Andreu’s Analysis: Don’t write off Franks

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Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks looks unloads a pass against FSU at Florida Field in the Nov. 25 game. Seminoles lead at the half. Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Based on conversations I’ve had with fans and friends, and after listening to talk radio the past few weeks, the consensus out there seems to be that Feleipe Franks has little or no chance of being Florida’s starting quarterback on opening day Sept. 1 against Charleston Southern.

My response to that is this: Hold on for a little bit and let’s wait and see what happens in the first two weeks of spring practice. By then, we’re going to know a lot more about Franks and the other quarterbacks in terms of how they’re fitting into Dan Mullen’s offense and what kind of potential they have.

There are certain things about Franks that we all agree on. He’s got a great arm. He’s got great size (and getting bigger and stronger if you check out a recent photo of a shirtless Franks on Twitter following a workout). He’s got athletic ability. He’s got a considerable upside. What he doesn’t seem to have is a natural feel for playing the position in terms of pocket presence, reading defenses and the ability to make quick, and correct, decisions where to go with the ball.

Reversing the negative side of Franks is where Mullen comes in. His track record for developing quarterbacks, and fitting the offense around them, is exemplary. In Franks, Mullen is going to have a lot of ability and potential to work with. And he’s getting a kid who has a great work ethic and wants to be coached. He wants to be a great quarterback.

So, before we cast off Franks, let’s give Mullen a chance to work with him, to coach him, to develop him. I would think Gator fans would be excited about the possibility of what might happen putting a kid with this much raw talent with a coach who really knows what he’s doing.

If anyone can transform Franks, it’s Mullen. Let’s give it some time to see if that transformation occurs in the spring. If it doesn’t, maybe Franks will be at FAU or some other school by the time the fall rolls around. But I just have this feeling that Franks might be right here on Sept. 1, in The Swamp, Florida’s opening-day starter at quarterback.

 

92 COMMENTS

  1. If Mullen can transform Franks into a 25 carry per game “quarterback” then the rest of the offense will come into play. Let’s not forget that this offense will be a run first, run second, run third, pass in the classroom or on 3rd and over 6 to go. Those passes will be bubble screens, wider receiver screens, shovel passes, and 5-7 hard curl routes. Franks will definitely not need his great arm in Mullen’s offense. If he’s going to bulk up, and put on 10lbs of muscle, he’ll be a force! Tebow couldn’t read defenses and relied on the sidelines to tell him what play to audible to every down. If Franks can be durable, he’ll be great!

    • Tommy is exactly right. Mullen’s offense is run-first and boring. Franks doesn’t need pocket presence, he needs 10-15lbs of bulk, he needs to not cough up the ball, and he needs moderately slow wideouts willing to spend their careers primarily blocking downfield.

    • I think dude was exaggerating the point that Mullen has a history of fielding QBs that rely heavily on run pass option. His point holds and I too hope Franks can improve decision-making and learn defenses enough that his size helps him be a legitimate contender. People forget that he was so raw that he was said to basically be running practice during HS. Add incompetent developing to that at the college level as well and it’s no wonder the kid looked lost all last year.

  2. I have a “wait and see” attitude about “stare-down” Franks. If a 62 year old man who never played college football can figure out where Franks is going to throw the ball, then so can every defense in the country. He needs to quit focusing on who he wants to throw the ball to and be much less transparent.

    • I don’t know if the problem was Franks being transparent or whether it was the transparent, predictable, one paragraph offense that McElwain and Nussmeier forced him to run. None of the other QBs on the roster had much success and Franks will only be a sophomore this year. Let’s give him a chance in Mullen’s offense before we call in the moving van.

      • That’s what I think too, oldman. He was handled with such kid gloves and a limited playbook last season that I kept screaming at the TV, “Challenge him, open it up, enough with the dinks and dunks already!”. Good grief, the coaches demonstrated such lack of confidence in him–despite starting him–how could the kid ever be confident behind that piss-poor excuse for an O-line he had to deal with in the first place? Then again, maybe everyone on the other side of the question is right, he just doesn’t have a natural QB IQ. I don’t know, but Robbie sure has opened up a hornet’s nest on this one….best debate I’ve seen on this site in a long time, everyone with good opinions.

    • He needs to play more Madden, learn defenses, learn to throw to your second and third receivers and most of all learn to throw the ball away when needed.
      He came from a petty good school, not the best I have seen in Florida- HB Plant High- Tampa but WHS is a damn good school also just does not truly have the expertise in coaching. This is coming from someone who watch almost every game of Frank’s tenure at WHS.
      Go Gators!

