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  • Oct 4, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Florida Gators quarterback Treon Harris (3) prepares to throw the ball during the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. The Gators won 10-9 Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators Football: Treon
Turns Tables For Gators

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Written by Ryan Randall, October 4, 2014, 6 Comments,
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The stat line for Treon Harris reads as follows: 2/4, 17 yards; 4 carries, 24 yards. Hardly overwhelming, maybe even underwhelming considering his college debut against Eastern Michigan.

However, Harris provided something beyond the numbers — a spark to a Florida Gators team on the ropes at Tennessee.

On the road in Knoxville, the Gators were in hostile territory and facing a Volunteer team hungry to break a nine-game losing streak to Florida. The Gators offense was stagnant through the first three quarters, and the longer the team struggled moving the ball, the stronger the calls for Harris became.

After a strip fumble recovery by defensive back Jalen Tabor gave the Gators field position at Tennessee 30-yard-line, Will Muschamp pulled the trigger.

Weeks of posts and pleas from Gator Nation came to this. With 19 seconds left in the third quarter, the Treon Harris era began.

Florida replaced Jeff Driskel with Harris and immediately the change in momentum was felt. The offense moved more freely and effectively, moving down the field via short passes and the run. Moving down the field, the Gators would cap off a five-play, 30-yard drive with a Matt Jones touchdown run. The running back noticed the difference in the huddle with Harris.

“He doesn’t seem like a freshman,” said Jones. “I mean, he’s calm and relaxed. He plays like he’s a senior. Well not a senior, I wouldn’t say, but he played like he had a couple years of experience. He’s great with the ball in his hands.”

Harris’ dynamic and willing ability to run added a different dimension to the offense and opened up things even more for Jones, who finished with 114 yards. In the few passing attempts Harris had, the freshman didn’t play outside himself, focusing on moving the chains and picking up two first downs. The ability to move the chains put pressure on a Tennessee defense that had had success throughout the day.

“Having a mobile quarterback created more gaps with the running back lead blocking,” Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt said. “Guys had to get off the blocks, making plays. It was a change of pace for us, definitely.”

Along with his abilities on the field adding a different dimension to the team, the offense was focused on helping Harris. Offensive lineman D.J. Humprhies said Driskel would be able to see plays quicker than the inexperienced freshman, so they wanted to put Harris in the best position to succeed.

“Yeah, it’s a big difference from having a guy that’s been there and a guy that hasn’t, Humphries said. “You know what I mean? It’s a little bit of anxiousness, we’ve got to protect him more, so he can actually see stuff.”

Florida’s victory at Tennessee wasn’t a pretty game, but it was an effective and poignant one sparked by a freshman quarterback. Harris’ impact wasn’t felt in the stat column, but in the morale of the team and momentum of the game. What started out as a move to get things going offensively may end up being symbolic of what is to come for the Florida Gators.

Ryan Randall

About Ryan Randall

From Melbourne, Florida, Ryan has lived in Florida since he was three, becoming a sports fan around that age. His passion for journalism rivals his love of sports. Shortly out of high school he covered prep and community sports for his hometown paper in Brevard Country, before moving to Gainesville, where he covered the Gators in the pros as well as prep sports for a few publications. A Telecommunications major at UF, Ryan now interns at Gator Country and ecstatic to showcase his talents for the publication. When not working on stories, Ryan enjoys playing basketball, music, as well as art. Follow Ryan at @_RyanRandall_

  1. superg8rOctober 4, 2014, 9:36 pm

    Love the article.

    I, like many, went hoarse throughout the duration of the games praying for Jeff to piece it together and yelling for Treon. But let’s be honest, this isn’t truly a Driskel thing nor is it a Treon thing. It’s about the coaching staff giving this team an opportunity to experience the same spark / energy that both Clemson and LSU successfully captured earlier in the season. t’s about rewarding the defense that continues to play h ferocious and hard despite the myriad of youthful mistakes.

    We’re in a good place now, Gatornation. We know what we have Driskel and we’re giving Treon an opportunity to re-energize our offensive attack. Should the season take a rough turn into the upcoming meat of the SEC schedule, we have a legitimate safety net in Driskel and Roper can navigate our offense through more of the QB duo offense that he ran at Duke.

    Treon may not be ready, but this team, defense, & Driskel needed help. It looks like we finally received it tonight.

  2. scooterpOctober 4, 2014, 10:41 pm

    I thought it was interesting to see Humphrys quote that …”we had to protect him more, so he could see stuff”. I think that speaks volumes about the offensive personnel because they sure as hell didn’t help Jeff that much. I actually feel bad for the kid….but having said that, if the team responds better with Treon having the keys to the car, then so be it. The numbers don’t show it, but the energy, confidence, swagger or whatever term you want to throw in there all changed when the switch was made. There has been a little bit of “just going through the motions” with the offensive personnel when Jeff was in there. Everybody now has what they’ve bitching for. I hope it works out.

