Updated: Mullen hasn’t decided on starter at QB for Gators

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From left, Florida quarterbacks Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

It looks like Florida’s quarterback situation will be cleared up sometime within the next few days.

UF coach Dan Mullen indicated Monday he is moving closer to naming a starter following Sunday night’s scrimmage in The Swamp.

“We’re getting guys ready to go play right now,” Mullen said of the quarterbacks.”Over the next couple of days, (quarterbacks coach) Brian (Johnson) and I will really sit down and evaluate who is going to give us the best opportunity to win games.”

Mullen said the three quarterbacks — Feleipe Franks, fellow sophomore Kyle Trask and true freshman Emory Jones — all made progress in the scrimmage, and all graded out a champion.

“None of the three graded champion in the first scrimmage,” Mullen said. “All three graded a champion in this scrimmage. So, that’s a real positive of the steps they’re taking forward and the comfort they’re getting within the system and within the offense.”

Mullen said the coaches simplified certain aspects of the offense for the second scrimmage and the quarterbacks showed a better understanding and command.

The three shared reps with the No. 1 offense.

“I just think managing the game, a little better decision-making,” Mullen said of the progress the three showed. “I think the first scrimmage we were trying to get to show and get a look at a lot of different things. I think we simplified it for them and tried to treat it a little more like a game.

“That helped them. Whether they realized it as much as we did, I don’t know. I think just in that term, instead of just trying to get things called and taught, to get them more into a game flow and I thought that helped them a little bit.”

Mullen said earlier this summer there was a chance he would play more than one quarterback in the opener. He ruled that out Monday.

Once a starter is named, the intention is he’s going to be the guy for the season.

“Yep,” Mullen said. “Unless all of a sudden, they perform differently on game day than we’d expect someone to perform or something falls off the cliff that way. I’d like to have it that this is the starter and it’s their job from that point forward.”

The quarterbacks weren’t the only offensive players singled out for their scrimmage performance. Mullen also praised the play of running backs Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine. Malik Davis sat out the scrimmage with a sore ankle.

“I thought Jordan Scarlett, and Lamical Perine both ran the ball really well,” Mullen said. “(They’re) getting into a little bit more game ready form. I thought those guys kind of stood out.”

Mullen seemed pleased with the Gators’ overall performance Sunday night, but he said they still have some ground to make up before the start of the season in less than two weeks.

“I have such a high bar of where I want it to be, and I don’t think we’re close to that, but we’re progressing in the right direction,” he said. “I don’t think I freak out. Maybe I would have a long time ago where you’re like, ‘Oh, my goodness, this is where we have to be,’

“We’re heading in that direction. We’re going to be developing throughout the season. We’re certainly not going to be a finished product week one or two or three.”

46 COMMENTS

  1. All graded out a champion. Awesome. We are in good shape. These coaches are for real and developed the talent on hand. Cast down your bucket here! The storm is coming, and we are the storm!!!

      • ‘xactly what I was thinking. “the coaches simplified certain aspects of the offense for the second scrimmage” sets off alarm bells. For Emory Jones I can see, sure, but for Franks and Trask? Oh-no, said it ain’t so Joe. I am normally an optimist but to me, this highlights the need for a very strong run game.

        • It’s called throwing the kitchen sink at them early to see where each stands! Then you cater to each’s strength to improve and excel! It’s smart coaching and motivating at the same time!

        • They all started learning the offense at the same time (I believe Jones was an early enrollee and practiced in the spring, correct me if I’m wrong). It’d be too much to expect them to have digested the entire playbook by now. Up to this point CDM has been pretty honest (as far as I can tell) as to how the qb’s have been doing. I doubt at this point that he’d start blowing smoke and give them any sense of complacency. Hopefully by ‘simplify’, he just meant shortening the playbook, as many coaches do during a game week based on what defense they’re expecting to see. I’m always optimistic this time of year, and am trusting CDM and his offensive staff to put out a serviceable offense to start the year.

        • David I don’t think you should be alarmed about that at all. I would be more alarmed if Mullen took the approach of Mac and Nuss in that you keep the playbook super technical and expect the QB to adjust. We all saw how badly that approach failed. Mullen is doing exactly what he’s done his entire career and what he said he’d do all along, and that’s adjust the offense to fit his QB’s strengths. That’s the sign of a great coach.

  2. Man…it seems like Mullen has an actual plan with factors that extend beyond the next 24 hours. Gotta love it. Excited to see this staff clean up the messes made my previous regimes and get this program back in order.

  3. Just because they had a decent scrimmage doesn’t mean they are game ready.. I think we will probably see Franks be the starter with one of the other QBs taking over after he screws up the first or second game..

    I think Jones will become Tebowish in the first year and will win the starting job by seasons end..

    We will rely heavily on the running game to finish game 1 and 2 after we realize we still don’t have a good QB who can make an average throw.. Similar to what we did in 2012..

    Go Gators!

