Another intriguing offseason for UF QBs

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In the final 3 1/2 games of the season (second half of South Carolina, Idaho, Florida State and Michigan), Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks completed 56 of 87 passes (64.6 percent) for 801 yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. [The Associated Press]

College football programs traditionally show significant improvement from year one to year two under a new coaching staff.

If that happens at Florida under Dan Mullen, the Gators could be College Football Playoff contenders next season after going 10-3 and rising into the top 10 in the nation in 2018.

For it to happen, the Gators will have to improve in some areas and some new, inexperienced players are going to have to come through at certain positions.

Over the next several days, The Sun is going to break down the team position-by-position, one position at a time:

Quarterback

Who’s gone: No one.

Who’s back: Junior Feleipe Franks, who started all 13 games and threw for 2,284 yards and 23 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also rushed for 276 yards and six TDS; junior Kyle Trask (14 of 22 for 62 yards and one TD in 2018); redshirt freshman Emory Jones (12 of 16 for 125 yards and two TDs).

Who’s new: Highly rated true freshman Jalon Jones, a four-star dual-threat QB from Richmond, Va. Jones will enroll in classes next week and participate in spring practice.

What’s next: Although Franks showed steady improvement over the course of the 2018 season and seemed to establish himself as the potential long-term starter, the competition at the position will be wide open again in the spring. Franks is well-aware of that fact. He said before the Peach Bowl that he understood that and welcomed it, saying the competition will only make him and all the other quarterbacks better.

At one point last season it appeared Franks was on the brink of possibly losing the starting role. After getting benched in favor of Trask in the second half of the loss to Missouri, Mullen opened up the competition in practice and it appeared Trask might be the starter in the South Carolina game. But Trask sustained a fractured foot in practice, making Mullen’s decision for him at QB.

Since the second half of the South Carolina game, Franks and the offensive have been on a roll. Over the final three games of the season, the Gators averaged 48.3 points and 518.3 total yards a game.

Franks will be tough to unseat, but the three others will take their shot at it in the spring.

Trask played well in relief of Franks in the Missouri game and has a strong, accurate arm and a good understanding of the offense. Given his track record, his biggest issue might be whether he can stay healthy. He’s not as fast or athletic as Franks, but like Franks, is a willing runner.

Jones, with his ability to run and throw, seems to have the skill set Mullen is looking for in his quarterback. He played in four games last season and looked good playing most of the second half against Idaho. He improved over the course of the season, and it was fairly obvious Mullen is making his development a priority.

Even if Jones does not win the starting job, it appears likely that he’ll get a package of plays to run in games next season, maybe similar to the way Mullen used Tim Tebow in 2006.

The other Jones, true freshman Jalon Jones, also is a dual-threat QB and will get enough reps in the spring to give the coaches an idea where he’s at in his development.

The two Jones appear to be the future at the position.

Possible scenario: Franks continues to progress under Mullen’s tutelage and staves off the competition, but Emory Jones pushes him hard and shows he’s ready to handle an expanded role in games next season.

69 COMMENTS

  1. At this moment in time I see Franks as being the starter again in 2019. He showed much improvement in 2018 as he finally had great coaching. I don’t think he is the ideal Dan Mullen QB but you’d have to be nit picking to argue that he didn’t improve over the course of the last year. He is tough and he seems like a team leader. Can he be an elite QB, leading his team to the CFB…… tsk tsk…questions, questions, questions

    I’d really be surprised if Kyle Trask didn’t transfer. The odds just aren’t in his favor. I could see him starting at many places… of course that is based on a limited curriculum vitae as his body of work in actual full speed game situations is very minimal, dating back to high school.

