Mullen: Franks handled well the change at QB vs. Missouri

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Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks, left, slaps backup quarterback Kyle Trask (11) on the shoulder as Trask prepares to enter the game Saturday against Missouri at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/ Staff photographer]

By Zach Abolverdi, Correspondent

If he wasn’t already, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask is now the most popular man on campus.

The redshirt sophomore replaced starter Feleipe Franks in the Missouri loss Saturday and played well in the first extended action of his collegiate career. The homecoming crowd cheered when Trask took over for Franks in the third quarter.

At times this season, Franks has sulked on the sidelines after a bad series or a turnover. But UF coach Dan Mullen didn’t see those emotions from Franks when he was benched.

“I don’t think his attitude was bad,” Mullen said. “It wasn’t a halftime discussion, at all. Feleipe handled it well. We’re here to win the game, we weren’t playing well in the game, so let’s try something different.

“And, I know it gets a lot of attention at quarterback, but it doesn’t (with the staff). We’re going to put in different guys and see if someone can get in there and go make a play.”

Trask did just that with his first possession, leading the Gators on a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive. He capped off the series with a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Hammond on fourth-and-goal.

The reaction from Franks? He signaled TD as the players were coming off the field and stopped Trask to give him a hug.

“Feleipe’s a very high-spirited dude and he knows what’s going on,” running back Jordan Scarlett said. “He’s not one of those dude’s that’s going to be in the dumps about not playing. He’s going to cheer Kyle on and cheer the team on.

“Even afterward when we were in the locker room, he was still telling everybody good job, way to run hard, keep doing your thing. So I’m not really worried about Feleipe being down in the dumps or anything.”

Trask finished 10 of 18 for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Franks completed just nine of 22 for 84 yards against the Tigers, who came into the game with the SEC’s worst pass defense.

Florida tight end R.J. Raymond admits Franks played poorly, but feels the entire offense did as well.

“Feleipe was just struggling tonight, it is what it is,” Raymond said. “We’ve seen that with people. It’s just because it’s the quarterback that it’s such a magnified change. You see running backs struggle all the time or right guard struggle or right tackles, and they get pulled.

“But because it’s the quarterback, it’s such a big issue. … Yeah the execution was bad, but the media and people out there are going to blame it all on Feleipe. But at the end of the day, it’s all of us. It’s a team and that execution comes down to our preparation.”

That preparation must improve in practice this week as Franks and Trask duke it out for the starting nod against South Carolina. Scarlett expects that battle to fire up the offense.

“It definitely will be very competitive between those two guys,” he said. “I think it’ll be a good thing for us because it’ll bring some juice back to us and that’s something we need.”

11 COMMENTS

  1. Zach – As always, you’re a breath of fresh air with your positive support for the players and coaches. You don’t dwell on the negative. You know what I hate worse than losing on Saturdays? Listening to all the Monday morning quarterbacks throughout the next week who second guesses the coaches, advocating benching this and that player, and even go as far as suggesting a coach be fired. The negativity is bad for the program and for recruiting.

  2. Regardless of this or that, here’ is what I saw Saturday. Trask has touch. Franks does not. Trask can see the open receiver, most of the time, it appears to me Franks does not. But the most important thing I noticed, Trask can hit the open receiver, Franks could not last Saturday. THBC would pull someone as accomplished aas Wuerffel in a heartbeat if he was having a bad day. If Mullen would have pulled Franks in the second quarter, perhaps better offense would have fired up the defense?

    • Here’s what I saw. Franks had his worse game in a long time and couldn’t hit the ocean from the beach and needed to be pulled cause there was no coming back from the slump he was in. I saw Trask step into the game more than half way through, completely fresh and full of energy, who the defense had no clue about what he does best or any idea how to stop him as they’ve never seen any tape on him. The defense, with a comfortable 25 pt lead was in a bend but don’t break prevent defense and Trask was able to capture lightning in a bottle for 2 series. Yes, it was great to see him having a little success, but it’s certainly not surprising considering the situation he stepped into with the element of surprise giving him a little boost. Do I think this is all the proof needed to claim he’s the better Qb from here on out, absolutely not. Yes he deserves more opportunities to prove he’s that guy, but I’m afraid once the element of surprise is taken away and defenses can key in on what he does best, we might see a completely different player. Trask deserves more playing time, but don’t be surprised if you see a different QB when the defense can plan for him. There’s a reason he hasn’t played till now and I’m pretty sure that reason isn’t because Mullen is clueless.

        • We don’t know that’s my point. I did say he deserves a shot and hopefully we’ll find out. People seem to already be jumping to the conclusion that he’s better from playing in only 3 series. I’m simply saying it’s a little premature to jump to those conclusions and to temper expectations. What happens if he starts and throws 5 ints, are the fans going to start bashing him like they do Franks?

      • Mizzou rushed four against both Franks and Trask, they had the same amount of time. Trask saw the open receiver and has the touch to put it there. I’m not getting down on Dan, he will play who he thinks gives us the best chance to win, period. I’m just stating what I saw. SOS would pull a great QB if he was having a bad day just to see if something good would happen.

  3. I understand what Mullen is trying to do. I think in practice Trask and Frank’s are close into what Mullen wants to do, Frank had the ideal look when you’re looking for a QB. Tim Tebow, wasn’t the most accurate passer, he had IT factor a gamer, he had high football IQ for a QB that made up for his throwing ability. I’m judging Frank’s on this season, when coaches put on Frank’s, this is what they see, Franks make about 5 wow throws, short high percentage throws and WTH is wrong with him throws. Running and wideout screens and a few wow throws by Frank’s is what Florida offense has been living on. Trask makes a defense more honest, with his skill set. That remains to be seen.

    • Your take on Tebow not being the most accurate passer is inaccurate. At the end of his college career, Tebow was the SEC’s all-time leader in career passing efficiency (170.8), completion percentage (67.1%) and passing touchdown to interception ratio (5.5 to 1).

  4. Franks is a good guy and doesn’t deserve the hatred but it comes with his position.

    I suppose you could argue that he at least now is a little better than he was.

    I remember the Vols took a bench warmer named Daryl dickey and had a great finish. The second half is like a new season and guys have to find a new way to win. Or someone else will.

  5. I don’t know why picking one guy over another or wanting to give another kid a try , or even stating the obvious about a player is “negativity” and the equivalent of hating the kid personally. Watching Franks play the last two years has been frustrating. He has had his good moments, but also his bad. I have yet to meet a single Gator fan who felt confident with him at QB.I don’t know any who hate him either . We want him to succeed and be great. I would have done the same thing Coach did, and I trust Coach Mullen completely. When you have a kid as big and as strong as Felipe, especially with that gun of an arm, you have to give him an opportunity to play and to learn from his mistakes. Maybe just sitting is enough for him to learn. Maybe making a change at QB is what is best for him and the team, more importantly. But he has been given a chance for several months and games now. My loyalty is to the Gator football team over any one player. and if that is being “negative” on a Gator sports forum, then so be it. Kyle, like Felipe, is a great kid. He has been patient and has not bitched or moaned about not playing. Maybe he needs to catch a break and see what he can do to help his team.