    • I agree Skip, if Franks or Jones have difficulty with the offense, trouble with the blocking schemes, protecting the ball, etc, and Allen is the most reliable, I could see Allen getting a shot early in the season. Maybe with Toney mixed in for 10-12 snaps. He is not mentioned as often as you would think if he was advancing quickly, we will see. It seems to me that it will be whoever picks things up the quickest will get the early starts, with the position still open to whomever takes it.

      • “What he doesn’t seem to have is a natural feel for playing the position in terms of pocket presence, reading defenses and the ability to make quick, and correct, decisions where to go with the ball.”
        Well that is about 90% of being a great QB and most of it isnt teachable. For 50 years Ive observed coaches try to get qb’s not to stare down receivers and few ever learn. Reading defenses takes hours of watching tape with someone to point everything out to you, still some guys just dont get it, its greek to them.
        I also think Allen is the man to do the job.

  3. Dax Prescott ran Mullen’s offense about as well as one could reasonably expect (with the exception perhaps of generational talents). In his junior and senior years, he averaged 34 pass attempts/game and over 8.3 yards per pass attempt. not a “run first, run second…pass in the classroom (nice phrase though)” offense. Hard to get 8.3 yards per pass attempt on bubble screens, shovel passes and 5-7 yard hard curl routes; they threw downfield far more often than Tommy Lowe suggests.

    Prescott averaged 14 carries a game in his junior and senior years (contrasted with his 34 pass attempts a game); that’s probably the mix Mullen hopes his quarterbacks can maintain, especially if they can average 8+ yards per attempt.

    It’s a long, long way from 2017 Felipe Franks to 2014-2015 Dax Prescott but here’s to hoping…

  4. I don’t know why anyone is thinking that Franks WON’T Be the starter again. He is, after all, the ONLY QB who has ever taken a snap on a college field. He IS the highest rated QB coming out of high school. He is, by far, the most physically gifted of all the candidates.
    I don’t know about the propaganda concerning Mullen’s ability with QBs. After all, we were led to believe that McElwain was the “QB Whisperer.” We know that was just a lot of bull, and there’s been enough B.S. regarding players and coaches for almost a decade now.
    I’d be shocked if Franks IS NOT UF’s starter at QB. Maybe he’ll never be a good QB, and his debut can’t have anyone confident regarding his ability to be good. But, and this is the reality of the matter, UF just doesn’t have anyone else you could feel confident that they’re ready to play.
    You don’t have to have a good QB to win anyway. If Mullen is a good coach, he’ll figure out a way to just not let Franks give a game away, like he did against FSU. Except for Mayfield, none of the QBs in the Playoff this past year were anything to write home about.
    Anything’s possible. Just see the Jaguars this year.

    • Like jerrygator, I’ve got a challenge too, TebowCurse: I said I wasn’t going to take the bait anymore when you post. But I didn’t see any real bait in this post, instead more rational opinions….so I’ll simply say Glen Kemp and others have the right idea. Let’s wait and see what comes out of spring training, maybe a little bit of fall camp, and then make our own pronouncements absent Coach Mullen’s sharing any thoughts with us individually. Me, I’d be delighted if Franks develops like Robbie thinks he has the potential to do. If he doesn’t, then we know. If not him, pretty confident we’ve got a winner somewhere in that pack this year.

    • ” propaganda concerning Mullen’s ability with QBs ” It’s called evidence my lil’ troll, propaganda is what you spew on this site mixed in with horse manure. Enjoy this talking season dummy, once FB starts and Mullen comes up with a productive offense, regardless of who the QB is, then you will have nothing to troll about and will be gone.

  5. I’m far from a Franks fan after this past season. I said I would quit being so negative and this is my first challenge. If Coach Mullens can make him into something as a college Qtrback I’ll support. I’d like to see this happen and I also think Allen has something we need to see so the spring will be interesting. I can’t help but think we have a great spread guy in Jones. Regardless, I think Florida can be relevant this coming season and not writing it off as a starter for Mullens. I’m absolutely sure coach doesn’t think that way so let ‘er rip!

  6. I don’t think you can teach how to read defenses in a split second. Mullen will have to completely formulate his offensive scheme to accommodate this weakness. Quick release passes that are low risk can only get you so far. A strong running game like Ga. has is a must.

    • From a running back perspective, I like where the Gators are right now better than almost anytime in history (and my Gator history goes back to Doug Dickey’s “wait till next year” pronouncements after Game 3). Perrine, Davis, Lemons, Scarlett, Pierce, and Clement sounds like a stacked backfield to me.