    The question to me will be, how will Emory Jones react if he isn’t the starter this year. In the current age of college football, younger players aren’t as willing to ride the pine for 2-3 years before getting their chance to show the world what they can do. If Jalon Jones comes in and displays a great skill set then 2020 becomes tricky for Emory because potentially, Franks will be a very experienced senior and Jalon will be pushing for playing time. As a Gator fan, I like the potentially increasing skill and competitive level in the QB room but as a Gator QB, it’s going to be dog eat dog and may the best man win. The consolation prize will be an all expenses paid trip to the USF campus.

    • USF, eh? Well, we will see. Mullen has made it clear that he does not believe in rushing guys into the starting role, so I have to believe these players come in knowing they are probably not going to start right away or even for a few years. They also are smart enough to see that Mullen’s way works– he’s got a few guys playing in the NFL, after all! I could see a player making the decision to stay here and get NFL ready with a proven coach rather than transfer and get mediocre coaching somewhere else.

          • JawsofTruth: The Sun didn’t delete your previous pic. It’s a bug in the system that after a while, the pic is dropped. It happens to me as well. We are on the “To Do List” in getting it fixed.

          • Story? We don’ need no stinkin’ story!

            No seriously, I couldn’t for some reason retrieve my preferred Rocky Marne shot (mascot 3rd (US) Infantry Division) or a shot of my Gator-6 Texas license plate (which confuses the hell out of them in Austin), so I’m temporarily using a photo taken by one of my medical students a few years back. I would have used a pic of my Bloodhound, Willis, but I couldn’t find that either. The moral of the story, I guess, is that if you’re going to use a screen shot, you’d better be computer literate! Which, of course, barely knowing how to turn the damn thing on does not qualify me for.

    • Rog, You got it on Emory Jones. It’s not far fetched that Franks wins/solidifies the starting qb position (for the next 2 years). At some point he’s earned it and it becomes his job to lose (injury or MAJOR regression). Dan Mullen may have to decide if winning with Franks outweighs the development of Jones and reaping the (bigger/better) benefits of that development. As tricky as it would be to ask Jones to sit, how tricky would it be to have Franks sit (especially if it’s during his senior year)? What message does that send to the rest of the team about sacrifice/buy-in? Tricky Nicky pulled it off with Jalen and Tua. Not sure Coach Dan has that kind of juice.

  2. Yes, this really is the most intriguing thing about next season. Many have been unfair to Franks, but then there are those who get upset at any criticism of his obvious flaws. Part of the fun of college sports is analyzing and debating the current performance and future potential of players. I wish everyone could do that in a tasteful and respectful manner. About mid way through the season I became one of those who doubts his ability to become a big time QB, even though I like him in a lot of ways. Even the great games at the end of the season- I think it has to be kept in mind that he was not called upon to do a lot of passing. The strength of the team was running, with the QB doing just enough in the air to not lose the game. He can throw a straight line bullet, and he makes pretty good decisions about throwing it away, but anything that requires touch seems to be difficult for him, and he still misses wide open (and ones that should be obvious by now) receivers. Are those flaws just a matter of gaining more experience? Maybe. Or are they things that show he just doesn’t quite have the skills needed to take it to another level? Maybe. I am heavily leaning towards the latter at this point, but I would be happy to be proven wrong.

    • Patrick, I think you and Rog have pretty well summed it up from our perspective as fans. Lots of ammo on both sides of the coin here, and as you say, emotions flair a tad. I’d like to get Dan Mullen’s perspective too — of course, that really isn’t going to happen other than the “generics” — but there’s one opinion out there as well that’s been pretty silent now that the season is over: Cody Alan. The last I recall, he was pretty big on Trask — don’t know if that’s OBE or not now.

      You nailed the two things for Franks, and you’ve done it before too: Touch and Vision. I would agree, fundamentally, with those who suggest the latter won’t improve much more. At the end of the day, that variable is considerably more mediated by neuro-physiological processes, latencies, and all that mess — pretty much what you see is what you get by his age. But the “touch” problem? That can be corrected big time. So yeah, I see more improvement on the horizon for him….but will it be enough to stave off the rising competition? I guess we’re fixin’ to find out!

