X

Why This Is the Most Important Week of Florida's Fall QB Battle

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterAugust 11, 2015

Florida QB Will Grier
Florida QB Will GrierKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Not all quarterback battles are created equally.

For some teams in certain situations, prolonged battles are acceptable based on learning curve, early-season schedule and similar contenders vying for the job. For others, a quick resolution goes a long way toward a successful season.

Consider Florida part of the group that could benefit from a quick decision.

Early in fall camp, first-year head coach Jim McElwain said the battle between true sophomore dual-threat Treon Harris and redshirt freshman pro-style passer Will Grier is close through one week, according to Landon Watnick of Rivals.com:

Landon Watnick @LandonWatnick

No separation between the QBs, per McElwain. They've had shining moments, others head-scratchers http://t.co/7hq1tZv4Ij

"If you’re asking is there separation yet, I haven’t really seen it. But I will say this: their command is what I’ve been really happy with," McElwain said, according to Scott Carter of GatorZone.com. "They both have had really shining moments. They’ve both had some moments where you kind of scratch your head and wonder where that came from."

The Gators will scrimmage Friday, according to Watnick, which makes this the most important week of the Florida quarterback battle.

The primary goal for McElwain and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is to establish what Florida's offensive identity will be this year. That identity could vary greatly depending on who is taking the snaps and, more importantly, how much trust the offensive line earns from the coaching staff.

Florida QB Treon Harris
Florida QB Treon HarrisKim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It's clear McElwain wants to instill his pro-style system in the Gators program, but considering the uncertainty of the offensive line, it might be best for the 2015 Gators to write it in pencil this year rather than ink.

If the offensive line can't protect and opposing defensive fronts are teeing off on the quarterback, he might be best served to put a guy back there who can move like Harris and try to become more multidimensional within the running game rather than putting a big emphasis on stretching the field deep.

Florida QBs Will Grier (front) and Treon Harris (back)
Florida QBs Will Grier (front) and Treon Harris (back)Phil Sandlin/Associated Press

Instead of ripping the old system off like a Band-Aid, the staff might have to transition slowly, which could give Harris a great shot at winning the job.

However it plays out, it's something that needs to be decided quickly.

An offensive identity has been Florida's version of Sasquatch or a unicorn since 2011. It's been a figment of the imagination of Gator fans. 

That needs to change, despite the fact that the schedule sets up in a way that might suggest the Gators could ease into it.

Florida doesn't need to be great this year in order to compete with the SEC's big boys. As was the case under former head coach Will Muschamp, the defense will keep them in virtually every game. If the Gators can focus on a few things they do well offensively, that's all the identity they need. 

That identity needs to develop in fall camp and be perfected early in the season so that the Gators can hit their SEC schedule running at Kentucky and vs. Tennessee in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively.

Choosing a quarterback is the first step in establishing that identity.

Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com. Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93 XM 208.

Follow Barrett on Twitter: @BarrettSallee.

🚨 SPORTS NEWS ➡️ YOUR INBOX

The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.