    • Mullen has been pretty honest about their development from the get go and not trying to sugarcoat things. The fact that he’s grading them out as champions now is definitely a positive sign that they’re much closer to being game ready then they were a week ago. You have to believe they’ll be even more ready in 2 weeks when it matters. Definitely an exciting thing to hear that they had a good scrimmage. We don’t need them to be Heisman contenders, all we need is for them to be good game managers and not turn it over and this should be a great season. Anything more than that will just be gravy.

      • agreed. I think we are being told to not be anxious about qb, so I wont. franks has started almost a year and did have a few good moments. trask is close, and so is jones. you could start one, have a change of pace, rotate in the young guy, lots of positive options.
        I am not as optimistic about the line, the linebackers, and the depth, but we should still be a good team, all teams have flaws.
        also, the champions of life is not a bad thing, it just looks like a consolation prize. to my knowledge that group of players were worthy of respect, I know their qb was. butch jones didn’t screw up Tennessee, the ad that fired fulmer did, and that’s what people should focus on. the idea is good, but the words need rebranding.

    • That is not a good scenario GM, because we just read that Mullen is not planning on changing it up and the starter will “hold the position”. So if Franks jacks it up and someone else has to come in, then either Mullen is not good at picking the starter and/or Franks is just that bad, either way, something is wrong. I hope whomever he picks stays the starter.

      • Didn’t say he wouldn’t change it up. He said he wasn’t using it to determine a starter. Whomever starts does well continues. If the starter fails we see a change in the game &maybe going forward. We may see different looks with all three. That doesn’t mean the starter is changing if we are doing well. He said awhile ago we will give defenses different looks.

        • @ 65 – When I posted my comment at 3:21 PM today, there were only a few sentences in this article so I based my comments on that, now I come back to read and there is a whole new article. I think I will wait to comment now until the article has been posted for a few hours.

          But, yes I agree now that I can actually see the entire article.

  4. Charleston Southern is building up a boatload of anxiety not knowing which QB juggernaut it’s going to be. Kiddingly posted a while back that Mullen should know by the Colorado St. game. Hell, maybe that’s the way it will go.

    Mullen either knows now and is delaying revealing or we’ll find out the Gators have three very, very average QBs. No problem, if two or three RB’s can stay away from the law, maybe Mullen can utilize Woody Hayes’ “Three yards and a cloud of dust.”

    • Wally Butthead. It is the grading system for player practice performance Mullen has used for years. Has nothing to do with “Champions of Life”. And Mullen does know something about being a champion of football. Butch Jones, not so much. And maybe Georgia should learn how to be a champion on something other than recalling good ole boy memories from 1980.

      • Tampa…. 1980 and Herschel is all UGA has. Let them cherish that memory even if it has deluded them for almost 40 years into believing they are actually relevant 🙂

        • Well, not exactly Rog….I mean, they do have a Waffle House up there in Athens that really does know how to make grits so even Sly wouldn’t have to doctor them up. Other than that, you’re right of course. 😁

  5. So you’re saying that in one week he fixed Franks?

    Just last week coach was saying he wasn’t impressed with these guys at all!

    Now I’m no genius, but even the QB whisperer can’t make a QB good that fast!

    Just remembering Franks in games and all the pick 6’s he threw or nearly threw sends shivers down my spine!

    Hope I’m wrong and the QBs have really gotten better but we won’t know for sure until gameday or beyond..

    • I think the Bama QB is better. The Georgia QB is better. The MSU QB is better. The Ole Miss QB is better. The Auburn QB is better. And Franks is better, too. How much better? We will know gameday and beyond…

    • Am I missing something? I didn’t read anything about fixing Franks (or maybe you’re referring to another comment and that’s what I missed). He said the QBs played better in the second scrimmage and one of the reasons is they simplified some things for them. No promises were made and no proclamations that our next great QB is here because he fixed them.

      And yes, how better is the question. Their play will tell. Everything else is just talk and observations. I’m hoping however that he has in fact fixed him so we can have some much awaited consistency at the position.

      • Can’t imagine it’s very hard to get Franks to play better than last season. I’m pretty sure even an average QB coach can accomplish that feat.

  6. I think Frank’s might be a practice warrior, good in QB drills, throws on one on ones, but game speed processing as what I have seen of him since the 1st spring game since he’s been here, I don’t see it in the sec. I have a feeling we will see in September.

    • Coach said “Once a starter is named, the intention is he’s going to be the guy for the season.” I think this is a BIG mistake! Ive seen too many “practice warriors” thru the years! You MUST see a QB in game action to truly evaluate him. By doing this he wont have that eval. on the other 2. I believe game action would show an entirely different starter than practice or a scrimmage where there’s NO game pressure! Game pressure makes an entirely different player out of most people. Few people are like Tebow who excelled under pressure and played better than at practice! It could be who screws up less under game pressure or one , like Trask or Jones, could play better. Ive already seen how Franks folds under pressure and with only the spring game to go on last year how Trask played better then Franks.

