Jim McElwain updates Florida’s quarterback situation
With Florida’s game against East Carolina set for Saturday night, the Gators won’t name a starting quarterback. Instead, coach Jim McElwain said he expects to use a game plan similar to the one against New Mexico State, with quarterbacks Will Grier and Treon Harris rotating series.
“We’re going to basically do the same thing,” McElwain said Wednesday. “Which guy is going to trot out there first, we’re going to visit after tonight’s practice, but it will be very similar.”
Grier and Harris created little separation between them for the starting quarterback role, but McElwain doesn’t see that as a problem. He likes the progress both have made, and said he could envision the Gators using multiple quarterbacks throughout the season.
“I’m looking for consistency in performance at all positions, not just the quarterback spot,” McElwain said. “(Grier and Harris) were OK in the last game. They weren’t great. It wasn’t earth-shattering by any stretch of the imagination. They’ve got to get a ton better. I look for them to hopefully take another step this week.”
That step apparently wasn’t taken Wednesday, and McElwain didn’t hold back his frustration. He said the quarterbacks made several poor decisions when the offense was practicing red-zone situations. The first-year Florida coach repeated “you don’t get do-overs” on poor throws, not even during mid-week practice.
“If you want me to call it out, we had two late throws in the red area today. It can’t happen,” McElwain said. “We had one late (throw) over the middle that’s gonna get intercepted. That’s unacceptable. And those are things that kill you, the unacceptable behavior, when you know better.”
Pittman not back yet: For the fifth game in his career, senior wide receiver Latroy Pittman was suspended and unable to contribute to the Gators. After initially calling it a one-game suspension, Pittman figured to be back in UF’s offense this week.
Not so fast, McElwain said. The Ocala native still has to earn his way back.
“He’s got a little time to go,” McElwain said. “It’s about earning your way back, doing what’s right every single day.”
McElwain wants Pittman to make the most of his final season at Florida, and apparently he hasn’t been doing the right things in his time away from the team. Like sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, who was moved to third-team offense on the depth chart after reportedly missing team dinner on Sunday night, Pittman will have to earn his playing time.
Injury update: McElwain said Wednesday that highly touted freshman left tackle Martez Ivey “is probably still a week away, however he’s done great and should be back ready to go.” Ivey reportedly had a slight meniscus tear that would require 2-4 weeks of recovery time, but McElwain said Ivey might get some time on the practice field Thursday.
Junior cornerback Keanu Neal returned to practice today after missing the season opener with a leg injury suffered in the final scrimmage of fall camp. … Linebacker Matt Rolin remains out with an undisclosed injury. … Florida’s defense will receive a boost with the return of suspended starters Alex McCalister and Marcus Maye. McElwain said he hoped seeing that the Gators’ defense adjusted well without them would “put a little fire in their tank.”
Story by Graham Hall of the Palm Beach Post