Billy Napier's Florida Gators are in trouble. When a hard-to-watch spring game failed to give Gators fans the kind of hope for a resurgence they thought they'd get from the sophomore head coach, Florida appears to be in full spin mode. There's problem, however, as one Gators wideout found out: The internet doesn't forget. That can be a problem when you compare Gators QB Graham Mertz, a transfer from Wisconsin, to LSU legend Joe Burrow.
Graham Mertz is Another Joe Burrow?
As the Gators return to the transfer portal to see if they can find solutions to their personnel problems, fans hope the Gators can find something they just lost in the NFL Draft: a star quarterback. Anthony Richardson, who was taken fourth overall by the Indianapolis Colts, had kept the Gators moving downfield, even if their record didn't appear to be successful. But while the Gators search for a field general to lead them into the 2023 season, an interview with freshman wideout Andy Jean from earlier this offseason has re-emerged, and it's got some college football fans scratching their heads.
On Feb. 17, David Waters tweeted out an audio clip from the interview with the receiver in which he praised the Gators' new QB as "another Joe Burrow."
"Joe Burrow transferred in from another school," Jean explained. "I feel like he's another Joe Burrow because he actually loves the game and he's more detailed mentally."
?Andy Jean on transfer QB Graham Mertz from @GatorCollective pic.twitter.com/VlEwoOTU98
— David Waters - Gators Breakdown (@GatorDave_SEC) February 17, 2023
After Mertz's disappointing spring game, in which he completed 18 of 29 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown, it's clear he's not a Joe Burrow type player at all. At the very least, Burrow had put LSU fans at ease prior to his first season as starter, having transferred to Baton Rouge after a stint at Ohio State. Mertz, on the other hand, was easily rattled when put under pressure from his own defense in the preseason game. On two of the first three plays from scrimmage, Mertz was sacked. On multiple incompletions, Mertz threw underneath his receivers, just as his Wisconsin scouting report had warned he did — not Burrow-esque at all.
Jean's comment feels innocent and was clearly said without seeing the lack of progress everyone else saw in Gainesville during the spring game. But it's clear that Gator fans are anxiously waiting for coach Napier to show some signs of change — or, at the least, any sign of life after a disappointing preseason scrimmage.
The Gators don't necessarily need another Joe Burrow, but they do need someone capable of leading their offense.
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