      • Did you just use “neuro-physiological” in a football discussion??!! You must be one of them thar college gradumanits. Joking aside, said it before, will say it again, the QB that gives the team the best chance of winning is the starter, no other considerations. I loved Frank’s effort, but sometimes, that W at the end of games causes me much amnesia over many play making decisions Franks seems to whiff on. I have my kids to keep me grounded. Franks frequently misses open receivers and at other times doesn’t see them. He STILL takes more sacks than he should. He has a hard time with touch passes. However, everyone saw him get better game by game. Let’s put it another way. If Jones can throw at least as well as Franks, he will be the QB as his running ability is undeniable. Whoever the starting QB is, I”ll be pulling for the. I’m not running Franks down. I love his effort, and he’s a Gator. I just don’t think we will ascend to the stratosphere with him at the helm. Love to be proven wrong!

          • Ditto on all that above. Franks running ability improved considerably as well as his pass %, and throwing it away but lacking in those other 2 areas of which one isnt fixable. I support the coach and his decisions. I think our ultimate QB will be Jalon Jones from what Ive seen of him.

    • I am perfectly content with a team that rushes for 250-300 yards a game and gets enough passing — turnover free– to win, especially now that Franks is creating with his running as well. I feel he will get better at finding the open receivers, especially as he has a chance now during the off-season to process his experience, watch more film…etc…

      • Yeah — I agree oh toothy one. Rushing for 300 a game sets up a lot of good ju-ju. But just think how much more good ju-ju there would be if he learns a softer touch on certain pass plays, particularly on yards-after-catch potentials. You know, if you’re into ju-ju and all that. 😎

        I like that he doesn’t have to slide anymore — he’s got the size to bull his way into tacklers and for sure next year won’t have to worry about a back up. I think his “touch” improves and so does his running (although the latter was pretty damn good last year).

      • Yeah, and that might be the way it goes for the next couple of years. But as you know, sometimes teams like that face a challenge where they have to get more from the passing game. A team like that, with a limited QB, most likely won’t overcome it. On the other hand, if the QB is an elite passer, it becomes almost impossible for opposing defenses to stop because they can only chose their poison. That of course is the difference between a championship caliber team that can fight its way to a championship, and one that is almost unstoppable when firing on all cylinders. Kind of like 2006 vs. 2008.

    • Good point. It seems like maybe his best option would be to look for a team where he could go in as a graduate transfer and start for a season. But, does he really want to? I just get the feeling that maybe he is comfortable being a backup– I see a lot of Don Strock in him!

  3. I was a bit disappointed to not see more of Emory Jones in the Michigan game. I was expecting at least a Tebow/Leak kind of thing. Being the last game of the season and no concerns about his redshirt, I have to wonder if he isn’t developing as well as Mullen had hoped. Perhaps, as Rog mentioned, it will end up being a situation where Franks continues to lead the team for another two years while Jalon Jones redshirts his first year and developes into the future starter while Franks finishes his senior season as the starter.

  4. Isn’t it nice to have options at qb? We were desperately think last year especially after Trask was hurt. We were a few injuries away from trouble. Now we have depth to handle injury and talent if someone falters. If the team continues the progression we could have some multi qb looks that could work in out favor.

  5. So, Franks made tremendous strides this season in all aspects of his game. Early in the season when asked to run, he looked like a cat in a sweater. As the season progressed, he began to run with zeal, and the threat of the QB run became a legit issue for defenses to have to address, which opens up the whole offense for the running backs and the passing game. Most importantly, it is a key component of the 5 wide receiver set in Mullen’s offense for two reasons: One, Franks punished defenses when they emptied the box and tried to play coverage. Two, Mullen loves to run the QB play-action to himself, which Tebow used to get a lot of big plays. Franks will now be able to do the same.

