Florida will play both Will Grier and Treon Harris at quarterback in its season opener against New Mexico State on September 5, coach Jim McElwain told reporters on Thursday.
McElwain reaffirms #Gators will play two QBs in the opener.— Chris Harry (@GatorsChris) August 27, 2015
"In no ways I'm displeased with them," Mac said of QBs. Wants to see how each elevates teammates during game situation.— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) August 27, 2015
Florida last played multiple quarterbacks competing for the role of starter in its season opener in 2012. Jacoby Brissett took the first snap at quarterback in that game, while Jeff Driskel spent it split wide as a receiver; Driskel subsequently replaced Brissett and finished the first half of that game, while Brissett played the second half.
After that game, which did little to make either player's case as the definitively better choice at the position, Will Muschamp named Driskel the Gators' starter — and the rest, from Florida's 11-2 season in 2012 to the far less successful 2013 and 2014 campaigns featuring Driskel as incumbent starter, is well-known history.
It would seem very unlikely that McElwain will pull the same sort of gimmick with Grier and Harris against the Aggies; it's more likely that he will have both players rotate series or quarters than halves.
If Florida follows through with this plan, though, it will be the first time a team with McElwain as offensive coordinator or head coach has split its opening game's meaningful snaps at quarterback between multiple players since 2011, when Alabama played both AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims in its opener.
And regardless of his initial plan, when McElwain makes a decision on his starter, expect him to stick with it: Only an injury to Garrett Grayson in 2012 led McElwain to change starting quarterbacks, and he's never elevated a backup to starter except in the wake of that injury.