Who will be named the Florida Gators’ starting quarterback? Jim McElwain could announce his decision as soon as Friday. In their first episode of the “Florida Gator Podcast” on Gridiron Now, our experts — former Gators Shane Matthews and Brady Ackerman — begin their conversation with the idea that a starter could be named.
“I think that will be a good idea,” said Matthews, the 1990 and 1991 SEC Player of the Year as the Gators’ quarterback. “A lot of people expect it to be Luke Del Rio – being in the system for as many years as he has, being around (Florida offensive coordinator Doug) Nussmeier at Alabama. It’s about time that you pick a guy; that way, the rest of the team can rally behind him.”
While Del Rio and Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby are expected to vie for the starting position, what about the two highly touted true freshman quarterbacks on the roster: Kyle Trask and Feleipe Franks? Where do they fit in?
“I think they’re hoping that Luke Del Rio and Appleby can get it done this year,” Matthews said. “I know they have high hopes for Trask. He’s got all the intangibles, the arm strength, everything they’re looking for. I think Feleipe Franks, he has all the tools as well. He probably does need to redshirt – just get more familiar with the offense and the speed of the game.”
Ackerman concurs: “I think if you did a depth chart right now, Kyle Trask would be third. But I’m not sure he would play this year.”
While Del Rio is expected to start, he has his detractors. Speaking anonymously to Gridiron Now’s Jimmy Hyams, one SEC coach labeled Del Rio as “not an SEC starter.”
“There’s a lot of dudes that have played in the SEC in the last few years that you can categorize as ‘they should not be playing in the SEC,’ ” Matthews said. “Just because he’s not 6-4, 6-5, doesn’t weigh 230, and can throw it through a wall, that has no bearing on whether he can play or not. Now, none of us know; we got to wait and see.
“Quarterbacks that I like are guys that are accurate, can anticipate, can run the offense. I don’t care how big, strong, your arm is, that’s not going to win football games and I think that’s what a lot of people ... they’re looking for that prototypical guy who looks good at combines, but the bottom line is how do you play when the bullets are flying in front of 80-90,000 people. And that will determine whether he’s an SEC quarterback or not.”
You can listen to the remainder of the “Florida Gator Podcast” to find out what the duo think about the rest of the Gators’ depth chart beyond the quarterback position.
© 2016, Brady Ackerman. All rights reserved.
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