Florida Gators may play 3 quarterbacks vs. University of Michigan
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain hasn’t settled on a starting quarterback. He hasn’t even pared down the three-man competition.
McElwain said Wednesday that fourth-year junior Luke Del Rio, redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks and graduate transfer Malik Zaire will play this season, maybe even in next week’s season opener against No. 11 Michigan.
“You’re going to see a bunch of them in there playing,” McElwain said. “The three guys have done a really good job. I think there’s some things that they all bring to the table that are really good. Now the key to us is putting them in those positions, you know, that play to their strengths.
“Will all play? I don’t know yet. Will a couple of them play? I don’t know yet. I know we will have somebody at the position.”
McElwain insisted he’s not playing games with the Wolverines or trying to gain a game-planning advantage. He simply suggested that none of the three has become a clear-cut choice for the 17th-ranked Gators.
“Ultimately the guy that the team moves with the best,” he said. “The guys that create positive plays on third down and get the ball in the end zone. That’s kind of where we’re at.”
Del Rio, a college journeyman and the son of Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio, started six games last season before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury in a loss at Arkansas in November. He had offseason surgery on both shoulders and missed all of spring practice.
Franks has been the penciled-in starter for months, maybe even a year. A four-star recruit with prototypical size (6-foot-6, 238 pounds) and arm strength, he sat out last year while learning the offense and bulking up.
The Gators added Zaire to the mix in June, a pretty clear indication that McElwain and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier weren’t completely satisfied with their QB situation.
The Notre Dame graduate missed most of the 2015 season because of a broken ankle and lost his starting job to DeShone Kizer in the 2016 season opener.