NCAA Football News
Not all quarterback battles are created equally.
For some teams in certain situations, prolonged battles are acceptable based on learning curve, early-season schedule and similar contenders vying for the job. For others, a quick resolution goes a long way toward a successful season.
Consider Florida part of the group that could benefit from a quick decision.
Early in fall camp, first-year head coach Jim McElwain said the battle between true sophomore dual-threat Treon Harris and redshirt freshman pro-style passer Will Grier is close through one week, according to Landon Watnick of Rivals.com:
"If you’re asking is there separation yet, I haven’t really seen it. But I will say this: their command is what I’ve been really happy with," McElwain said, according to Scott Carter of GatorZone.com. "They both have had really shining moments. They’ve both had some moments where you kind of scratch your head and wonder where that came from."
The Gators will scrimmage Friday, according to Watnick, which makes this the most important week of the Florida quarterback battle.
The primary goal for McElwain and new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is to establish what Florida's offensive identity will be this year. That identity could vary greatly depending on who is taking the snaps and, more importantly, how much trust the offensive line earns from the coaching staff.
It's clear McElwain wants to instill his pro-style system in the Gator program, but considering the uncertainty of the offensive line, it might be best for the 2015 Gators to write it in pencil this year rather than ink.
If the offensive line can't protect and opposing defensive fronts are teeing off on the quarterback, he might be best served to put a guy back there who can move like Harris and try to become more multidimensional within the running game rather than putting a big emphasis on stretching the field deep.
Instead of ripping the old system off like a Band-Aid, the staff might have to transition slowly, which could give Harris a great shot at winning the job.
However it plays out, it's something that needs to be decided quickly.
An offensive identity has been Florida's version of Sasquatch or a unicorn since 2011. It's been a figment of of the imagination of Gator fans.
That needs to change, despite the fact that the schedule sets up in a way that might suggest the Gators could ease into it.
Florida doesn't need to be great this year in order to compete with the SEC's big boys. As was the case under former head coach Will Muschamp, the defense will keep them in virtually every game. If the Gators can focus on a few things they do well offensively, that's all the identity they need.
That identity needs to develop in fall camp and be perfected early in the season so that the Gators can hit their SEC schedule running at Kentucky and vs. Tennessee in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively.
Choosing a quarterback is the first step in establishing that identity.
Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com. Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on Sirius 93 XM 208.
Follow Barrett on Twitter: @BarrettSallee.
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Channeling our inner Professor Farnsworth, we have good news for everyone: The 2015 college football season is drawing nigh. Congratulations, you've nearly made it through the grueling offseason. All that's left is to get through preseason camp.
And stay healthy. For goodness' sake, nobody tear anything.
But before we move straight into football, let's take a look back at what made the offseason so interesting with the official Bleacher Report College Football Awards—2015 Offseason Edition. From the best quote to the best viral video, from the MVP to the worst controversy, we look back at everything that made the last few months bearable. Additionally, we'll mix in some storylines for the upcoming season as part of our flashy awards ceremony.
Also, there are no trophies or red carpets or anything like that. It's just us with an "attaboy" pat on the back.
Alabama, Florida State and Georgia are the schools that have separated themselves early in the running for the nation’s No. 5 corner and the No. 38 player overall in the 2017 cycle.
However, the Seminoles are the perceived front-runners in his recruitment due to the fact that his father, Stanford Samuels Jr., played corner at FSU from 2000 to 2003.
With the news that two SEC powers are in the running for Samuels, is the possibility becoming more realistic that Samuels could land somewhere other than Tallahassee for college?
Given the success that both Alabama and Georgia have had on the recruiting trail in recent years, it’s tough to discount them as potential threats in the race for Samuels.
Bartow notes that Samuels took visits to all three schools in the summer.
According to Hank South of BamaOnLine, Samuels enjoyed his first visit to Tuscaloosa.
“I talked to Coach (Kirby) Smart and got had a lot of interest from Coach (Nick) Saban while I was up there,” Samuels told South. “They were going over some of the coverages and schemes that they run. Basically they were telling me to keep my head straight and stay focused on getting better at football every day, and not get lost in the process.”
He also visited Georgia for its annual "Dawg Night" camp in July. As Bartow details, Samuels was impressed with the momentum that the Bulldogs have been able to build with the nation’s elite recruits.
However, with that said, Florida State still has reason to feel confident in landing Samuels in the end.
As detailed by Chris Nee of Noles247, while Samuels admits he has grown up a fan of the ‘Noles, he said that he doesn’t feel any added pressure to go to FSU because his father went there.
Instead, the Seminoles coaching staff, particularly defensive coordinator Charles Kelly, has done a good job of building a relationship with him and helping sell the ‘Noles program as being the best fit for him in the end.
"Every time I come up here, he treats me just like I am his son," Samuels III told Nee about his bond with Kelly. "He treats me great. Home-style, makes me feel at home. He makes me feel comfortable."
Additionally, Florida State has a lengthy history of producing elite corners—with both of last year’s starting corners being selected in the first three rounds of the 2015 NFL draft.
While the Tide and the Bulldogs can boast similar selling points, his comfort level with the FSU program will be tough to beat when it comes time for him to make his decision.
Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.
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As last week's Most Popular Academic Majors story showed, college football players tend to run in the same packs when it comes to their courses of studies.
The vast majority of players in Power Five conferences are enrolled in some sort of business major, while other common majors such as communication, sociology and sport management followed.
But a handful of athletes have decided to carve out their own unique paths in academics during their time on campus. They don't stick to the usual courses—in fact, some have interesting majors that no one else in the sport studies.
The SEC has two star players who have their eyes on the skies, while another one tends to focus on the bugs that crawl on the ground. Ohio State has an animal-loving leader on its offensive line, and USC has an established music producer already out in Hollywood.
Take a look at several players with some of the most unique majors in college football, and the paths they took to achieve their academic goals.