Florida Gators QB Treon Harris to Start Against Georgia Bulldogs


The Treon Harris era for the Florida Gators will officially start November 1 against the Georgia Bulldogs. Will Muschamp named Harris the starting QB for the annual tilt in Jacksonville. Muschamp also mentioned Jeff Driskel would still see playing time on the field, but how much playing time he’ll receive still remains an unknown.

During the weekly SEC teleconference, Muschamp spoke highly of Harris’s ability on the field:

"“Treon, you saw what he did late in the game. He has a knack for making plays. We’ve struggled with production at the quarterback position, and that’s been an issue for us along with others. We’ve got an open week where he is getting a bunch of reps. Right now we felt like that was the best move moving forward.” – Will Muschamp on Treon Harris"

Harris burst onto the scene with a bang. In his first game against Eastern Michigan, he threw two passes for touchdowns of 70 and 78 yards. He next saw playing time against Tennessee when his presence sparked the offense and helped engineer a comeback win. Harris of course was held out of the LSU game after sexual assault charges held him off of UF campus the week prior, but returned for the embarrassing loss versus Missouri. He struggled a bit early on, making his first mistake of the season with his first drive fumble and throwing his first interception of his young Gators career. But he rebounded nicely to put Florida on the board in the last 17 minutes, throwing a TD and rushing for one. For the season, Harris is 12-of-18 for 263 yards and 3 touchdowns, compared to one INT. He’s also added 15 rushes for 51 yards and a TD on the ground. Muschamp said the off week has helped Harris get in reps as he continues to learn the offense.

With Driskel at the helm, the Gators offense struggled mightily. Florida’s turned to ball over 15 times in its last four games. Driskel has been responsible for 13 of them. He’s started every game this season and the offense has steadily declined as the Gators have lost three of the last four games. With Driskel at the helm, Florida’s offense seemed to be most effective when he was carrying the ball, not throwing it. The offense has been inconsistent and hasn’t been able to hit on many passes over 15 yards, part of the reason why it looks like the Gators are stuck in neutral. The receiving corps haven’t helped the cause either, dropping numerous passes that would help sustain drives. On the season, Driskel has completed 97-of-183 passes for 928 yards, six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He’s also carried the ball 58 times for 155 yards and two TDs. We’ll have to see what his role in Florida’s offense will be in the future, but he could be used much like Tim Tebow was during the Gators’ 2006 BCS Championship run.

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So far this year, Florida’s ranked 101st in total yards per game at 368 and 76th in points per game with 28.7. But those numbers are inflated due to their season opener against one of the worst teams in college football, Eastern Michigan. Since then, the Gators have scored over 30 just once and they needed triple-overtime against Kentucky to do it. The offense certainly isn’t going the way new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and Muschamp envisioned. But now with Harris at the helm, the production could ignite.

Former Gators QB and current SEC Network analyst Tim Tebow was critical this week of Florida’s lack of leadership, saying that’s the reason why the Gators haven’t been able to play at a high level recently. Ask anyone around the football program and they’ll tell you Treon Harris has that “It” factor that leaders possess. Now that the reigns have been formally turned over to him, he has a chance to change to course of UF’s season and become (more) of a celebrity in Gainesville. If Harris can come out of Jacksonville with a win, he may even save his coaches job.