Grad transfer Malik Zaire to get first start for Gators

12:39 PM ET

Randy Shannon has made his first big move since being named interim head coach of the Florida Gators, opting to start Malik Zaire at quarterback against Missouri.

Zaire, who came to Florida as a graduate transfer from Notre Dame during the offseason, has been a backup until now. He played in relief of Feleipe Franks during the Gators’ season-opening loss to Michigan and hadn’t played again until getting more mop-up duty during last weekend’s blowout loss to Georgia.

“Malik is the starting quarterback for this upcoming game at Missouri,” Shannon said in a news release. “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.”