    The other major factor the article doesn’t address is leadership. Last year during the off-season, a lot was said about Franks’ leadership ability, how the team rallied around him …etc… I had my doubts if he was a positive or negative leader, given what I had seen as immature comments he made to the media. joking about playing terrible, for example. That kind of meat head attitude was endemic to the team atmosphere Uncle Yellow Teeth created, and we all saw the results on the field of the “haha, it’s funny to suck” mindset.

    However, he showed me a lot in terms of the positive leadership elements this past season, not only leading by example leaving all his blood and sweat on the field, but I saw him encouraging the defense during crucial time outs, working to motivate his offensive team mates. By all accounts he is a positive leader in the weight room. In addition, he developed a much more steady demeanor during games, not pouting or seeming rattled, even when trailing big. The leadership factor is huge, and it will continue to be a major component of determining who ends up winning the starting job.

    I am not saying that Jones and Jones are not or will not be great leaders, but I do think Franks has an edge in this area. The big question to my mind is– will Franks continue to improve? I don’t see any reason right now to believe that he won’t, but he does still have a huge unrealized upside given his physical skills, and he and the team have to keep working on all aspects of their game, including and especially being ready every week (No more Missouris, please!) .

  6. Mullen is the QB Whisperer. He has the uncanny ability to take a rough-cut QB with zero confidence and
    make the game simple and fun for him by schematically utilizing his talents. That’s exactly what he did with Franks this year. Amazing! Franks has come a long way and while he may not be the prototypical QB that Mullen originally envisioned, by the end of the year he was putting up Tebow-like stats. Think of that.
    With his experience against Georgia, LSU and Michigan in the Peach Bowl, he has gained new insights and muscle memory that can carry him farther in 2019. The added competition of the two Jones’ will provide added motivation for him to excel. He certainly needs to improve his touch and his field of vision. After the improvement I’ve seen in Franks this year, I don’t put that past him.

  7. Trask has never been a starter even in H.S. and it does not seem to bother him. Maybe he is more interested in the academics. If so, congrats to him. Which Jones takes over for Franks will soon be known. One of them will definitely transfer. I really hope Perine does not turn pro, he could be the big difference maker next year.

  8. Look for the Gator QB competition next season between Franks and EJ to go the same way it went at Clemson this season between Bryant and Lawrence. Franks may open the season as the starter with Jones getting Tebow-like packages throughout each game, until either Franks gets injured, or blows up, the way he did vs. Mizzou this season. At that point, look for EJ to take over the starting job and never look back, the way Lawrence did at Clemson. If Franks doesn’t get injured and doesn’t blow up, expect Mullen to keep him the starter as he kept Chris Leak; although Leak was a better passer.

    With Jalon Jones coming in and practicing this spring, he will become the red-shirt 3rd stringer, just as EJ was this season. That will leave Trask as the odd man out with a decision to make. If he believes he can start elsewhere, he will transfer out before the start of next season. Since he will surely ride the bench at UF, he may as well sit out next season at his next school and practice there with the goal of being their starter in 2020.

    The wild card will be what Franks will do if, like Bryant at Clemson, he loses the starting job early next season. Will he, like Bryant, quit right away, transfer and sit out at his future school. Assuming Trask is already gone by then and Mullen doesn’t land a transfer replacement for him during the off-season, Franks would leave the Gators in a very precarious QB position, with a red-shirt freshman starter, a true freshman backup and some walk-on as 3rd stringer, all playing behind a retooled OL.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t go that way.

    Go Gators!!!

