Florida vs. Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17, 2022. Photo courtesy of Hannah White.

Coach Billy Napier Sounds Off On QB Battle After Team Scrimmage

The time is near as the Florida Gator football team is just a week away from its annual Orange and Blue game.

Gator faithful will be in attendance at the Swamp as they will get their first glimpse of the new look football team. Florida will be introducing 27 new scholarship players including 17 freshmen.

On Thursday, the Gators participated in their second spring scrimmage as head coach Billy Napier gears his team for their much anticipated spring game. Compared to the first, Napier mentioned he is pleased with the improvement but there is still much to work to do as spring camp n comes to an end.

Gators QB Battle Continues

UF returned to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in preparation for their scrimmage. During the media viewing period, the quarterback battle remains the topic of discussion.

The trio of Graham Mertz, Jack Miller III and redshirt freshman Max Brown are highlighting the competition. Unfortunately, Napier will let the conversation linger as he is not yet ready to declare who the starter may be or who may be separating themselves from the competition.

Mertz, a Wisconsin transfer, hopes to get the starting nod as he has impressed Napier and staff. Napier said the experienced gunslinger has brought the best out of Miller and Brown through camp.

“He has forced the other players to rise to the occasion,” Napier said.

Napier continued to say the Mertz has quickly established himself as a leader.

Not to be outdone, Miller has made some strides since Gator fans last saw the redshirt sophomore. Miller spent the better much of last season recovering from a thumb injury before being thrust into the starting lineup in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Napier said he is impressed with the progress Miller is displaying since throwing him to the wolves in last year’s bowl game against Oregon State.

Offensive Standouts During Scrimmage

During Thursday’s scrimmage, running backs Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne continued their solid play in camp with some solid runs, according to Napier.

Also, a few receivers made their presence known as well. Top target and senior slot receiver Ricky Pearsall will definitely see his fair share of targets this season but, a newcomer has caught the attention of many.

Incoming freshman wide receiver Andy Jean is certainly a name Gator fans should get more accustomed to. The four-star recruit out of Miami Northwestern high school has turned some heads during camp. Napier said the youngster showed flashes Thursday as he familiarizes himself with the playbook.

Along with Jean, junior Xzavier Henderson is having a productive spring camp also. So much so, Napier mentioned every time he glanced over the wideout appeared to be “making a play.”

The team will continue to practice as it nears the end of spring ball.

 

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