      Obviously the OL is what’s gonna make or break the running game. If the OL makes any improvement at all, the running game can be a team strength and the Gators can start making up ground on UGA.

  7. I’ve felt all along that none of our offensive players could be judged based on what happened last year. Franks and the other QBs, in particular, never received competent coaching either for the Xs and Os or for the mental toughness, focus and preparation. You can’t really judge him at all on how unprepared and inept he seemed game after game because he had two of the biggest dummies in coaching whispering in his ear all the time. So, he and everyone else starts with a clean slate, and now we will find out who can play and who can’t.

    • he is faster than Miss State QB who was pretty successful under Mullen last year. Maybe he can not read the defense like that kid can but i bet that kid has also been coached up more than Franks has at any point in his career.

  8. Coach Timothy Scott: Many of us beg to differ. Bet you thought Franks was pretty good when he won the Tenn game for us. Predict here that Mullen will make all of the QB’s better. They weren’t coached very well in the McElvain era, blocking was terrible, and play calling stunk. I predict Franks will be the starter and will prosper under Mullen.

    • No I didn’t he got lucky I watched this kid in his initial spring game. He has no field awareness at all his feet are slow. Big arm yes but football IQ not so much. Now I don’t hide behind some phony made up name so any time you want to challenge my football acumen bring it otherwise don’t attempt to call me out Freddy fake name I will respond

      • Cease fire Tim! He wasn’t calling you out or challenging your football acumen (which I for one think is pretty damn sharp and enjoy reading, by the way). Gatorlover was just stating a conflicting opinion is all. This is all subjective at this point anyway, except for the objective data you based your thoughts on (if you want to see the ultimate in objective data, just read Mike (“give me the numbers”) once he starts posting again….all good ju-ju I respect….but as Robbie suggests, there’s an intervening variable now….that being Mullen and a new staff. And, the chance for a better O-line behind which even Mac’s dog might be able to play the position. Thus, I tend for side with gatorlover on this one, but none of us will know until it does or doesn’t turn out.

      • No, hasn’t proven to be “very good” thus far, so you’ve got a point there no matter if you’re an Anti-Gator or not. But finally with proper depth at the position now, a new coaching staff, and probably a better O-line….what’s to lose in seeing if Robbie is right or not?

      • Perfectly said if watch mechanics which will include things like foot work his head release etc. Some years ago Florida signed this kid from Maryland I believe he was the greatest QB ever. His name was Bobby Sablehouse, Spurrier couldn’t fix this guy. Anyone want to argue that there is better QB coach? If SOS couldn’t fix that guy I don’t think and I hope I’m wrong that Mullen can fix Franks

        • Got your point, Timothy….and I remember that guy too. Man, that goes back a whole lot of years. I’ve always said that the other side of this debate may be as right as those of us on this side of it think we are. But helluva debate, isn’t it? I’m about 51-49 on this one, but I still think there’s nothing to lose if Mullen tries to improve him, and the kid is actually no dummy despite what fans say about him.

    • Man, I still recall getting blasted a couple of months ago when I and a few others suggested that, Gatorhopeful. I still believe it, though. Better, however, would be if Robbie turns out right about not counting him out at QB just yet…..I think the depth at that position will be the best we’ve had in years, should that be the case.

  9. I have to agree about Franks not being mentally fast enough to play QB effectively. The usual progression is that the game slows down for the QB with experience – it clearly never did with Franks. He would spend 2 seconds in the pocket and panic – that’s how he was fsu’s MVP. Not sure that is 100% coachable. Maybe get him on the field as a fullback or TE. MacNuss’s lousy coaching obviously didn’t help either. Dan has plenty of talent to develop at QB this year – Allen, Trask, Franks, Toney, Jones. The competition will be fierce and fun to watch.

  10. Agreed. My thoughts most of the season (and many of the last 6 seasons) are that I have no idea if Franks (or Driskel before him) can play because I see him getting buried by the defense and sacked into next week every other play. I truly can’t say if Franks is part of the problem or part of the solution. Fix the offensive line and scheme the receivers open once in a while and you might just have a good qb in Franks. No doubt he can do some things better. And no question he can take a hit. Based on courage and toughness, Franks can play on my team any day (just maybe not at qb).

  11. If Coach Mullen can get Franks to NOT give the ball to the other team (and watch them score off his T/O), it’ll be an improvement! I, personally, am looking forward to Toney changing his number from #17 to #1 so I can have ”Percy Harvin flashbacks”. And for some, this comment section turned into an indictment against Coach Mullen’s offense. I hope he proves them all wrong! Even though I thought similarly, immediately after hearing of the Mullen hire. Go Gators!

