Both quarterbacks will play for the Gators in the opener, but sophomore Treon Harris will take the first snap.
Florida coach Jim McElwain announced Wednesday afternoon that Harris will start in Saturday’s season opener against New Mexico State at 7:30 p.m. But the first-year Gators coach added that redshirt freshman Will Grier will also play in the contest.
“Someone starts and someone comes in,” McElwain said. “I think both were deserving of it and both had a really good spring and fall. We’re excited about seeing those guys play.”
Harris brings experience to the field, as he led the Gators to a 4-2 record in six starts last season. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 1,019 yards and nine touchdowns, and ran for 338 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman. Meanwhile, Grier took a redshirt last season.
Many believed Grier would win the starting job because he fit McElwain’s pro-style scheme better as a pocket passer. But McElwain was quick to point out that the decision doesn’t mean Harris will be the starter for the rest of the season.
“I wouldn’t read that much into it,” he said. “Treon is going to start the football game and Will is going to play in that game a lot, too. This is still a painting in progress.”
The rhythm of the game will dictate how the quarterbacks are rotated in and out. But each one will have their first eight plays scripted for them.
McElwain informed the team of his decision before announcing it to the media Wednesday afternoon.
The competition for the full-time starter spot is definitely still on. McElwain said there are still things he has to learn about Harris and Grier.
“I’m really interested to see [the quarterbacks] in The Swamp when it’s for real,” McElwain said. “I don’t think we can truly answer those questions until we get into the stadium.”