Grier learning to deal with adversity

Jim McElwain could see the frustration starting to build in Will Grier on Saturday.

Two of the quarterback’s passes were dropped in the first quarter of the Orange and Blue Debut. In his first opportunity to impress the Florida fan base, the redshirt freshman was accurate but started to get frustrated when the statistics didn’t show that early in the game.

It’s nothing new to Jim McElwain when it comes to developing quarterbacks. The attention to detail and the right mentality can sometimes be what comes last. Grier admitted after the game that he needs to tune out the things he can’t control, and it continues to be a part of his maturing process.

"(It’s) not just when people drop the ball but when anything or any type of adversity happens,” Will Grier said. “When it does happen, I need to be the same steady guy all the time.”

The redshirt freshman went 8-11 for 136 yards on Saturday, and two of the three incompletions were drops. He looked poised in the pocket and was able to throw on the run, especially important when playing with the second team offense that included only one scholarship offensive lineman.

The limited numbers on the line of scrimmage were the biggest drawback to the spring for Florida. McElwain was clear on Saturday that he wasn’t happy with the amount of progress the group was able to make during the spring. Grier saw a lot of the same things and knows the offense has a lot of work to do this summer.

“There's just a lot of room for improvement,” Grier said. “A lot of things that we did good, but they just need to be better. we improved a lot if you go through from the first practice to the last and into the spring game. We really, as a whole, got a lot better. The guys just bought in and really worked hard. It was cool to kind of put it all together, but we've just got a long way to go."

The next step for that improvement comes in the individual player workouts during the offseason. The time coaches can spend with players is limited from now until the start of fall camp, which puts a bigger emphasis on the players to organize the workouts. Even though he redshirted last season and hasn’t played in a collegiate game, Grier isn’t worried about what comes with leading.

He’s still battling with Treon Harris for the starting quarterback job, but both will be heavily involved during player-run practices this summer.

“Age isn’t a factor,” Grier said. “I try to lead by example, but not only that, I think as a quarterback it comes with the position. I try my best to lead these guys in the right way and improve as much as possible.”

The Gators also went through the end of the spring without a number of playmakers. Receiver Brandon Powell was kept out because of a foot issue and tight end Jake McGee didn’t participate in live drills while he recovers from a broken leg suffered in last season’s opener.

When they were on the field for drills, Grier saw what kind of an impact they brought and thinks they can help an offense that didn’t seem to have many playmakers on Saturday.

“It’ll help a lot. They’re playmakers,” Grier said. “They’re great guys that have bought in as well. Even though they were injured and restricted a little bit, they were in the meetings and know the offense. They can make plays. It’ll be good to get them back for depth and everything else. It’ll be a big help to get them back.”

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