Stay Calm, Gator Fans: Florida Spring Game Provides Glimpse Into Life After Anthony Richardson In Gainesville

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In case you were wondering, Florida will hold its Spring game tonight. For Gator fans, this will be the first public viewing of what life will look like without Anthony Richardson taking snaps. Stay calm is the best advice I can give you, with this battle heading for the summer.

Sure, Richardson wasn’t around long enough in Gainesville for fans of college football to get a full glimpse at what could’ve been for Florida. But don’t worry Florida fans, he’ll bring enough attention to the football program over the next few weeks in the NFL Draft.

But in the case of Billy Napier’s second season at the helm, the Gators are searching for the guy who will lead them into 2023. Forget what happens two years from now, Napier needs to produce enough excitement for Florida fans to stay in the boat until 2024. Between Jack Miller and Wisconsin transfer Graham Mertz, there isn’t a clear cut favorite at the moment, at least publicly.

Obviously Billy Napier isn’t going to tip his hand on which guy is leading the race, that’s if either one is actually separating himself.

“I don’t necessarily know that we’re ready to define that in public, if that makes sense,” Billy Napier said. “We don’t play a game anytime soon, right?”

Starting QB Competition Will Continue Over The Summer

Maybe Mertz or Miller will put on a highlight reel performance tonight, but it will not end the starting quarterback battle. No, this one is headed for Fall camp, with the Gators set to open the season against Utah on Thursday, August 31st. This time, Anthony Richardson won’t be around to save the Gators.

Florida Gators QB Jack Miller, who's battling Graham Mertz
Florida Gators quarterback Jack Miller III (10) drops back to pass during the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl between the Florida Gators and the Oregon State Beavers on December 17, 2022 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Some fans might wonder if the team needs to have the starting quarterback named before fall camp begins, thinking it might give either one a leg up in rallying the team. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Both quarterbacks will work with the wide receivers and coaches over the summer.

This season is critical for Billy Napier, so making a hasty decision doesn’t do either one any favors. The Gators head coach knows how important the summer will be for both quarterbacks, with competition beneficial for both.

“We’ve got a long ways to go before we play and a lot of reps. I mean, training camp is essentially two spring practices to some degree and we’re going to have, 18 OTAs this summer. A lot of throwing and catching, a lot of meetings. A lot of competition left here,” Billy Napier recently said.

Spring Game Format For Florida Gators

Thank goodness the Gators won’t have to play in the slop we witnessed last Saturday in Auburn. It was so bad that Hugh Freeze abandoned any type of passing opportunities, though I don’t know how much that would’ve helped the Tigers QB battle anyways.

As for what to expect in The Swamp, Billy Napier said the team will play four quarters, with a running clock that is only stopped in the last four minutes of each half. There will be stoppages for penalties, points and possession change.

Graham Mertz is battling for the Florida starting quarterback job.
Graham Mertz is battling for the Florida starting quarterback job.

Simply put, this one should be a nice outing for the fans that doesn’t last four hours, which would probably change if CBS was anywhere near this game.

Rosters for the Orange and Blue teams will feature Graham Mertz and Jack Miller leading each group.

If you’re a Florida fan, stay even-keeled with your expectations for the offense tonight. Please don’t bring up how much Graham Mertz runs like Tim Tebow if he breaks one off, just because he’s wearing the sacred number 15, like Richardson did last season.

As for the rest of college football, we’re about to get our first look at what Florida has at quarterback in the Billy Napier system, post Anthony Richardson.

Written by Trey Wallace

Trey Wallace is the host of The Trey Wallace Podcast that focuses on a mixture of sports, culture, entertainment along with his perspective on everything from College Football to the College World Series.

Wallace has been covering college sports for 15 years, starting off while attending the University of South Alabama. He’s broken some of the biggest college stories including the Florida football “Credit Card Scandal” along with the firing of Jim McElwin and Kevin Sumlin. Wallace also broke one of the biggest stories in college football in 2020 around the NCAA investigation into recruiting violations against Tennessee football head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Wallace also appears on radio across seven different states breaking down that latest news in college sports.


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  1. Richardson was inconsistent and straight up sucked at times last season. If Mertz is as bad as he was at Wisconsin it won’t be much of a drop off to be honest. I should give Richardson credit though, he should have led UF to the game winning drive against FSU but ref-ball interfered and refused to call face mask, with one ref staring at it happen, on 4th down. And he was great against Utah. But that’s all he was…a multiple time flash in the pan. Look at him 2 years ago against LSU. Dude almost led a comeback win and lit it up. Then you get games like last year against Kentucky. Mertz doesn’t have a high bar, if we’re going by last year’s standards. Obviously by historical UF standards he has little chance of meeting THAT bar…

    • Y’all got bailed out on a 4th & 20+ with a tic tac PI call on a pass that had no chance of being completed… Yet, you’re mad about a brushing of the facemask on another 4th & long.. C’mon, dude. That game should have been over already.

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