McElwain notes: Gators will mix quarterbacks

Florida coach Jim McElwain knew both of his quarterbacks would play in Saturday’s season opener. Finding the best way to do that is the challenge.

The staff held a long meeting at the football facility on Sunday night and met again to address the subject on Monday morning. They’re still trying to figure out what the best way is to plan Will Grier and Treon Harris on Saturday against New Mexico State.

The plan was to continue splitting reps on the offensive side of the ball in practice to make sure both were ready for Saturday.

“They’ll split that in all the different situations again in a 58-minute practice that we have,” McElwain said. “We’ll come up with the best plan that’s going to help us be successful.”

McElwain said throughout the fall that he would sit down with his quarterbacks during game week and get a feeling for which plays they like better than the other quarterbacks. It gives the coaches a good feel for what plays have a better chance to work than others.

There’s also the likelihood that some plays will work better for one quarterback than the others. Harris’ athleticism allows him to create different problems for an opposing defense for Grier.

“I don’t think that idea is going to be uncovered until we get in a game situation,” McElwain said. “As much as you try to simulate it, there’s no experience for doing it. I think it’s going to tell us a lot when we get done and watch the video of this game.”

WORKING THE OFFENSIVE LINE: Martez Ivey (knee scope) was expected to be out on Saturday but McElwain said there’s still a chance he could play. However, the coaches will have to get creative and play different groups on the line as they try to find the best group going forward.

The depth chart had Mason Halter at left tackle, Trip Thurman at left guard, Cam Dillard at center, Antonio Riles at right guard and David Sharpe at right tackle. McElwain cautioned that no one should look too much into the depth chart since they’ll be mixing and matching on the offensive line as the staff tries to find the best mix up front.

“That’s a position we’ve talked about it in depth all through camp, trying to find those eight or nine pieces and exactly what the best ones are in combination,” McElwain said. “You’re going to see a lot of rotation in there as we go through this game. Trying to make sure that the five best communicate with each other to get the point across. It’s one of the things as you know from the get go was key for us, both offensively and defensively, was the communication factor. The more those guys work together, the better that becomes. It’ll be interesting to see the combinations and see what works out best.”

PLAYING NINE RECEIVERS: There are six receivers listed on the depth chart, but McElwain said they’ll target nine receivers to play in each game. Ahmad Fulwood, Brandon Powell and Demarcus Robinson are listed as the three starters at receiver, but they’re not afraid to rotate through the group early in the season to find the best group possible.

“I would say probably we’ll play nine, though. I don’t know,” McElwain said. “There’s going to be a rotation set. I don’t know what it’s been in the past.

Powell and Robinson looked like the two best receivers for Florida during fall camp. However, Fulwood is another that will have a bigger role under the new staff this fall. He has shown signs that a breakout season this fall is possible but McElwain still sees a long way to do.

“He’s shown glimpses of it,” McElwain said. “I’d like to see that he plays 6-foot-3 rather than 5-foot-8 at times. Go up and get the ball. Be aggressive in the air. Don’t take no for an answer. There’s a lot of things that we need to do and establish in that group from the standpoint of an aggressive nature in which you play the position.”


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