The Florida Gators have reached back to back SEC championship games and both seasons have lost to the national championship Alabama Crimson Tide. What’s holding the Gators back from climbing the mountain and slaying the dragon? The answer is consistency at the most important position, Quarterback.
The Gators haven’t had consistent play at the position since Tim Tebow left Gainesville. They have failed to have a quarterback throw for over 2,000 yards since John Brantley did it in 2011. No single player has thrown for 20 or more touchdowns since Tebow. As a unit they have done it just once since 2009. 2015 saw 19 combined from Treon Harris and Wil Grier and one from wide out Antonio Callaway. Someone needs to step up and lead this team to consistent offensive results.
The question remains who? Returning Luke Del Rio will look to take his job back after being hurt for parts of last season and being out for the Spring. Don’t expect redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks to go down easy after being the #1 option this Spring. Franks led the Orange team to three scores in his four possessions and completed 8 of his 14 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Even if Del Rio is ready to go by Fall camp, and the competition between he and Franks is stiff, neither QB up until this point hasn’t shown the flashes to take the program to the next level.
This is what makes the talk about potential transfer Malik Zaire so intriguing. The former Notre Dame prospect flashed greatness in short work as a member of the Irish. Versus Texas and LSU he showed the potential to be an impact player. In 15 career games he has 816 passing yards with 6 touchdowns. The Gators will be looking for their 3rd straight SEC East title with rival Georgia and Sophomore Quarterback Jacob Eason on the rise the Gators need a leader to guide the offense.
The SEC recently amended their rules, which would allow Zaire to transfer and play immediately. Though it hasn’t been made official, several reports are linking Zaire to Florida. If he does pull the trigger, Zaire will compete with Del Rio and Franks for the starting job. From a raw skills standpoint, Zaire would have a significant edge. The question is whether his style of play and what he has been use to, will transfer quickly enough to the Gators offense. Or if the Gators believe Zaire’s skill set is so great, could the Gators make adjustments to their offensive system?
All of these questions will be answered in due time. One thing is for certain, Zaire would bring some much needed excitement to a flat offense and could indeed be that one piece the Gators need to finally settle the Crimson Tide.