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Can Florida still trust Treon Harris to play quarterback?

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If Treon Harris gained ground without playing, he has lost it. Harris may someday be the Florida Gators’ starting quarterback, but he may have never been further away from the job.

It was one thing when Harris sat on the bench against Kentucky. Being suspended – allegedly for drugs – is worse.

How can the Gators trust him after this? If he does become the starting quarterback, how is coach Jim Elwain ever going to completely believe there will not be another Wednesday like this in the future? Like before the Georgia game? Before FSU?

From here, it seems that the only way Harris can truly get back into the mix is if Grier falters. Given the schedule ahead of Florida, that might happen. Given the way the offensive line struggled against Tennessee, injury is always a factor.

But Grier was running ahead of Harris, if only slightly. Now, that gap has widened. If Grier plays well, the job is his. Who pulls a quarterback who is playing well? But even if Grier plays so-so, McElwain may be reluctant to turn his team over to a player who may or may not be there in weeks to come.

For Harris, that’s the real damage here. It’s not in missing the Tennessee game. It’s in the way coaches look at you.

So far this season, Grier is 39-57 passing for 442 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Harris is 19-27 for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Grier has 114 yards rushing on 19 carries while Harris has eight carries for 55 yards.

For Harris, the path ahead seems fairly clear. Be happy with backup duty. Play well in spots. Make your teammates believe in you again. And hope Grier stubs his toe.

Cornerback Jalen Tabor will also miss the game against the Vols.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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