  9. The QB performance has been a hot button topic for this entire past season and it appears it will most likely remain so going forward. In my opinion, all of the points noted in the above post are valid and well stated, especially as they pertain to Franks. I myself have waffled on him more times than an IHOP cook. No doubt he has the physical tools; strong arm, height, capable running (in a straight line) skills. At the end of the day, I think any sane coach would embrace a TD to Interception ratio of 23/6 from their QB, with the added running TD’s a nice bonus. He also appears to have the genuine leadership skills that CDM demands. As a former HS QB, I think that he has two key areas to improve on for next season. This I know because I never mastered them as a 5’10” QB who mostly saw only the backs of my O’line. One, he still seems to lock in on a predetermined receiver. This can be clearly seen on deeper patterns when he will throw to a man who is double or even simply very well covered, while replays show other receivers wide open in other areas. The second area also involves field vision to some agree, as seen when he is forced out the pocket. When this happens, he seems to lose all downfield vision and either runs or throws the ball away. Again, replays regularly show open receivers down field. The truly top QB’s can turn these plays into big gainers on most occasions. Both of these areas are no doubt not easy ones to master, but the QB’s who do are chasing championships. I agree with Gator65 that the depth we have now at this position is truly a blessing and I look forward to watching all of them play at some point.

    • DanF, your evaluation of Franks’ most critical limitation is spot on. And coming from a former QB, it’s all the more credible.

      In my long experience watching football, QBs who still lack downfield “vision” after 2 full seasons in college NEVER acquire it. Their coaches either adjust their offenses to deal with it, or bench them in favor of another QB.

      NFL coaches fall in love with the size and arm strength of “visionless” QBs like Franks, arrogantly believing THEY can succeed with them where their college coaches failed. That’s how they end up with spectacular failures such as Ryan Tannehill, Doug Johnson and (for old timers) Don Strock.

      • That’s exactly why I say, “what you see is what you get”, Stl. Just from a biological perspective, that processing deficit — if you want to call it that — is going to be pretty hard to correct by age 21. It could be done, I suppose, but the resources needed would be overwhelming. Call it a default setting, if you will. Doesn’t mean he can’t be a very good college quarterback at all, but it does mean that he’ll probably never be a great one.

        CDM will, however, capitalize on his strengths — and he has many of them — because that’s what CDM does!

        • That’s what worries me 6. With Franks, “what we see IS what we’ll get” next season. And we have higher ambition than 9-3 and a NY-6 bowl invitation.

          As Robbie points out above, the Gators are set for a potential run at a playoff spot in CDM’s 2nd season IF he improves play at the QB position. They must get through their schedule with no more than 1 loss in order to secure a spot in the CFP Final 4.

          If we assume they win winnable games, including Miami, Tennessee and FSU, they’ll still have 3 very tough games against Auburn, LSU in Death Valley and Georgia. To win THOSE games, they’ll need to overcome powerful run defenses AND excellent coverage of primary receivers, especially in the first half. Franks was positively miserable this season under those conditions, especially in the 3 games the Gators lost.

          I’m looking forward to seeing how CDM solves that puzzle.

          Go Gators!!!

          • Stl, and teams are going to be looking at tape of his play from last year to exploit any weaknesses they can find. Putting him in positions to force his decision making which if unchanged will be a problem. Knowing your opponent and exploiting their weaknesses. Yes when the defense stopped the run and forced us into passing and was good at pass defense we struggled. I have ideas on this but I am sure the coaching staff does too and probably better ones than mine. Going in with 3 maybe 4 scholarship QB’s will really help with options.

          • What 65 says is true — lots of tape on Franks by now. Thing is, I suspect Robbie is going a little overboard by having us in the playoffs next year, probably or otherwise. Not that I wouldn’t be happier than a dead pig in the sunshine, mind you — but realistically I think we’re looking at 2020 or 2021. We should be knocking on the door next year, tho.

          • 6 getting there a year early isn’t a bad thing. Make the final 4 get the experience and come back the next year and tee off. I am ready to take on UGA and the west.

        • We’ll certainly see. Too bad we’ll have to wait 8 months for it!

          I’m closer to Robbie on expectations IF CDM substantially improves QB play next season. By that I mean, over 65% completion rate, average 250 YPG and no worse than 8/1 TD/Int ratio.

