So how will it look for a new head coach? There’s still plenty of talent left for whoever gets the job in Gainesville.
The first domino that needs to fall here is Jeff Driskel. His return next season is up in the air. He still has another year of eligibility and could return to Florida for the 2015 season, or he could decide to move on. Driskel was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 MLB Draft and was an impressive baseball player in high school.
He could return to the football team and try to win the starting job back for his senior season, but don’t be surprised if he isn’t back in Gainesville next year.
The two had a battle for the backup job in the offseason and Harris won it, forcing Grier into a redshirt. The backup job turned into a starting gig for Harris when Driskel couldn’t stop turning the football over, and the freshman started the final five games of the season.
Harris ended the regular season 50-100 through the air for 896 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also Florida’s third leading rusher with 291 yards and three touchdowns. When he took over under center, the Gators didn’t need spectacular play at quarterback. They just needed someone that wouldn’t turn the ball over, and that’s exactly the role Harris filled.
He was solid but not spectacular. Completing only 50 percent of his passes won’t be good enough next season, and it would’ve ranked 13th in the Southeastern Conference if Harris had enough attempts to qualify. The running game opened up shots down the field, but Harris wasn’t consistent enough in hitting them.
If he wants to be the starting quarterback under a new coach next season, Harris has to improve his accuracy.
The upside is high for Grier. Listed at 6-2, 200 pounds going into the season, Grier has the height preferred at the position but still poses the running threat that Harris does. He needs to add weight and has spent time doing that this fall, but it will again be a focus for him going into the offseason. He has to gain weight to handle what comes with playing quarterback in the SEC.
The arm talent is not a question. Grier showcased a strong arm during spring and fall practices, and he wasn’t afraid to take shots down the field. The freshman threw especially well on the run. However, his accuracy struggled in the open practices. When his throws were inaccurate, they were often high. That won’t cut it if he wants to start next season, especially on throws over the middle of the field.
Skyler Mornhinweg will be a redshirt junior next season and likely will spend the year as the third string quarterback. He was forced to play when Driskel and Tyler Murphy got hurt during the 2013 season, and the offense was limited. Mornhinweg’s ability to throw limited what the Gators could do in games. He looked improved in open practices going into the 2014 season, but Grier and Harris are safer bets to produce more on the field.