Doug Johnson: Will Grier Has Intangibles You Can’t Coach

    Former Gator Doug Johnson discusses Will Grier's performance in the Tennessee game and how he has intangibles you can't coach.

    October 1, 2015

    Call it a miracle. Call it magic. Call it what you want. Just make sure you include gutsy and clutch whenever you’re describing Florida’s comeback win over Tennessee.

    Down two scores and with everything seemingly going the Volunteers’ way, the Gators dug deeper than they have in years.

    So too did The Swamp.

    It was a mediocre display from both for the majority of the game, but then it happened. Players and fans finally woke up after a half-decade hangover, and then came the finish for a shot of orange and blue life that was fired into the Gator Nation.

    Redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier, staring at 86 yards and a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter, put the offense on his back and drove down the field for a scoring drive to pull the Gators within six. Along the way he completed 9-of-14 passes with two clutch fourth down throws – but there was still work left to do.

    Florida’s defense stood tall on the ensuing series, forcing a three-and-out to give Grier and the offense one more opportunity. With Florida’s back against the wall and facing a long, 14-yard fourth down play, McElwain broke out “Train Right, Jill, Big Ben, In” – a play the team practices every week.

    Grier stepped up into the pocket, remained patient, and fired a bullet to freshman receiver Antonio Callaway. Callaway did a little leap, sucked in the ball, peeled to his left and down towards the right sideline. Out of nowhere, fellow receiver Brandon Powell flew in like a missile to clear out the secondary, springing Callaway for the improbable touchdown and sending The Swamp into pandemonium.

    In just a handful of seconds, Grier and the entire Gator offense grew up, and considering Tennessee was supposed to be the hot young team in the East, all of a sudden, Florida became just that. And while the night wasn’t perfect, the recent culture of Florida football just might have shifted.

    In that fourth quarter, Grier showed a clutch gene that so many Florida quarterbacks before him carried.

    “The intangibles are stuff you can’t coach,” stated former Gator QB Doug Johnson on the Gator Nation Football Podcast. “Playing tough, not riding emotional rollercoasters through a game, playing the fourth quarter better than the first, he does that well.”

    If there’s a player who can understand the ride Grier was on Saturday evening, it’s Johnson. During the fourth quarter of the 1997 Florida vs. FSU game, he connected with Jacquez Green for a 62-yard touchdown to beat the Seminoles for a 32-29 win in what many call the greatest game every played in The Swamp.

    There’s no denying that Grier still has plenty of developing to do, but Johnson likes what he’s seen so far.

    “I wouldn’t say he’s necessarily a great thrower, but he’s definitely adequate enough. He anticipates throws, which is good for a young player right now. Usually young players like to see it before they throw it, see it before they let it go. He does a pretty good job of letting it go before it develops.”

    With each passing game the stakes get higher; the pressure builds just a little bit more for Grier and the Gators. This week, No. 3 Ole Miss and the “Landshark” defense come to town. It’s a game that shouldn’t even be close on paper, but Florida is learning how to win games again – with both sides of the ball. 


    Gator Nation Football Podcast: Episode 5 – Ole Miss

    Listen: Gator Nation Football Podcast Archive

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