          I believe that with his coaching staff intact, CDM will reload on the OL, DL and LBs. The receivers, backs and DBs are mostly coming back with experience and just need depth. Both kickers are back too.

          So, IF CDM solves the QB performance dilemma, there’s no reason to curbe our expectations.

          Go Gators!!!

          • Really not curbing expectations so much as trying to stay a realistic course, albeit ever so conservative.

            I know you guys — 65 and StL — remember all the koolaid even the most conservative of us drank early last year. We got so far ahead of ourselves and reality that when it all seemed to crash, there was a lot of knashing of teeth and wringing of hands all over Gator Land. It worked out in spades in the end, but I remember those not so long ago dark days from what appeared to be the murky depths of football hell. Hence, I’ve vowed to stay level headed in the future!

            65, that’s a good point about getting the experience next year even if we don’t win out. So I’ve also vowed never to say never!

          • I stated the same recently, 6. Im going to be happy with a 10 win season any year under Mullen. I will be ecstatic for more but will not expect it and will not demand it. I’m going to be a HAPPY Gator under Mullen and enjoy each year rather than keep increasing expectations and then be down. The last thing I want is for Gator fans to be so demanding, as in the past putting unrealistic pressure every year on our great coach and he sours on the job, just as Spurrier did. Yes he complained after he left here about the pressure fans put on the coaching position; it takes all the fun out of it for the coach. If our coach isnt having fun then he ultimately moves on. Gratitude goes a long way to making a coach want to stay right where he is at!

        • Don’t worry 6. I’m not outrunning my headlights.

          Before 2018, I called this season at 9-3 + a bowl game with unpredictable outcome. Only one of the 3 losses I predicted came true. I didn’t see losses to Kentucky or Mizzou in the Swamp coming, while I believed we weren’t good enough YET to beat MSU and FSU on the road.

          2019 has “real potential” to be a 10-1 season with a playoff invitation (not a NC) IF we get MUCH better QB play from either Franks or Jones. If we don’t, it will be no better than 2018, which was pretty darned good, but may seem a bit unfulfilling next year.

          I still consider Alabama and Clemson to be superior programs to UF, while Georgia may be beatable in 2019 IF we get error free QB play against them, something Mr. Franks failed to do this season.

          Go Gators!!!

    • The biggest difference between Franks and a lot of the top recruits in college football is, he didn’t have the private QB coaches a lot of them had growing up. He didn’t go to a powerhouse high school with top notch coaches either. He coasted by with his arm talent alone. He was about as raw as a top recruit can be. He hasn’t had great coaching until this season, so it’s going to take him a little longer to master every detail that makes a great QB. Lets not forget he was learning a new offense so he had to put more focus in learning the x’s and o’s then working on vision and reading the field. Another offseason under Mullen and Johnson’s tutelage, now that he’s kind’ve mastered the offense, should do wonders and I have a feeling you’re going to see improvements in those areas you listed. To go from 9 total TD’s to 31 in one season playing in a new offense is pretty remarkable and you have to imagine those numbers will only improve as he progresses.

      • Joe, in my other life teaching to develop muscle memory we needed over 7000 repetitions to get someone to the point that they did things without having to think of about the details of what they are doing. That is a lot of reps. I am going to guess the same thing applies to football. Not only do you need reps but you need to do them correctly less bad habits develop. From what I have read on Franks he was a star QB on arm talent alone and didn’t have the reps and correction along the way. My concern is that the instinctive part that some have isn’t as strong with him. For instance if I see (or know by design) a WR is running a route that will take him to some position on the field and he is his secondary receiver he should be able to find him in a forced play. Or if a crossing route his vision is blocked by the line he should know if the receiver is running at speed where he’ll emerge or where he is in space. Timing patterns etc. Now the other thing that happens is basic math vs the defense. Reading the defense alignment he has to know how many people can be in coverage (11 minus linemen rushing/blocking= # available to cover(simplified)) mismatches are there. Decision making is hard to teach and if it is too slow can lead to disaster. I had a coworker in the day that was brilliant as long as there was no pressure. Couldn’t do the job when the noise was turned up.
        I hope the teaching/coaching and conditioning can get him over the next hurdle. He does have the physical talent. But I am also glad we have 3 more QB’s in the mix. I was worried this year we might have to force KT into the role if we had a lot of injuries.
        One other thing I noticed this year and this was totally off the cuff. When Krull threw the pass earlier in the season it did get me thinking what a 6’7″ T.E. would look like at QB. I am assuming he was a pitcher in college but I don’t know that.

