Florida QB Treon Harris to start season opener
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has its quarterback for the season opener, just not the season.
Coach Jim McElwain announced Wednesday that sophomore Treon Harris will start against New Mexico State on Saturday night. Redshirt freshman Will Grier also will see playing time.
“I wouldn’t read that much into it,” McElwain said following practice. “This is still a painting in progress. We’ve got to figure out what the backdrop is going to be.”
Harris and Grier have been vying for the starting job since spring practice began in March. Grier seemingly had the upper hand a few weeks ago, but Harris got the nod in a somewhat surprising decision.
Harris started the final six games last season, completing 49.5 percent of his passes for 1,019 yards, with nine touchdowns and four interceptions. He also ran for 338 yards and three scores after replacing ineffective starter Jeff Driskel.
Grier, one of the top high school prospects in 2013, missed all of last season after injuring his lower back lifting weights.
“Someone starts, someone comes in,” McElwain said. “Both of them I feel deserving of it. Both of them had a really good spring and fall, and we’re excited about seeing those guys play.”
McElwain didn’t reveal how he planned to split up the snaps, but indicated Harris would play three or four series before turning things over the Grier.
“If a guy’s 11 for 11, you’re not going to take the shooter out, right?” McElwain said.
McElwain has some history of using two quarterbacks early in the season before settling on one starter. As Alabama’s offensive coordinator in 2011, McElwain used AJ McCarron and Phillip Sims in the opener before settling on McCarron for the year.
He could do something similar at Florida. For now, he wants to see how Harris and Grier perform under the lights and in front of nearly 90,000 fans.
“I don’t think either guy’s frustrated,” McElwain said. “Here’s the one thing we’ve talked about: This is a partnership. This is two guys pulling in the same direction to help this football team be successful. I’m proud of the way they’ve handled it. They’re good friends. They coach each other on the field.
“I look at it as a true partnership and guys working together to help this team win ball games.”