  12. If Franks continues to bulk-up, and can block and catch, he might have a shot at tight end, otherwise he will never see the field again at UF, and will quickly pass into the forgotten ranks of McElwain failures. Sorry to be so harsh, but the young man made zero progress during his first two years at UF (yes, I know he was RS, but he practiced and watched tape) and clearly does not have the football IQ, field vision, or leadership skills to play QB in the SEC. I admire his toughness, and hope he gets to make a contribution to the team at some other position.

  13. In the BCS Championship game, Saban called on a freshman QB, Tua in the fourth quarter to save the game. The kid hadn’t played a quarter.
    Tua comes in and dissects the Dawgs Defensive secondary and makes critical passes and extends plays.
    He checked off at the line and locked-in the safeties by misdirection. The final 43 yard touchdown pass was something that maybe Joe Montana would have engineered.The point is, Tua has had a great deal of training and tutelege as QB. Marcus Mariotta was his mentor in High School. His football IQ is off the charts and Saban knew this.
    The point is it takes years to develop a top flight QB. Franks, although physically gifted, unfortunately is years behind in QB IQ. It is doubtful that he can learn this is IQ in 9 months.

    • You’re probably right, Lakeland…..good points all. Doubtful that he can totally master all those variables in such a short period of time, but let’s at least look for significant improvement in his Situational Awareness–Situational Understanding domain. With his mechanics, that would be something.

    • Tua received dozens of offers, so let’s not say Saban was the only coach to think he could play QB for his team. Bottom line is that Franks has been absolutely dreadful, and I am not sure if a few months of Mullen and Johnson can fix him or at least get him trending in the right direction…

        • Hey Rick, would it help if the rest of us weighed in c the Sun and reported him too? Maybe he’s referring to Rod, but that wouldn’t make it any less offensive. I can’t tell for sure if the guy is Anti-Gator or not, but maybe you ticked him off earlier and since you’ve been off-site for a while he got up the nerve to front you off or something. Still, no place for that crap here….we tear each other apart enough anyway, sometimes, but not like that.

          • Rick–I’ve already done it today, strongly recommending other long standing members on this forum do it too. Got the impression that some have.

  14. Going from the Nuss/McElwain offense to the Mullen offense is like going from Graduate School Abstract Linear Algebra to high school geometry. The reads and routes are MUCH easier to grasp. He’ll be just fine.

    • I’m not sure that Mullen’s offense will be much simpler and easier to grasp. But I feel pretty confident that the offense will be taught better, the players will be MUCH more mentally in tune with what it takes to play at this level, and the game day play-calling and game-planning will be much improved.

      • ….and also the strength & conditioning improvements too, Rog. Which also leads to team building and better mental acuity all around. My take is that Mullen is a “leader”, and just that alone would make a big difference in the lack of hustle or urgency we saw so much of in the last couple of years. I’m c you, bud.

  15. I am totally on board about toney I think he is the one but I haven’t heard a word about him returning to qb. Did I miss something? I’ve ripped Franks pretty good in the past but I do wish him well and I think he could be a good tight end if Mullen etc. Can’t get him to the level they need.

  16. At the very least we will have multiple options for Mullen to find a QB. Let’s not forget about Trask and Toney in addition to those Robbie mentioned. Whether Franks can be coached up or not we will soon find out but this is a much better situation than Grier going out and Treon Harris is the only option left.

    • I’m sure Treon Harris is a fine young man, CO, but man did I ever begin to shudder when he came onto the field. 3 and Out coming up. So hell yes, using that as a baseline, this depth we seem to be acquiring now at that position is a much, much improved circumstance. If Franks does develop, it’s icing on the cake. If not, there’s strength to go to, even if not proven just yet. Mullen is definitely in a good spot this year…..now if the defense continues to improve and the O-line can finally be consistently counted on……….

      This recruiting year will likely turn out better than “middle of the pack SEC”, and here’s to hoping that the next off season will bring in what we used to be accustomed to.

      • I hear you Gator 6 and couldn’t help but smile when I read the first half of your first sentence. Sort of a disclaimer if you will. But you know we are talking about football skill and not moral integrity or such. Point is we do have several options to turn to albeit not very good (Franks) or unproven (everyone else). Unproven talent is talent waiting to be developed, enter Mullen.
        Go Gators!

