Will.”

Much was also made of comments McElwain made at halftime of the Gators’ spring game to the SEC Network’s Shannon Spake. McElwain made a similar criticism of Harris, only to note afterward that “Will did a pretty good job” in the area where Harris struggled.

As it stands now, McElwain claims he is nowhere near ready to name a starting quarterback, and it is unlikely that he will until Florida gets at least midway through fall practice when doing so will give that starter the additional snaps he needs to prepare for the 2015 season.

Grier and Harris, who refer to each other as brothers, will just have to keep tugging back and forth until one of them ultimately comes out on top. The key will be the Gators making the loser of that struggle understand that, especially with Florida’s thin and inexperienced offensive line, there could very well be opportunities for both to see the field this year.


  1. Alex says:

    Harris had the best looking driive of the game.

    I would stick with the kid that already experienced the harsh reality of the SEC and actually played against real competition in High School.

    We gators have a tendency of always anointing the next guy as the savior and look where that has landed us

    • Michael Jones says:

      Yeah, I think that even if Will Grier outplays Harris and is clearly the better QB, that Harris should still be named the starter because of his H.S. competition. I think that’s all that really matters. . not which guy is better, but which guy played against better H.S. competition.


  2. Ken (CA) says:

    I DVR the game because it came on at a weird time here and haven’t watched it yet, but based on the highlights, they both seemed to throw “catchable” deep balls on occasion, but they didn’t seem particularly accurate. none of them hit the receivers in stride and allowed for any YAC. Hopeful, but not expecting too much, especially when they get up with a thin OLINE against a deep SEC defense. even though the schedule is a bit easier this year than last, I think going .500 would be a good first season with all the holes they have, no matter how much talent WM insists he left.

  3. Lawdog88 says:

    I would stick with any guy who shows he can win with the hand dealt him.

    Before any person became a success, they were either not successful after having tried before, or they are inexperienced and haven’t tried anything.

    Some people have the “it” factor, and can respond under pressure on the big stage, and some don’t.

    We won’t know what we’ve got until both of these kids work through the fall, and in Grier’s case, until he gets some SEC game experience.

    Then, we’ll know. Until then, I reserve judgment on who should be annointed.

  4. Aligator says:

    This seems like the same brotherly competition we saw a few years ago that got us stuck with Driskel. Let’s hope that is Grier wins this he is a better QB than Driskel and that when Treon leaves, not if, if he does lose this battle that he doesn’t end up being a regret.

  5. Michael Jones says:

    It was easy to see that at this point Grier is the better college QB. Not even close. Treon is a good football player, though, and I expect that both players will help us win football games.

    I see no comparisons AT ALL between Driskel and Brisett and not sure why some of you think that it’s automatic that whoever doesn’t win the starting QB job is going to transfer to another school, or which schools you think would be knocking down their door. Is that the way it is now? Whoever doesn’t win the battle for 1st string at their position transfers to another school? So that each college only has 22 players on their roster??

    Ha ha. . you guys crack me up. . already in midseason form, lol.

  6. 305Gator says:

    Agree with MJ above, just because Brisset transferred after he lost the competition to Driskel doesn’t mean the loser of this one will follow suit.
    Still too early to tell who will come out on top.
    Go Gators.

  7. HoneyBee says:

    Remember, Harris beat out Grier last Fall as the back up QB. Keep in mind, Grier was an early enrollee and participated in extra practices. I wonder if Grier was hurt which is why he might have lost the battle last season? From my observation of Saturday’s game, I think the competition is neck and neck but, Harris has the talent to show greater improvement with the right pay calling and coach. I noticed he corrected his mistakes from the first half to have a successful scoring drive in the last quarter. He kudzu needs to work on accuracy.

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