Harris not at practice on Wednesday

Florida quarterback Treon Harris wasn’t on the field for practice on Wednesday due to a death in the family.

Minutes after leaving the practice field, Florida head coach Jim McElwain expressed his and the program’s sympathy for his sophomore quarterback.

“Obviously we were a guy short out there today, really kind of puts everything in perspective when you kind of do this kind of stuff and get involved in these young men’s lives,” McElwain said. “Heck of a tragedy in his family occurred back home. He’s still here, but you really kind of wonder sometimes the true importance of what we do when it comes to family and how important 3rd and 6 is.

“Right now, our hearts go out to him and his family and what he’s going through. We’re here to support him and his mom and aunt in every way we can. He wasn’t out there today, and when he’ll get back will be when it’s time to get back. Obviously family first in everything that we do in our program here at the University of Florida, and we’re with him in every way.”

Florida players have been checking in on Treon Harris to make sure he’s doing OK, trying to encourage him through this difficult time.

“Treon, he’s going through a tough time right now,” Florida running back Adam Lane said. “We’ve all got support behind him, checking up on him to make sure things are right.

INJURY REPORT: Lane has been dealing with a leg injury that is limiting him in practice, but he spoke to the media on Wednesday and downplayed the severity of it. The Birmingham Bowl MVP said they are playing it safe with the injury.

McElwain said defensive lineman Jordan Sherit has “a good thing” on his heel that has been taken care of, but it is limiting him in practice.

JACKSON ON DEFENSE: McElwain admitted there were conversations about where J.C. Jackson would play, but the staff ultimately decided to leave him on defense. He took some reps with the first team defense early in practice on Wednesday, and Florida defense coordinator Geoff Collins has even called him one of the most athletic players he has ever coached.

The coaches are also looking at using him in the return game so he can still make an impact with the ball in his hands. The most important thing to Jackson was being able to help the team wherever needed.

“It’s great, this team, some of these guys,” McElwain said. “When you talk about position changes, they just say anything they can do to get on the field and help this team win. And he’s a guy that is no different.”

FORMER GATORS: One of the biggest positives for McElwain has been seeing former Florida players on the sidelines at practice this spring. They’re always welcome to return to Gainesville and watch the team practice, and the big numbers that have done that in the first two weeks of practice has been a big encouragement to McElwain and the players.

“It’s also great out there at practice seeing the former Gators that are coming back and taking a look,” McElwain said. “For me, that’s really what the program is all about. Those guys that gave their all for this university, and for them to come back and support these current Gators, that’s something that’s pretty special. There’s been a lot of them. That’s exciting to see.”

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