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Spring Football Games: Six Key Quarterback Battles

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Of course, spring games are supposed to be about the fans should be fun for everyone involved. For some teams looking for a starting quarterback, though, it means a lot more. The spring game doesn’t cement anything by any stretch, but it goes a long way to defining the narrative for the next three months and sets the tone for the fall practices. Here are six important quarterback situations after the scrimmages.

Will Grier – 6-2, 197-pound redshirt freshman who came to Florida last year as a high-powered dual-threat option – stepped up his play this spring to look the part in offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier’s attack. While he can run, he’s the effective passer the offense missed with now-Louisiana Tech Bulldog Jeff Driskel at the helm, and now the job might be his for the taking. 

After starting the last six games of 2014, Treon Harris, stayed in the hunt for the gig with a decent spring, but he’s just not quite as polished as Grier. Harris didn’t run much in the spring game – one carry for 14 yards – and completed 6-of-9 passes for 94 yards with a score, but Grier kept his slight lead in the chase hitting 7-of-9 passes for 130 yards. 

The race isn’t close to over, but at the very least, after the lack of production last season, quarterback doesn’t appear to be a huge issue – for now.
The pecking order as of the immediate moment: 1) Will Grier, 2) Treon Harris 

Florida State
Two years ago, Jameis Winston put on a show in the Florida State spring game, creating an offseason buzz that something special was about to happen. There wasn’t that moment of clarity in this year’s spring game among any of the young options looking to replace him, but the situation is hardly a big problem. 

It’s Sean Maguire’s job to lose after serving last season as the main backup – and getting the start and the win against Clemson – but he hasn’t slammed the door shut. He has the arm and the passing ability, but he’s a bit too inconsistent. He led the first-teamers in the spring game, completing 22-of-44 passes for 289 yards and two picks, but he looked the part during an early stretch. 

True freshman De’Andre Johnson might be the wild-card in the equation, hitting 8-of-11 passes for 155 yards including two nice touchdown passes, but J.J. Cosentino wasn’t bad, connecting on 7-of-11 throws for 177 yards with a 65-yard scoring play to George Campbell early on. Four-star prospect Deondre Francois will get his shot later this summer. 
The pecking order as of the immediate moment: 1) Sean Maguire, 2) J.J. Cosentino, 3) De’Andre Johnson 

This could take a while. Faton Bauta has the teeniest, tiniest edge, even though he and Brice Ramsey were dead even throughout the spring and will be going into the fall, and both appear to be ahead of redshirt freshman Jacob Park. 

Against the No. 1 defense, Bauta completed 10-of-19 passes for 75 yards, hitting on the short-to-midrange passes, and nailed all six of his throws for 96 yards and a score against the twos. Brice Ramsey completed just 3-of-6 passes against the top D, but he connected with Isaiah McKenzie for a 72-yard score. 

Here’s the difference. The 6-3, 218-pound Buata is a runner who gives the Georgia attack an element missing over the last several years from the position, while the 6-2, 216-pound Ramsey fits the recent Bulldog mold of elite passing prospects. 
The pecking order as of the immediate moment: 1) Faton Bauta, 2) Brice Ramsey, 3) Jacob Park 

It wasn’t awful, but it added to the confusion going into the summer. Oklahoma has several interesting options, and none of them did anything to look like the definitive No. 1 guy. 

Trevor Knight continued his post-Katy Perry slump with a very, very shaky 6-of-13 day for 78 yards with a pick, but he ran for a short score. Texas Tech transfer – and the star of last year’s spring game – Baker Mayfield impressed during practices, and he hit 10-of-13 passes for 176 yards with a nice scoring play, but two of his three misfires were to the defense. Justice Hansen was okay, connecting on all five of his throws, but he’s still back in the pack, and Cody Thomas was all over the place completing 5-of-12 throws for 83 yards with an interception. 

Considering the new high-octane passing style under offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, Mayfield is the better overall fit, but the job is still wide open. 
The pecking order as of the immediate moment: 1) Baker Mayfield, 2) Trevor Knight, 3) Justice Hansen, 4) Cody Thomas 

Ole Miss
This just got interesting. It seemed like former Clemson Tiger and JUCO transfer Chad Kelly was going to take over the job, and dual-threat playmaker DeVante Kincaide was No. 1A in the mix, but even with an awful spring game, it could be Ryan Buchanan’s job to lose. 

The 6-0, 202-pound Kincaide has the quickness out of the backfield to add a different look than Bo Wallace provided last season, and the 6-3, 220-pound Kelly – related to Hall of Famer, Jim Kelly – has the passing upside, but the 6-3, 208-pound Buchanan was terrific throughout the spring session and might be a wee bit ahead going into the fall. 

A terrific recruit a few years ago and a passer with all the skills, Buchanan is a talent, but he struggled on Saturday hitting just 5-of-16 throws for 49 yards with an interception. Kelly completed just 9-of-19 throws for 104 yards and a touchdown with an interception, and Kincaide connected on 9-of-18 throws for 93 yards, but led the Blue Team with 50 rushing yards on ten carries. 

Even with the shaky outings, and even with all the talk of Buchanan being the lead dog, don’t believe the hype quite yet. 
The pecking order as of the immediate moment: 1) Chad Kelly, 2) Ryan Buchanan, 3) DeVante Kincaide 

South Carolina
Considering the most impressive touchdown pass was from 22-yards out to Darius Rucker – that Darius Rucker – the spring game wasn’t quite a be-all-end-all to settle the quarterback battle between Perry Orth, Michael Scarnecchia and Connor Mitch – who hit Hootie with the scoring play. 

Mitch has the edge over the other two options, but he’ll still need to earn it. He has the right 6-3, 220-pound size, and he has the arm and the presence, but it comes down to his consistency. He completed 9-of-15 passes for 161 yards on plays outside of the Rucker gimmick, but the 6-4, 201-pound Scharnecchia looked solid hitting 12-of-19 throws for 191 yards and a score. Orth wasn’t bad, completing 2-of-4 passes for 37 yards with a pick for one side, and 9-of-15 throws for 100 yards for the other. 
The pecking order as of the immediate moment: 1) Connor Mitch, 2) Michael Scarnecchia, 3) Perry Orth 

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