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Florida turning to ex-Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire as starter

A change at head coach has not surprisingly led to a change under center for Florida.

Thursday afternoon, interim head coach Randy Shannon, who took over for Jim McElwain when he was fired earlier this week, announced that Malik Zaire will start at quarterback in this Saturday’s game against Missouri.  Zaire replaces a struggling Feleipe Franks, who had thrown for 273 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions in his last three starts combined.

“Malik is the starting quarterback for this upcoming game at Missouri,” said Shannon in a statement. “This is his opportunity to get this team where it needs to be and not to be satisfied just because he’s the starter.

“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.”

Zaire came to UF as a graduate transfer from Notre Dame and had been expected to start for the Gators from the get-go.  However, he lost the starting job to Franks and was actually the No. 3 quarterback most weeks, appearing in just two games this season.  on the year, he’s completed 12 of his 23 pass attempts for 142 yards.

Franks started six of the Gators’ seven games this season.  Luke Del Rio started the other, but suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the Sept. 30 win over Vanderbilt.