Harris starts season as first backup

True freshman Treon Harris will go into the opener as Jeff Driskel’s top backup.

The Florida Gators don’t have a battle for the top spot at the quarterback position but the backup role has been a battle throughout fall camp. On Tuesday, head coach Will Muschamp designated true freshman Treon Harris from Miami as the guy that will see the field behind Jeff Driskel at the quarterback position.

It has been a big battle between Harris and fellow true freshman Will Grier throughout fall camp. Grier had the head start, arriving on campus in the spring and going through spring football with the team. Harris had a slow start to fall, but got in a groove about a week into drills and started really commanding the offense. Muschamp told the Florida media on Tuesday that Harris brings the offense a little bit different look and has earned the right to play on Saturday.

“Will and Treon are both talented players,” Muschamp said. “There are some things we felt (Harris) could provide for us, maybe in short yardage situations and in red-zone. He’s done a nice job with some command things. There wasn’t enough separation at the position, but he deserved the opportunity and we will give him the opportunity."

The goal is to get Harris on the field on Saturday. Muschamp said it could depend on game time situations, but he wants the young man to start building some experience.

“Given the situation, we would like to play him,” he said of the young Harris. “I think it will be determined on game day and the situation during the game, but we would like to play him.”

Harris provides a little bit of a change in pace with his ability to make plays with his feet. To be fair, Driskel and Grier are both capable runners if not more, but Harris adds a little bit more of a spark in the running game as a possible ‘Wildcat’ type quarterback.

“He presents some things that may take some hits off of Jeff,” Muschamp said. “It’s a long season and that is certainly something Treon has done before. He is also a very accomplished passer and we have a lot of confidence in him to do some of the similar things as Jeff, as well as Will can do and Skyler (Mornhinweg) as well.”

Muschamp reassured that Harris is not just a threat with his legs.

“We will run our offense and he has good command of our offense and what we do,” the head coach said. “Whether it is drop back passing, to running the quarterback run-game, which Jeff will do as well, we are going to run our offense.”

With Harris listed as the number two guy for Saturday, that won’t keep Grier out of the quarterback competition. Muschamp made sure to say that it is a close and ongoing battle for that second spot.

“We haven’t talked about red-shirting anybody,” Muschamp said. “Going into the first game we plan on playing Treon. It could change in game two, could change in game three. It is a long season and both guys understand the situation.”

Muschamp will lean on his junior starter to help with the situation, knowing that both players want to play and that only one of them can be listed as the backup.

“I talked to Jeff Driskel yesterday morning about helping these guys through a very tough time from the standpoint of what he went through at the University of Florida,” Muschamp said. “We will continue to rep on the offensive field with Will Grier as well as Treon Harris at this time.”

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