Florida Gators football: Mornhinweg makes his case

The Florida Gators wrapped up spring practice April 13 and its time for a little spring-cleaning. I’ll start by taking a look at a backup quarterback who took a step forward with his play this spring.

Skyler Mornhinweg will likely never be anything more thanĀ  backup quarterback for the Florida Gators, but his development this spring has certainly caught some eyes.

With Jeff Driskel having wrapped up the starting job early in spring practice, Mornhinweg was left to battle it out with highly touted freshman Will Grier for the right to be the Florida Gators’ backup quarterback. When spring practice wrapped up after the Orange and Blue game, Mornhinweg appeared to have a leg up on his talented counterpart.

The redshirt sophomore looked much more comfortable in the spring game than the true freshman early enrollee. He finished the game 14-of-18 for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Granted, most of his reps were against second-teamers and walk-ons. Grier, on the other hand, went 8-for-15 for 72 yards and threw the game’s lone interception.

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Florida fans are probably not high in the idea of Mornhinweg being just one snap away from playing, especially after his three-game stint as the full-time starter at the end of last season. For those who do not remember, Mornhinweg was forced into action last season after an injury to Tyler Murphy, and the results were not pretty. He completed 44-of-63 pass attempts for just 344 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. Florida was basically forced to abandon its passing attack altogether and even lost a game to FCS opponent Georgia Southern.

However, after his play this spring, it is clear the former No. 19-ranked quarterback prospect in the country, according to ESPN, could develop into a viable option as a backup for the Gators. He does not have the arm-strength to be a full-time starter, but in an offense built around a short passing attack that moves the quarterback around in the pocket, Mornhinweg could have success if called upon.

With his performance in the Orange and Blue game and throughout the spring, Mornhinweg earned the right to be the No. 2 quarterback at the start of fall camp. The competition for the backup job will likely continue deep into fall camp, especially with the impending arrival of Treon Harris. But if Mornhinweg can continue to progress as he did this spring, it could keep Florida from having to burn a much-needed redshirt season for Grier, who could use a year to add some strength.

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