Florida Gators leaning on Treon Harris

Film from the LSU loss showed positives and negatives for quarterback Treon Harris.

In his first road start of the season and first start that saw him play the entire game, the sophomore showed that he wasn’t afraid of the big moment. A night game in Tiger Stadium is known as one of the toughest environments in the country to play, but Harris went 17-32 for 271 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. 

The biggest issues for Harris came over the final two drives, when he went a combined 2-10 through the air when the Gators needed to put together a long drive to tie the game. 

When Harris and Florida coach Jim McElwain watched the film, they saw plenty of good moments. The sophomore moved the pocket with his running ability and forced missed tackles in space to keep drives alive. However, he wasn’t accurate enough on film and missed receivers that were open. 

“I think he was able to see some really good things from the video that I’m sure he wants back,” McElwain said. “At the same time, I was happy with how he handled the environment. He made some plays that were big for us, and I look forward to having him this week continue to get better." 

The Gators are halfway through a two-week span to prepare for Georgia. A lot of that rests on Harris’ shoulders as the Florida coaching staff is aiming to build the offense around their quarterbacks strengths. For all of conference play before last week, that was focused on doing what Will Grier does best. His suspension forced Harris into action, and the Gators have to find ways to better utilize his athleticism in the offense. 

His next test will come in a neutral site -- EverBank Field. Crowd noise can still be somewhat of a factor since half of the stadium will Georgia fans, but the Florida players were impressed with how Harris handled the situation in Death Valley. 

“I thought he did a really good job,” Florida tight end Jake McGee said. “It’s a tough test, really, for the first transition game. It’s one of the loudest places we’ll play on the road and I thought he handled it well. 

The Gators saw their toughest road environment of the season at LSU, and with only one true road game remaining at South Carolina, it should help Harris close the season on a high note. It’s going to take improvement for the Florida offense to take the next step through the bye week, and a lot of that is on Harris’ shoulders. 

“There were a lot of things that we need to get better at from that ballgame,” McElwain said. “We’re not going to hang our heads. We’re going to move forward and try to get a little better each week. Treon is a part of that. 

The sophomore quarterback does have the backing of his teammates. They saw what he did during the second half of last season, and they were impressed with how he handled the LSU game next week. With two weeks to prepare for Georgia as the starter, the players on the roster are excited to see what Harris can do. 

"We believe in Treon,” Florida running back Kelvin Taylor said. “We're just going to build off (the LSU loss) and just keep getting better and better.”

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