Nothing has changed with Florida’s quarterback situation since Saturday night.
Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and true freshman Emory Jones are going to have a chance to compete in practice this week and at some point UF coach Dan Mullen will decide who’s going to start against South Carolina on Saturday, and how the other two might be involved in the game, Mullen said Monday.
“I’ve always said we’ll look and see how practice goes,” Mullen said. “We might play two quarterbacks, might play three. We’re still putting the game plan together. I want to just see, as we put the game plan together, we go out and practice it, who gives us the best chance to win. That’s kind of how we’ve done it all along throughout the whole year.”
Franks has been the starter since preseason camp and had been showing steady progress in the first seven games of the season. But he struggled in the loss to Georgia and then had a difficult time making anything happen in Saturday’s loss to Missouri.
After the offense had two consecutive three-and-outs to start the third quarter, Mullen pulled Franks and went with Trask, who provided an early spark, leading the Gators on a touchdown drive that culminated with his touchdown pass to Josh Hammond.
But like Franks, Trask also struggled to consistently move the offense.
Mullen said the two basically graded out the same in the game.
“Neither of them graded a champion,” Mullen said. “Their grades were about the same, about 71 or 72 percent. So, we’ll see how the week goes.”
In the 38-17 loss, Franks completed just nine of 22 passes for only 84 yards, while Trask completed 10 of 18 for 126 yards and a touchdown.
Mullen said the poor overall offensive performance is not all on the quarterbacks. They didn’t get much help, especially from the offensive line.
“We weren’t moving the ball well as a whole offense,” he said. “There were a lot of problems beside the quarterback. With that, we put in a young running back as well. We rotated some linemen and we put in a different quarterback.
“But, also, Kyle had a good week of practice, so you felt comfortable in doing that last week. So, we’ll see how this week’s practice goes.”
Jones, who had a chance to run a package of plays in the Georgia game, is also in the mix this week in practice, but the plan is still to redshirt him this season. He can play two of the last four games and still do that.
Mullen said he has to be cautious about how he uses Jones because he’s still early in his development and playing him as the starter too early could have a negative effect on his growth as a QB
Mullen said Franks probably became a starter too soon last season as a redshirt freshman.
“You’ve got to look at Emory and within his development,” Mullen said. “There’s an injustice to put guys on the field before they are completely ready to go play. Now, if I think Emory is completely ready to go play, we can go play him. If he gives us the best chance to win, we’ll go do that.
“But there’s also a lot of discussion you have to have with his overall development. It’s fair to say Feleipe probably played before he was ready to play. I think that’s hurt his development.
“Last year, seeing him, he played as a redshirt freshman. I haven’t played many redshirt freshman quarterbacks, as the starter. I don’t know that I have.”
Given the short time Jones has been in the offense, the starting nod Saturday likely will go to either Franks or Trask. But there is a chance Jones could be used similar to the way he was in the Georgia game.
Hammond said the players have confidence in all three quarterbacks.
“They just do a good job of propelling the offense and getting guys going and making the right decisions and the right reads at the right time,” Hammond said. “Not just Kyle, not just Feleipe, not just Emory. I think all of them collectively work together well and all of them want to try to get better each and every day, and they push each other to be better every day.
“They all do things well and I think they all are still competing for that spot.”