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Gators decide to start Treon Harris as their quarterback

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The Florida Gators ended up going with experience at quarterback, too.

Gators’ coach Jim McElwain announced Wednesday that he will start incumbent quarterback Treon Harris at quarterback Saturday when the team takes on New Mexico State in its season opener. Harris played in games last season as a dual threat quarterback.

For many fans, the advantage to redshirt freshman Will Grier was his newness. He was a four-star quarterback recruit who had never thrown an incompletion (or completion, for that matter) for the Gators, an untapped talent who could grow with the offense. That might still happen; McElwain said that Grier will play, too.

But the start will go to Harris, a quarterback who hit only 49.5 percent of his passes for 1,019 yards and nine scores and finished with a 4-2 record. Getting the start may be no small thing. Florida is a huge favorite over New Mexico State, and the better Harris looks, the more he will play.

“I wouldn’t read too much into it,” McElwain said. “Treon’s going to start the football game. Will’s going to play in that game a lot, too. This is still a painting in progress.”

McElwain pointed out that neither quarterback seized the job after 29 practices.

“It was really close,” McElwain said. “From a coaching standpoint you’ve got to feel good about that because you’ve got two real good quarterbacks. Both of them, I feel, are deserving of it. We’re excited about seeing these guys play.

“Somebody had to take the first snap, guys. Treon is taking the first snap.”

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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