On Aug. 11, Florida coach Billy Napier named his starting quarterback.

And the work began in earnest for Utah’s defensive staff.

Wisconsin redshirt junior transfer Graham Mertz will be under center when the Gators make their-first ever trip to Salt Lake City.

A three-year starter for the Badgers, Mertz threw for 2,136 yards and 19 touchdowns with a 57.3% completion percentage and 10 interceptions last season as Wisconsin finished 7-6.

Unlike Gators signal-caller Anthony Richardson a year ago, who rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns against Utah, Mertz is not going to beat you on the ground.

In nine games against ranked opponents as a starter at Wisconsin, he threw five touchdowns and 12 interceptions, per Matt Hayes of Saturday Down South, winning just two of those contests.

Following a below-average outing last year, Mertz gets a fresh start in Gainesville.

“It’s an honor, it’s a blessing, and I’m going to treat it as such,” Mertz said.

As for the positives, Mertz has started for a name-brand program before, so carrying the weight of being the starting quarterback for Florida is nothing new. He knows what to expect.

He’s able to manage a game effectively with short and medium passes, mixing in the occasional deep shot. If Mertz can keep the mistakes to a minimum and keep the passing game humming enough to allow Florida’s run game — productive backs Montrell Johnson Jr. (841 yards, 10 touchdowns) and Trevor Etienne (719 yards, 6 touchdowns) — to thrive, the Gators certainly have a chance to upset the Utes for the second straight time.

“He’s a very efficient thrower, very efficient thrower. I do like his arm strength. I think he has a beautiful touch, and so I think he’s going to be a very good quarterback for Florida,” Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah said.

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Mertz, who was sacked 23 times last year at Wisconsin, will have four new offensive linemen in front of him.

The No. 1 target for Mertz will likely be senior wide receiver Ricky Pearsall (33 catches, 661 yards, five touchdowns), who was Florida’s leading receiver last season. Beyond Pearsall, it’s a fairly young room, with redshirt sophomore Marcus Burke and sophomore Caleb Douglas projected to be the other starters. Redshirt senior Dante Zanders (10 catches, 75 yards) and redshirt freshman Arlis Boardingham look set to be Florida’s tight ends.

“I’m very excited about what this offense can be. From the start of camp until now, we’ve made strides in taking care of the ball, being aggressive, taking what the defense is giving us. When we have the opportunity to strike, we will,” Mertz said.

With the mystery of who is starting at quarterback for Florida solved, the job for Utah’s coaches — who were already looking at Mertz’s tape before he was announced as the starter — becomes clearer.

“Now it becomes our obligation to study that particular player,” Shah said.

‘How is he moving to his right, to his left, throwing the short, intermediate, deep ball? Is he a progression guy? Does he tuck and run? And then when he does, where is he looking? Where do you want to engage on an upfield? Do you want to shoot inside or outside hand? All of those things matter because now you’ve named somebody that we can begin to study a little bit more.”

Of course, Billy Napier’s and Florida offensive coordinator Rob Sale’s system and scheme is different than Wisconsin’s, but Shah can learn a lot based on Mertz’s Badgers’ film, combined with watching tape from Florida’s offense last season.

“The scheme is a little bit different, what he’s going to be asked to do is a little bit different ... but some of the things are pretty consistent,” Shah said. “Is he under center? ... What’s his footwork saying? Is he in the gun? ... What’s his footwork on the mesh read? Is he going to do RPO? ... How does he read RPO? Whether it’s going to be an inside play or an outside read. Those things are fairly consistent.”

The Gators will certainly have packages and plays for the Utah opener that have never been seen before.

“I’m certain Florida will come here and they will have their wrinkles and their things that they’re going to do. We played them last year. Same coaching staff, outstanding group, have really good ball players as expected,” Shah said.

Utah’s defense has waited a year to try and get revenge for last year’s poor showing in Gainsville, and they’ll get their chance next week.