New Florida Gators head football coach Randy Shannon has already made his mark on the team on the field. He announced Thursday that Malik Zaire will make his first start as Gators quarterback this Saturday against Missouri.
"Malik is the starting quarterback for this upcoming game at Missouri," said Shannon. "This is his opportunity to get this team where it needs to be and not to be satisfied just because he's the starter.
Zaire is a graduate transfer from Notre Dame who has played in two games in relief this year for Florida, the Michigan and Georgia games. He led the Gators to their only score in the 42-7 loss to the Bulldogs in Jacksonville.
"Today is an opportunity for him to run the offense and understand the expectations that we have for him. This is not a time for him to feel comfortable and feel like he's made it. We want him to keep grinding and understand that competition is very good." Shannon said.
Former starter Felepie Franks will serve as Zaire's backup against Missouri. This is the second time this season Franks has lost the starting QB job with the Gators. Former starter Luke Del Rio beat out Franks after leading the Gators to a comeback win against Kentucky. However, Del Rio was hurt in the next game and Franks reclaimed the starting job.
Florida (3-4) plays at Missouri at Noon on Saturday. The game will be televised by ESPN2.