Feleipe Franks will be the first to tell you his film preparation wasn’t adequate in 2017.
With Franks under center, the Gators struggled to a 4-7 record last season, and UF once again finds itself holding a quarterback competition in preseason camp despite the presence of Franks, who signed with Florida while ranked the No. 5 pro-style quarterback in the 2016 class by the 247Sports composite.
He holds all of the physical attributes that make coaches salivate — incredible arm strength on a 6-foot-5 frame while also possessing sufficient speed for the position — but it’s the mental aspect of the game that has many questioning Franks’ future.
Following spring camp, Franks realized the bulk of his offseason preparation should entail countless hours of film study.
“I’m a big believer in the mental aspect of the game, because that’s something I’ve needed to improve on since I came out of high school is just the mental aspect of the game,” Franks said. “Because you have this athleticism, but when you get to a level like this, playing in the SEC, it’s more about the mental game.”
Coach Dan Mullen concurred that both Franks and Kyle Trask likely underestimated how much work goes into being a starting quarterback in the SEC, emphasizing it’s a process that may not pay off until at least next season.
“I think one of the ones that is hard is how much work you have to put in at the QB position to be successful. I think they are young guys and they’re still learning that,” Mullen said. “They should understand it by hopefully next summer. I was hoping maybe with just one of them it would really click, but I didn’t see that happen.
“But that doesn’t shock me. It might not even be next summer, it might be the summer after that. A lot of guys it takes two or three years of really working.”
While Franks’ progression won’t be determined until he takes the field for his second season of collegiate action, the Crawfordville native said he’s already noticed his craft improving.
“I do feel like I’ve made strides. And I think a big part has to do with just being more mature. Like when I first got here, I’ll be the first one to admit it, everything was more like, first I didn’t know how to adjust form high school to college,” he said. “I think a lot of that has to do with maturity, when you get older you know when to stop playing around. When time comes to watch film, there’s a time to watch film and there’s a time to be serious and joke around with your friends.”
Although the Gators have held just six practices in this month, Franks’ teammates have already noticed improvement from the redshirt sophomore.
“I can tell you he’s been more hard on everybody, I guess you could say he’s more demanding. More demanding of his receivers, like be the first one in the film room, be the last one out, be on time,” wide receiver Trevon Grimes said. “In the weight room, he’s in your face, he’ll telling you, ‘Put more weight on, you’ve got to go, we’ve got to win.’ Things like that. He’s going to contribute a lot.”
Grimes, who transferred to Florida from Ohio State and was recently granted immediate eligibility for the 2018 season, didn’t mince words when it came to just how dedicated Franks is to improving his game off of the field.
“He watches film like crazy, more than anybody I’ve ever seen. He it watches 24/7. He’ll be the first one in the film room, the last one out,” Grimes said of Franks. “The other night I was sleeping and he FaceTimed me. I’m like, ‘What is he Facetiming me for?’ It was this route for me to run. He flipped the camera. He was like, ‘I think you should go a little bit deeper.’ This is at about 9:30 at night. I’m like, ‘All right, I’ve got you.’ The next day we ran the same route and it was perfect. Just little things like that mean a lot and can be a game changer.”