University of Florida

Treon Harris named Florida Gators starting QB for showdown vs. Georgia

University of Florida freshman quarterback Treon Harris warms up before a game against Kentucky in Gainesville, Fla., on Sept. 13, 2014.
University of Florida freshman quarterback Treon Harris warms up before a game against Kentucky in Gainesville, Fla., on Sept. 13, 2014. AP

The University of Florida will start Treon Harris at quarterback against No. 9 Georgia on Nov. 1, coach Will Muschamp announced Wednesday.

Harris replaces struggling veteran Jeff Driskel, as the Gators (3-3, 2-3 SEC) look for a spark to save their season.

Florida has dropped three of its last four games, with Driskel committing 12 turnovers over the last month, including six in back-to-back home losses to LSU and Missouri.

“We’ve struggled with production at the quarterback position,” Muschamp said. “It’s been a huge issue for us. [Harris] is a guy that has a knack for making plays. He’s got a much better understanding as we continue to move forward. … The 15 turnovers in the last four games has been a killer for us.”

Harris, whose UF career was nearly sidetracked in early October following a sexual assault allegation, will have an extra week to prepare for the Bulldogs before the Gators travel to Jacksonville next Saturday. In a random coincidence, the University of Florida Police Department released the incident report Wednesday afternoon.

“We’ve got an open week now where he’s getting a bunch of reps,” Muschamp said. “Jeff’s still going to have a role on our football team as a quarterback. Right now we feel like that was the best move moving forward.”

Florida employed a two-quarterback system in a blowout loss to Missouri, and the results were disastrous.

The Gators had only 66 yards by halftime, trailing by three scores as both quarterbacks were unproductive.

Driskel started the second half, turning the ball over two more times before he was yanked. Harris, the former Booker T. Washington standout, tossed a fourth-quarter interception, but he also played a role in a pair of touchdowns (one throwing, one rushing) to avoid Florida’s first shutout in 26 years.

“You saw what he did late in the game,” Muschamp said. “He has a knack for making plays and making good things happen.”

Harris is 12 of 18 for 263 yards and four total touchdowns, and Muschamp indicated the freshman would play the majority of the snaps against the Bulldogs.

Muschamp was vague on Driskel’s future role with the team saying, “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, and what that role will be we’ll see moving forward.”

Driskel was 9-1 as a starter to open his career, but the junior is 5-5 in his last 10 games — with two wins aided by Florida’s backup quarterbacks.

The offense ranks No. 101 nationally and flatlined weeks ago with Driskel at the helm.

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