    • msoles24October 5, 2014, 1:44 pm

      I hope so but until that receiver corps finally steps up to the plate were going to be in the same boat. Treon was 2-4 on the completion rate and jeff was 11-23. Even though Jeff clearly had more opportunity the rate for both is still around 50%. I’ve seen Jeff put the ball in their chest on several occasions throughout the season and yet they still drop the ball. When is anyone going to have a serious conversation about that? I can’t believe our fan base thinks that Muschamp is actually the one calling conservative plays when we can catch a damn ball 6 yards from the line of scrimmage. Yep lets go for hail mary plays and deep balls since we’ve been sucessful with it all season. I wonder sometimes if I’m watching the same team that everyone else is. Andre Debose has been silent for 6 years and don’t let me get started with Quinton Dunbar. Its time for our receivers to spark some fire and stop relying on Matt Jones to run and catch the ball

  3. malscottOctober 5, 2014, 1:08 am

    It was meant to be. That stadium was rocking today. The place looked beautiful, the fans were rocking. Tough venue. To come out of there with a “W” is a huge win. Particularly based on where we’ve been. Maybe this Treon experiment will continue to pay us dividends. And, maybe it will fire up Driskel too. The team responded fabulously-that can’t be ignored. With LSU coming to town we need all of the positive mojo we can muster…home game in the Swamp, LSU, bit of momentum, new QB, we truly control our destiny…not too shabby. Go Gators.

  4. snowprintOctober 5, 2014, 4:50 am

    I can’t believe the comments from those above that still seem to think Driskel has any future with Florida. Driskel is, was, and will always be an awful quarterback. He is a cancer on the team and needs to be removed. If he really loves Florida, he needs to transfer to another team next year. He certainly isn’t leaving early for the NFL and you have to wonder if Muschamp is stupid enough to actually let him play a significant snap after his post-game comments. Do your coach, teammates, and everyone else a favor, Jeff, just leave.

    • milehighgatorOctober 5, 2014, 8:36 am

      Again snow print is dead on accurate: enough excuses for Driskel failing. He’s horrible and was regressing ( that means getting worse, not better) after 3 yrs. he has no instincts in the pocket, no confidence, horrible body language, and a weak arm– watch the film it tells it all.. Now all we need is a new head coach that will actually allow the off Coord to run his offense and not be a micromanager.. Muschamp must let go of the grip he has on controlling the offense and actually ” trust” his assistants..focus more on the defensive side which has shown weakness, inexperience.. This playing not to lose mentality will not change– he’s just digging the hole himself

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Treon_Harris_Florida_Gators_Football_100414_USAToday-150x150.jpg Ryan Randall FeatureFootball ,,,,,
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The stat line for Treon Harris reads as follows: 2/4, 17 yards; 4 carries, 24 yards. Hardly overwhelming, maybe even underwhelming considering his college debut against Eastern Michigan.

However, Harris provided something beyond the numbers — a spark to a Florida Gators team on the ropes at Tennessee.

On the road in Knoxville, the Gators were in hostile territory and facing a Volunteer team hungry to break a nine-game losing streak to Florida. The Gators offense was stagnant through the first three quarters, and the longer the team struggled moving the ball, the stronger the calls for Harris became.

After a strip fumble recovery by defensive back Jalen Tabor gave the Gators field position at Tennessee 30-yard-line, Will Muschamp pulled the trigger.

Weeks of posts and pleas from Gator Nation came to this. With 19 seconds left in the third quarter, the Treon Harris era began.

Florida replaced Jeff Driskel with Harris and immediately the change in momentum was felt. The offense moved more freely and effectively, moving down the field via short passes and the run. Moving down the field, the Gators would cap off a five-play, 30-yard drive with a Matt Jones touchdown run. The running back noticed the difference in the huddle with Harris.

“He doesn’t seem like a freshman,” said Jones. “I mean, he’s calm and relaxed. He plays like he’s a senior. Well not a senior, I wouldn’t say, but he played like he had a couple years of experience. He’s great with the ball in his hands.”

Harris’ dynamic and willing ability to run added a different dimension to the offense and opened up things even more for Jones, who finished with 114 yards. In the few passing attempts Harris had, the freshman didn’t play outside himself, focusing on moving the chains and picking up two first downs. The ability to move the chains put pressure on a Tennessee defense that had had success throughout the day.

“Having a mobile quarterback created more gaps with the running back lead blocking,” Tennessee linebacker Curt Maggitt said. “Guys had to get off the blocks, making plays. It was a change of pace for us, definitely.”

Along with his abilities on the field adding a different dimension to the team, the offense was focused on helping Harris. Offensive lineman D.J. Humprhies said Driskel would be able to see plays quicker than the inexperienced freshman, so they wanted to put Harris in the best position to succeed.

“Yeah, it’s a big difference from having a guy that’s been there and a guy that hasn’t, Humphries said. “You know what I mean? It’s a little bit of anxiousness, we’ve got to protect him more, so he can actually see stuff.”

Florida’s victory at Tennessee wasn’t a pretty game, but it was an effective and poignant one sparked by a freshman quarterback. Harris’ impact wasn’t felt in the stat column, but in the morale of the team and momentum of the game. What started out as a move to get things going offensively may end up being symbolic of what is to come for the Florida Gators.

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Oct 4, 2014; Knoxville, TN, USA; Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp during the first quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Florida Gators put the “ten” in Tennessee

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