Florida Gators to start QB Treon Harris in season opener; Will Grier will play, too

By Adam Silverstein
September 2, 2015

Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain announced Wednesday that sophomore quarterback Treon Harris will start the team’s season opener on Saturday over redshirt freshman Will Grier, though all McElwain claimed to have done was decided who will take the first snap against the New Mexico State Aggies.

“Will obviously will play,” McElwain clarified. “As we said, someone starts, someone comes in. 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 them both of those guys play. Treon will go out and take the first snap.”

McElwain cautioned that both Harris and Grier will have their first eight plays scripted and then get 3-4 series to show what they can do, though he did not note how that process would go.

“It was really close. From a coaching standpoint, you kind of feel good about that because you got two real good quarterbacks that are going to be able to go in and play the game. In this business, you’d rather have it that way than the other way,” he explained. “We just felt that [Treon]’s going to go start and Will’s going to play and we’ll play it out from there.”

McElwain then took a second opportunity to clarify that while Harris will be on the field first, Grier will not only see plenty of action but is still a candidate to win the job outright.

“I wouldn’t read that much into it. Treon’s going to start the football game and Will’s going to play in that game a lot, too,” he said. “It’s a painting in progress, and we’ve got to figure out what the backdrop is going to be.”

Neither Harris nor Grier is frustrated with the process, according to McElwain, who said the two are “good friends that coach each other on the field” and aligned in pushing Florida in the same direction. “I look at it as a true partnership of guys working together to help this team win ballgames,” he added.

McElwain also noted that Wednesday’s announcement should be of no surprise to Harris or Grier, saying, “We don’t have any secrets in this family. We talk about all this stuff together.” While he expects Grier to be disappointed that he won’t be on the field first, he noted again that “it’s a long season and, like I said, somebody had to take the first snap. Treon’s taking the first snap.”

Harris started the final six games for the Gators during his freshman season in 2014, totaling 1,019 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions along with 338 rushing yards and three more scores on the ground. Florida went 4-2 in those contests.

Considering the Aggies finished with the 118th ranked scoring defense in 2014, the efforts by Harris and Grier would likely have to fall at opposite ends of the spectrum for the Gators’ quarterback battle to be decided Saturday.

Florida and New Mexico State will kick things off at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will air live nationally on the SEC Network.


  1. Iamtheeggman says:

    There is no joy in Mudville tonight. I can’t think of a single pundit who didn’t say Grier was going to be the starter. The fans have, also, almost unanimously been singing the praises of Grier. Harris has been treated like a red-headed stepchild by fans and media alike. I, for one, didn’t jump on the Grier bandwagon over UF’s returning starting quarterback. I understand the reasons, the backup QB is always the most popular player on the team if the starter isn’t light out. But there was never anything concrete to explain the fawning over Grier. It was an example of the herding instinct, and the media was too lazy break away. But the fact is undeniable. At least for now, Treon Harris is the starter. I’m sure there are a lot of “expert” fans that are in a state of disbelief right now and some are foolish enough to question McElwain’s judgement before he even coaches his first game. We also don’t know who the team is behind, the P.C. talk is garbage. It’s just human nature to have a preference. The hard thing to do will be deciding how well either plays against a team like New Mexico State.

  2. swampman says:

    Egg man, If you saw either of them throw in person, there is a very clear difference. Grier can throw the ball 70 yards in the air and can make every throw on the field from sideline to sideline, Harris simply can’t. His range is 40 yards in 1 direction. Now does that mean he can’t be a good quarterback? Of course not. But what everyone saw indicates Harris could never be a great QB simply because he does not have the tools, the intangibles you need to be great. There is no slight for Harris, obviously the coaches saw something, but if you see them live, you see the obvious differences. I suspect that Mac may want to keep this team together with the existing starter until he has a chance to establish himself. I just don’t think we can keep Grier as a back up in the mean time. Judging from his Dad’s comments earlier today, a move may already be in the works. I just hope this is not Brissett all over again… Go Gators!

