The Miami Hurricanes aren’t the only team in the state of Florida that’s going through a fierce battle for the starting QB position. There’s an open competition in Gainesville as well with no real front runner at this point. The battle for the Gators gig is between Luke Del Rio, Feleipe Franks and transfer Malike Zaire
This battle actually may be more intriguing than the one that’s taking place in Coral Gables. You have Luke Del Rio, who’s coming off two shoulder surgeries and only played in six games last season. You have Feleipe Franks who looked really sharp in the Spring. Then you have Malike Zaire, who’s a grad transfer from Notre Dame, who many thought would easily win the job, when he decided to transfer to Florida. However a funny thing happened on the way to swamp. The other two QBs decided to make the competition interesting.
For Del Rio, it’s an added wrinkle. This would have been his job if he didn’t suffer the injuries last year. Now with the emergence of Franks and Zaire, he’s just in the mix and is by no ways a front runner to win the job. That said, Del Rio seems confident now that he’s healthy according to Gator Country:
“My arm is 100 percent healthy,” he said. “And I found it pretty ridiculous that fans are saying I had a noodle arm when I was throwing the ball 80 yards in the first game. So, they have the memory of a goldfish I guess. I’ve never had like a ridiculous arm, like Feleipe has a ridiculous arm, but I’ve always had a pretty adequate arm. I’ve been able to make every throw on time. It’s the first time in my life I’ve heard ‘you don’t have a strong arm’. So, whatever.”
Clearly Del Rio is passionate about his health and abilities. He goes further to explain how the process in camp is working out:
“When I was younger, when I was a freshman or sophomore, I would think like that and it’s kind of a negative mindset,” said Del Rio. “You get so caught up in, ‘OK, I got six reps with the ones. He got five. So, does that mean I’m a little bit ahead?’ It’s just incidental. They really take the reps from all 18, 19 practices and whoever is the best, most consistent, performs, made the offense a well-oiled machine, that’s who’s going to start.”
“I think I had a very consistent camp,” he said. “I mean, we are still in camp for one more day, but last year I would have an off day here, an off day there. I thought I have been very consistent throughout camp. People know what to expect when I’m in. Really, consistency.”
You have to give Del Rio credit for being confident at this point after shoulder surgeries derailed his season. Can he win the starting job for the Gators? Clearly he thinks so and there’s only two weeks left until we find out who wins the job, if not earlier.