Jim McElwain and the Florida Gators have been looking to solve the quarterback situation since the midseason suspension of Will Grier last fall. As the spring practices went on the big question was who would be Florida’s best fit running the offense with two main options from which to choose. On Friday night, it appeared there was a pretty definitive leader in the clubhouse with Luke Del Rio leading his team to a decisive victory in the spring game Friday night.
Del Rio completed 10 of 11 passes for 176 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Both of his touchdown passes came within the red zone, with one to DeAndre Goolsby and the other to Dre Massey. Del Rio’s main competition came from Purdue transfer Austin Appleby, who played for both teams in the spring game. Appleby completed eight of his 11 pass attempts for 80 yards.
“I was pressing a little bit [early in the spring], not letting the offense work for me,” Del Rio said after the game. “They do a great job of installing plays, putting guys open for us. I just kind of let the offensive line do what they do, let the receivers do what they do and I just went through the progressions. It’s easier that way. The coaches are right. Run the offense, it works.”
Despite the impressive spring performance from the former Alabama and Oregon State quarterback, McElwain did not feel ready to name Del Rio his starting quarterback for the 2016 season and will instead allow the competition to continue over the summer.
“Early in the spring, he was trying to press and I thought was somewhat out of character of how he has to play to be successful,” McElwain said after the game of Del Rio. “[He] did a good job of sliding in the pocket and taking his eyes where he needed to with the pressure. I thought he was pretty good.”
Considering how decisive the victory for Del Rio’s team was, McElwain made note that something clearly needs to be addressed on the other side of the football. With that being the case, it is wise to take some time to go back and review the film and see what went well and what needs work and how much that influences the stats put up by Del Rio (and any other player for that matter).
Regardless, Del Rio exits the spring with the right kind of momentum needed to make a push for the starting nod when Florida opens the 2016 season at home against UMass on September 3.