    • GoGators11 says:

      swampman says

      We actually haven’t seen Grier in SEC game situation make those throws, we don’t know how well he handles the pressure of gamedays, the competition he played vs Treon was night and day. I am not saying Grier can’t make those throws but he hasn’t shown it to us yet. Lets see how well he does the first two days before we pass judgment. Grier has been names started by us fans without knowing how practices been going, the reports we aren’t the best when it comes to information. He could be the started by game 3-4 but right now Treon is picked so lets see what kind of improvements he made. Also we had a HC last year who didn’t know jack shiii about the offense in general so lets wait and see.

    • Iamtheeggman says:

      I think you have forgot that the most important attribute of a quarterback is what is above the neck, not below it. If the latter was true, Grier would be sitting on the bench anyway. He’d be watching Jeff Driskel play, because he had all the attributes you attribute to Grier, who by the way has never done any of those things in a game. By the way, the only time I’ve seen someone throw the ball that far in a game, with accuracy, was Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin in Gainesville. When Muschamp said Winston had a howitzer for an arm after the game, he wasn’t lying. I saw it with my own two eyes.

  3. Daniel M. says:

    Much ado about NOTHING!

  4. gatorhippy says:

    Makes sense to me…Harris is the most game experienced QB on the roster and the incumbent starter…In the end, seems Mac is possibly making it Treon’s job to lose…It’s assured that Grier will get a healthy set of reps this weekend, but there will be a definite separation after this game…then we’ll really know who is going to be the man…

  5. Drew says:

    Treon deserves to start. He has won the battle thus far. People please don’t forget what Treon accomplished last year as a “true freshman quarterback” in the “SEC”. He was 4-2 as a starter, not to mention in an “anemic offensive system”. His stats were solid. He passed for over 1000+ and rushed for over 300+. And guys don’t forget the overtime game he loss to South Carolina was all on Muschamp. There is no way we should’ve loss that game. We dominated the entire game, yet still loss because of conservative play-calling in the 4th quarter. Also, lets not underestimated the arm strength of Treon. The kid can sling it and throws a nice ball. He’s fast and creates explosive plays outside the pocket and he’s winner. Most of all, Treon is a gamer! Grier will get his chance. If he’s worthy of winning the job outright he will get it.

  6. Michael Jones says:

    It’s like people read the article and then decide for themselves what it means, or what they want it to mean, instead of just reading the article for what it says. Whether you are pulling for Treon or Will, it is very clear that the decision hasn’t been made regarding a starting QB. Treon has not been declared the “starter.” McElwain made that clear. He’s just taking the first snap because somebody has to. If Grier were taking the first snap he wouldn’t be the starter either. We all know what a “starter” is and it’s not a guy who is splitting time equally with someone else.

    A STARTER HAS NOT BEEN DECLARED! HELLO!! That is the one thing that is clear from the article.

    But nice to see that you guys are already in midseason form.

  7. Mike The Red says:

    Grier will probably have his day eventually. Just not yet.

    If anyone was actually listening to Coach Mac, he told us weeks ago that Harris had a slight edge of Grier. Having said that, neither one of them was showing the consistency that he wanted. I think that you are going to see both of them play a fair amount this season. I suspect that Coach Mac will not be afraid to yank one and play the other if he does not like what he is seeing.

    There is also an intangible. Our receivers struggle catching the ball. Harris puts more touch on the ball. Besides if we cannot execute deep passes, it does not matter how far Grier can throw the ball. He will never get his chance.

    This probably is going to be a 2 QB season like we had back in the Spurrier era.

  8. Drew says:

    This is a little off subject but Will Muschamp did a lousy job of recruiting good wrs. And he did a lousy job of developing the wrs. Now McElwain has to rebuild that entire position from group up. Those guys haven’t learned anything about running routes or catching passes. This will take some time. Interesting to see how that position does this year. I like the move of putting Brandon Powell at WR. I think we should use Powell a lot like South Carolina does with Pharoh Cooper. In the slot and in the wildcat. Find a way to get him the ball. Moving forward, I do think McElwain will recruit better wrs.

  9. G2 says:

    I could see Treon coming in on some 3rd down situations even if Grier is the starter, The kid can get the 4-5 yards improvising if necessary.

    Think the success of the OL will have a lot to say about who actually wins the job, We won’t really know about the line till week 3 or 4.