Florida Gators fans and reporters searching for any hint about who will start at quarterback tried their best to mine information from the first week of spring practice.

It may or may not have worked.

Will Grier took the first snap of spring practice. Depending on whom you believe, it was either a meaningless coincidence (new head coach Jim McElwain) or something more (AP reporter Mark Long).

“I didn’t know, did he?” McElwain said after the first practice. “Did (Grier) take the first snap? I didn’t (see that). I didn’t. Somebody had to I guess, so he must have ran in there first. Good for him, nice job.”

The 6-foot-2 Will Grier, the nation’s No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the 2014 class, sat out last season after hurting his back lifting weights. The 5-foot-11 Treon Harris, rated as a four-star athlete by 247Sports in the same class, started six games for the Gators when it (finally) became clear Jeff Driskel wasn’t the man for the job.

Harris has two major advantages — experience and athleticism. But Harris hasn’t been a model citizen off the field, and Grier’s skill set is a better fit for what McElwain’s offenses have done historically. Harris completed 40.9 percent of his throws the last four games, while Grier threw a nation-best 77 touchdown passes as a high school senior in his last action.

The most important factor to consider is that McElwain hasn’t had any chance at on-field evaluation until last week. To expect a new head coach, one with a strong track record at working with quarterbacks, to make one of the most impactful decisions of 2015 within one or two practices is unrealistic.

But it’s notable that Long took McElwain to task not only on the radio, but also in hindsight in his AP story. (Remember, the AP has a reputation for intentionally excluding any editorializing.) Check out what Long wrote after the first practice: “Although many outsiders viewed it as an indication that Grier has an edge over the 5-foot-11 Harris, McElwain acted as if he didn’t even know Grier would get the first snap.”

In other words, Long is accusing McElwain of deception. The coach very well did know that Grier would take the first snap, Long has more than implied. And it’s not insignificant.

We all know there are plenty of behind-the-scenes politics in football, whether it’s with a disciplinary issue, relationships with the media or depth-chart pecking order. It’s possible Long knew some quarterback-related tidbit that helped him ascertain that McElwain was being less than forthcoming.

But with the media laser beam aimed full-force at who took the first snap, another not-so-surprising clue emerged from practice.

“What a novel concept, isn’t it?” McElwain joked, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “Taking a snap from center. Unbelievable. Something new there, you know.

“Maybe sometime you’ve got to get in four-minute, bleed the clock a little bit and that helps be under center, maybe a quarterback sneak here and there.”

Taking snaps under center traditionally favors the pro-style passer (Grier).

The Gators need whomever plays quarterback to understand the offense well enough to be a field general, McElwain said, and be able to direct traffic pre-snap. That also involves reading defenses. We’ve yet to see evidence that Grier is any better or worse than Harris in this regard, but any advantage Harris gained from his experience last season is at least partially negated by the fact that both quarterbacks are having to learn a new offense.

Florida has no incentive to name a starter at any point before the fall. The Gators need to develop both Harris and Grier. It’s unlikely either player would transfer if McElwain did reveal a pecking order before the end of spring, but there’s nothing to gain from it.

Meanwhile, we’re left reading the tea leaves. There’s no reason to believe Grier definitely will win the job, but based on McElwain’s offense and track record, it’s reasonable to assume he’ll be given every opportunity to prove he’s capable.

Grier, who is white and hails from small-town North Carolina, and Harris, who is black and from Miami, are close friends. Neither player talked to the media in 2014 as freshmen, but much of the talk last week centered around their relationship.

“We hang out a lot,” Harris told reporters Wednesday. “We chill, we laugh, we make jokes, walk to eat. We’re brothers.”

Said Grier: “It’s been cool coming from two completely different backgrounds and everything like that and coming together at a place like this, a great school, great program, and being able to work with a guy like that who played at a completely different high school and different offense, different skill set.

“Being able to work with him, help each other get better has been really cool.”

Both players are spinning their ’14 experience as helpful. Harris characterized his midseason takeover as “shocking” after arriving in Gainesville as a true freshman behind the experienced Driskel and understanding he could take a redshirt. But adjusting to the game speed of the SEC, and the pressure of being Florida’s starting quarterback, is a benefit to him this year, Harris said. He’s also healthy after a right thumb injury affected him late last season.

Grier arrived on campus frail by SEC standards, and used the year to harden his body and learn more of the game’s nuances.

New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier acknowledged that all the offensive players face a steep learning curve right now, especially at quarterback. McElwain characterized the defense as far ahead of the offense early in spring practice.

“I think me and Treon are just out there playing ball, we’re both out there playing ball helping each other get better and working to get better every day,” Grier said, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s not a competition.”