QBs airing it out

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Learning an entirely new offense and getting under center for the first time in years have created some predictable problems for Florida’s young quarterbacks — true sophomore Treon Harris and redshirt freshman Will Grier. But one they do seem to be excelling in is their accuracy in passing drills against the air (throwing to wide receivers without defenders being present).

In a recent drill, both were close to perfect, UF coach Jim McElwain said Tuesday.

“Just in routes on air, which is one of the most important drills that we do because it’s the focus on the detail of playing catch. I think (Grier) was, in that particular one, I want to say he was 26-of-29 with two drops. Treon I think was 27-of-29 with two drops, so really he was undefeated, which was good,” McElwain said. “What they’ve got to understand is every single rep they take they’ve got to prepare and execute as if it’s the last rep they’re ever going to take. Trying to understand that, focus on every single drill, the footwork it takes to accomplish the task at hand is something that is kind of new to them for whatever it is worth. The emphasis is on the details.”

Throwing against air, of course, is a lot different than completing passes to receivers who are being covered by cornerbacks and safeties. Overall, McElwain said Grier and Harris still have a lot to learn and a long way to go.

“Well, the big thing there is teaching the understanding. What we do is like, when we have sometimes four spot drills. You’ve got four going and they’re rotating, working with all the groups,” McElwain said. “Right now, what we’re trying to do in the quarterback deal is how do they handle whether it’s the ones, twos or threes, and how they operate and handle the operation. One of the important things in fact today was the first day we switched colored jerseys. The offense was actually in white today and the defense was in blue, which we change every week. I got a little nervous that the quarterbacks were going to remember what color jersey we were wearing. We did throw a couple to the other jersey. But I think those guys, the maturation has been OK. Am I ecstatic about it? No. But there’s a lot of new stuff being thrown at them, including operating both from under (center), from pistol, from gun. Obviously, the blitz, we do heavy blitz work every day. Their identification and understanding hot principles, those type of things, it’s got to continue to get better.”