Gators will start Harris on Saturday

Florida’s battle to be the full-time quarterback is still going on, but the starter for Saturday’s opener has been announced.

Sophomore Treon Harris will take the first snap when the Gators open the season against New Mexico State on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Florida coach Jim McElwain made it clear that the battle for the starting job isn’t over and that Will Grier will also play a lot in the game.

“It’s one of those things where we talked about affecting the people around you in a positive way,” McElwain said after Wednesday’s practice. “It was really close. From a coaching standpoint, you’ve got to feel good about that because you’ve got two real good quarterbacks who are going to be able to go in and play the game. As you know in this business, you’d rather have it that way than the other way. We just felt that he’s going to go start and Will is going to play, and we’ll play it out from there.”

In six starts last season, Harris threw for 1,019 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions while helping Florida to a 4-2 record. He added 338 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Grier redshirted last season.

Grier had the lead in the quarterback battle when spring football ended, but McElwain admitted that was mostly because Harris missed a week of practices due to a death in the family. McElwain emphasized multiple times on Thursday that the full-time starting quarterback job remains open because they want to see how both quarterbacks handle game situations on Saturday.

"Both of them I feel are deserving of it. Both of them had a really good spring and fall, and we're excited about seeing those guys play. We'll go ahead and do it that way. Treon will go out and take the first snap, and then whether it's three or four series, they'll both have their set of first eight (plays) and move it that way as we work forward.”

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