      • We can’t place a whole lot of stock in Spring game performances. I mean Del Rio was 10-11 for 176 yds and 2 tds in the Spring game. How’d that turn out? I’m just not sold on Trask. I don’t see leadership qualities out of him and I feel if he was as great as everyone seems to think he is, it wouldn’t have taken him 7 years to start his first game since middle school. I don’t care what kind’ve offense they ran in HS, if he was a superstar the coach would’ve found a way to utilize his talents. Lets be real here and face the fact that this is pretty much the same offense they ran at his HS. Jones will for sure get playing time no matter who the starter is. There will be packages for his skill set similar to what Tebow got his freshman season. I just have a feeling Franks is extremely motived this offseason and is going to surprise a lot of people. I’m really hoping for a Drew Lock type turnaround.

        • Joe – I’m kinda leaning to your way of thinking. I’ve been hoping Trask would step up and make the decision easy, but that apparently hasn’t happened. Unless of course ALL of the QB’s have stepped up and still made the decision difficult. But I’m starting to think that Trask hasn’t exhibited enough leadership to overcome Franks’ outgoing personality and skill-wise , both have been equal in practice, all things considered.

  7. Sounds like the QBs have made very good progress. We need all three to be game ready, no matter who starts. The starter could come out cold/off and need to be replaced. The starter could get injured (heaven forbid). O-Line needs to protect the QB and open holes for the RBs. My guess is we will use the run to set up the pass (duh). GO GATORS!!!

  8. Let all 3 QBs play in this exhibition game and see who can do it under the lights. We’ve seen Franks and fixing a panic attack problem may be too much for any coach. Trask seems more mentally in control; Jones may be the answer down the road. I hope we don’t have to suffer through 10 more miles of Franks’ boneheaded blunders before we even get a look at anyone else.

  9. I think fans need to be realistic and brace themselves for what I am pretty sure is going to be a less than stellar, and probably at times painful QB situation. It is going to take some game time trial and error to see who rises to the occasion, and that means enduring some bad QB play before swapping out to a new QB, maybe 3-4 times in the season, and probably loosing some games as a result. Hopefully one of them will rise to the occasion and at least prove competent, but chances are we don’t even have the future star QB on the team yet.

    What I hope to be the difference though, as opposed to the last several years, is improvement and progress, and the ability of the coach to manage the games, be creative, and make adjustments based on the problems presented, while still playing aggressively; and not using QB play as an excuse for doing nothing for 4 quarters. Think of Spurrier during the Johnson/Brindise days, or Meyer in the first two years with Chris Leak who was a good QB (yet prone to major mistakes late in the games) but didn’t fit their system, yet they made adjustments to the offense to be successful with him. It might not be pretty, but good coaches find a way to stay competitive. An 8-4 season BUT with hard fought close games in the losses, and I will be happy.

  10. The cool thing about this preseason is we are not only learning about our team, but our new coach. Every week it seems I get a better perspective on Coach Mullen. I originally didn’t think he wanted to come here. Now he has embraced it. He is upsetting my expectations in a good way. He seems to be handling these QB’s well and giving them some confidence.The guy who ultimately prevails in this QB competition is the one who is the most cerebral. I see a lot of Dabo Swinney and Meyer and Saban in Coach–the good things–and I’m happy he awarded the two walkons with schollys and I liked the way he handled it. He seems patiently impatient. He wants them to reach a goal he has in mind and quickly–but he also understands the process. I like how he is always positive , even with the pain in the ass media. We’ll see what happens on the field. I promised myself I would be patient this year and not be one of those fans.

    • “…patiently impatient”. MKF, that is a good way to say, “sense of urgency”, which I believe is the actual mental component missing during the entire Mac era.

  11. Just curious as to why you thought he didn’t want to come here initially? He was Gator chomping as he got off the plane after being hired.

    I seen nothing but excitement from him and reports on how happy he was to be back.

    • Yeah Dallas he even said he’s had several offers the last few years but they just weren’t jobs he was that interested in. He said as soon as he got the call from UF, his wife saw his face light up with joy and knew before he even hung up that he was going to take it. There’s no question this is his dream job and he’s going to be here for a long time as long as he’s successful. He doesn’t come across as a coach who has NFL aspirations.

      • Agreed. His offense probably wouldn’t fly in the NFL anyway. He definitely seems like a college coach. Muschump said something similar about the UF job when he left Texas and as much as I liked the guy, that just didn’t work out. Here’s to hoping Dan sticks around for many many years. Go Gators!

    • When he was at MSU , in the past, his comments about Florida seemed aloof to me. He seemed to imply he wasn’t appreciated at Florida and was happy to be at MSU . In retrospect, he was just playing the coaching semantics game and being loyal to his school–don’t blame him. What you see is not always what you get with coaches. Urban Meyer is a perfect example. I love Coach Mullen and we are blessed to have him back.

      • I saw Tebow interview him on SEC Nation once and his presence and way he answered questions had me dreaming then that he was our coach. Fast forward to another coaching search and I was convinced he wouldn’t come because his poor wife had to grocery shop in Orlando or something because she was afraid to go out in Gainesville. I have never been so happy to be wrong.

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