Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced Wednesday that freshman quarterback Treon Harris will start for the team when it takes on the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville, Florida, on Nov. 1.
“Treon, you saw what he did late in the game [against Missouri]. He has a knack for making plays and making some good things happen for our football team,” Muschamp said. “We’ve struggled with production at the quarterback position and that’s been an issue for us – along with some other [positions] – but that’s been a huge issue for us. He’s a guy that has a knack for making plays.”
Harris will have two weeks getting first-team repetitions ahead of the Gators’ showdown with the Bulldogs.
“He has a much better understanding [of the offense] as we continue to move forward,” Muschamp added. “We got an open week now where he’s getting a bunch of reps.”
Redshirt junior Jeff Driskel, Florida’s starter since 2012 (including all six games this season) will “still have a role on our football team as a quarterback,” though his responsibilities were not specified by Muschamp on Wednesday.
“Treon Harris will start the Georgia game, he’s getting all the reps right now. And Jeff’s certainly going to have a role in that game,” he said. “Jeff’s a guy that’s an experienced player for us. We’ll continue to move forward with Jeff playing a role on our football team as a quarterback. What that role will be, we’ll see moving forward.”
Seeing limited action in three games, Harris appears to have played better than Driskel this season, boasting a 233.3 passer rating while completing 12-of-18 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns to just one interception. He’s also gained 51 rushing yards and scored a touchdown on 15 carries. But most of that yardage and two of those passing scores came on two tosses late against Eastern Michigan in Florida’s season-opener.
Harris, however, directed the Gators’ offense on all four of its scoring drives against Tennessee and Missouri.
Driskel has regressed as the season’s advanced into its middle stage. He’s completed just 53 percent of his passes for 928 yards with six touchdowns and 10 interceptions (one pick-six). He’s also
carried the ball 32 times for 113 net yards and a touchdown, but lost two fumbles, including one returned for a touchdown last week.
“Fifteen turnovers in the last four games has been a killer for us. We can’t afford to turn the ball over. We’ve lacked explosive plays and production at the quarterback position,” Muschamp said.
SEC TELECONFERENCE NOTES AND QUOTES
» Florida’s football team had off on Monday, but the team returned to practice Tuesday and will do so through Thursday before it officially begins preparations for Georgia.
» On blocking out the negativity: “We just try to control the controllables. WE repeat that to ot our players a lot. … We need to play better, that’s the bottom line, need to coach better> Those are the things we need to focus on and improve in ourselves. Find an identity offensively on what we can do and what we can do well. Block out as much as you can. you’re going to hear it. that’s part of it, playing at a place like the University of Florida. Our players understand that.”
» On what the recruiting trail was like on Monday: “It was good. It was good. It’s still the University of Florida, a great education. We’re moving on the recruiting trail very well. Signing Day is in February.”
» On athletic director Jeremy Foley‘s statement and how the Gators can save this season: “We need to win some games, that’s the bottom line. We look forward to our preparation this week and next week getting ready for Georgia. I appreciate it. I think Jeremy sees a lot of the things that are going on in our program, certainly a huge part of that is winning games, and that’s not what we’ve done. But academically, socially, all the things we’ve done within our program to change the culture has been outstanding.”