September 4, 2015

Florida Gators

   Inside Slant | Notes, Quotes | Strategy and Personnel |

  Florida coach Jim McElwain hasn't decided on a starting quarterback for Saturday's season-opener against New Mexico State.

But whether sophomore QB Treon Harris or redshirt freshman QB Will Grier is under center, the first-year Florida coach has made the gameplan clear.

"We want to discover some explosive playmakers and really stretch the field," McElwain said. "One of the things we've stressed is trying to put the ball down the field vertically and not worry as much horizontally."

McElwain said he's still installing a plan on how to play both quarterbacks in the season opener. Neither one created enough separation during camp to win the starting job. Harris started six games for the Gators last season, completing 55 of 111 passes for 1,019 yards with 9 TDs and 4 interceptions. Grier, the Parade National Player of the Year in 2013, sat out last season and played on the scout team.

"We have a prescribed amount of reps we're going to get," McElwain said. "They'll split that in all the different situations again in a 58-minute practice that we have. We'll come up with the best plan that's going to help us be successful."

Florida fans have been clamoring for a more wide-open offense that was lacking during the Will Muschamp era. The Gators ranked 93rd or lower in total offense during Muschamp's four seasons as UF coach. At Colorado State last season, McElwain guided an offense that ranked eighth in the nation in passing offense and 18th in total offense out of 125 FBS schools.

"The passing game can be as good as we want it to be with all the parts working," Florida senior tight end Jake McGee said. "I really just think moving the chains is, if we end up getting some points, whether it's 10 five-yard passes or one long pass, it doesn't matter to me."

McElwain admitted there will probably be some butterflies coaching in his first game at The Swamp. The Gators enter the game as a 34-point favorite against a New Mexico State team that's gone 5-31 over its last three seasons.

"The day you don't get butterflies is probably the day to get out of this," McElwain said. "It's fun, and I don't look at it as nervous as much as the thrill of another year. There are a lot of things that go into that. And yet, a good thing is I don't have to worry about myself playing. So that's good for the Gators. I think our guys are excited.