        • Roger copy, CO. Yeah, probably a disclaimer of sorts, I try real hard not to get into the politics of “hate” when it comes to young men who don’t, won’t, or can’t measure up….present group of 9 notwithstanding….but it’s like the old Jerry Reid song, sort of, “when you’re short you’re short”…..now that we’ve got a pretty good roster there to develop, I agree, ENTER DAN MULLEN.
          Go Gators back at ya’, buddy.

  17. I agree as well Robbie. Franks may just step up and surprise this spring with Mullen at the helm. His biggest weakness last season, other than being a very young QB, was that he stared down his primary receiver the majority of the time, had big time problems with reading defenses and going through his progressions and had bad awareness or pocket presence, which is mandatory in a pro style offense. He is a little like Tebow in that regard albeit Tim could improvise and make plays.

    The other thing that I think could give him a chance is, again like Tebow, in that Tim was successful in college running Mullen’s spread offense. Franks obviously will be learning to run the same spread attack, with less reads and progressions than Mac’s pro style and will be learning to get the ball out quicker. He may not have to think as much and let his raw talent take over. I’m also not discounting Allen or Trask just yet either. Trask has the size and arm in a QB that Mullen likes and he is a better athlete most would think. Allen is the ultimate competitor, who is a pro style QB, but is also a much better athlete than one might think as well.

    Should be a very interesting Spring!

    • Glad you brought those points up, 60sDC….I had been thinking something similar but couldn’t quite mentally capture it in words as well as you did. Like in golf, sometimes “thinking too much” suppresses the natural (raw) talents in us. I think if you’re right, that may be the key to confidence for him and he’ll be better all around for it. Wouldn’t it be something indeed if this youngster actually does experience a major metamorphasis and become a real standout star? The stuff legends are made of, I tell ya’. Great post, bud.

  18. Yes, I too think Franks has many upsides and also predict him to be the starter in the Fall. My critique of his play is for him not to roll out of the pocket in attempting to escape pressure. He needs to move around inside the pocket, find his receivers, and deliver a strike! Go Gators!

  19. The way I see it:
    To be an SEC top five QB you have to have a significantly above average QB IQ.
    To be an SEC East Champion QB you need top 10% SEC QB-IQ
    To be an SEC Champion you need BCS Playoff level QB IQ.
    To be the BCS Champion you need Heisman Contender level QB IQ
    Fellow Gators, what level do you want to aim for and eventually finish at? Take your pick and find that QB.
    Lakeland GatorNaught

    • Nice scheme Lakeland, hadn’t thought of it that way. I think #1, top 5 above average would be significant from last year……and make him able to contribute much better at the position…..but #4, BCS-Heisman Contender would be great, wouldn’t it? OK, we can dream, right? Seriously though, I’d settle for the first level and be tickled to death if he could get beyond that the next year.

    • Don’t know about that G Naught last I checked Jalen Hurts is all those championship things you list and at the same time is not the best QB on his own team. How does that relate into IQ as opposed to skill? There have been too many high IQ and high skill QBs that have not made it to the SEC ship game or the playoffs. Having one of those definitely helps but you still need defense and special teams, you need the whole package.
      I think we have had most of the ingredients except the QB play for the past several years with the exception of the six games Grier played.

      • I think you’re right CO, referring to Jalen Hurts in particular. Kind of a “hype v. reality” thing there–I’ve been disappointed every time I’ve watched him. Not sure what the magic formula is on that team, but they sure as hell win. Of course, Hurts has played behind an excellent O-line, has receivers who can catch the ball in space one handed (or with their teeth for all I know), and excellent coaches. Plus he can run, sometimes designed and sometimes on the fly. Otherwise? We’ve had QBs who could do all that and a whole lot more….of course, we had all the other stuff too, and were winning championships then as well.

        • Actually when we were winning championships our QBs were light years better than Jalen Hurts. Wuerffel and Tebow were the very best college QBs in their time and Leak had finally matured his senior season and played at a high level that year. Plus he had a young Tebow as a change of pace guy moving the chains for him too.
          The Bama teams of the last few years have been so stacked that they’ve gotten away with winning without a super star QB and even so if not for Tua they would have probably lost this last time around. That is scary to know that now they do have a QB who could be a super star.

  20. Well Gator fans, this string has been up for a while and will likely peter out before much longer, but I’ve got to tell y’all it has been just about the best debate I’ve been on in a long, long time. Great discussion, with a couple of exceptions that are best disregarded.

  21. The landscape is littered with former Florida QBs: Cam Newton, Jakoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel and Will Grier. Florida got to keep Austin Appleby (actually a grad transfer), Jack Del Rio, John Brantley, and so on. Will watch and see what happens after this QB scramble.