        • I understand what you’re saying, but in learning the x’s and o’s of the new offense, maybe he still wasn’t fully aware of where everyone was supposed to be and thus only focused in on his primary receiver. You saw as the season progressed he was starting to check down more, but still didn’t fully grasp the offense and missed some open receivers. In the last couple of games you really started seeing improvements in pre snap reads and he made some great audibles, including the 20 yard TD run against Michigan. I would like to believe as he masters the offense more and more, he’ll start knowing where everyone is supposed to be like the back of his hand and it’ll be second nature, but he very well could have a mental block that doesn’t allow him to progress in that area. Yes, Krull was a pitcher. I think he’s going to wind up being a stud TE though. Did you see he was already back at the training facility and working out in preparation for next season the day after the bowl game? I love the attitude and drive Mullen has instilled in these players.

          • Joe, I heard Krull was at it already. Just the thought of a QB of his size would strike fear in defenses if he could pass as well as run. But I think you’re right he stays where he is. I hope Franks does well. If he can learn to find the safety valve and not look his primary down. The time between now and season is going to be daunting for me. I’d push a fast forward button but I’d get older as well. But most of all no matter what your opinion is on here Gator Football is back and it’s fun again.

    • Nice Analysis, Danf. Regarding your point about when he scrambles and throws it away while missing wide open receivers- has anyone considered that this characteristic is also what keeps him having many interceptions (that and Mullen not calling on him to throw a lot). He is good about not forcing things while scrambling, but on the other hand as you mentioned. Hopefully he will improve on all the things you mention. It’s a tough position, as you know better than most.

      One thing I have to say is that I really trust Mullen, and that is where I differ from those who wanted him to start Trask. Just because the starting QB isn’t great doesn’t mean that there is someone better sitting on the bench. Great QBs don’t come every day, so often you have to play the cards you are dealt. Even highly recruited QBs don’t usually pan out. What Mullen has been most brilliant about, even more so than his development of Franks, is his ability to game plan and adjust his offense around the QBs strengths and weaknesses. He did that back in 05 and 06 with Leak, and that ability was sorely missing under a previous coach not to be named.

  10. I trust Mullen. He was able to redshirt Jones, putting 2 years between the two quarterbacks. Franks has obvious faults, mainly his field vision but he played great down the stretch and he fended off Jones and Trask (barely) last season. My guess is that he will be the starter at the beginning of the season with Jones having a significant role. I think Jones will have to make his transfer decision after spring practice because he will have to sit out a year. If he plays his redshirt freshman year and transfers, he will not see the field at a new school until he is a redshirt junior, the exact same as if he stays at UF and Franks graduates. I would think the only way it would be worth transferring, is to do it before his redshirt freshman season, so he can play as a sophomore. He has to know that Mullen prefers his style of play and that he is closing the gap, so I see him wanting to stick it out. He also seems to trust Mullen completely by his comments after the bowl game.

  11. While this season was a really good one and Franks did improve greatly, my only complaint for this past season is when Franks is forced out the pocket his field vision seems to completely disappear. It appears at those moments he only sees the opposing players nearest to him (that are trying to hit him in the facemask). When this happens, like Dan F. said above, Franks either runs out of bounds, or throws the ball away (still an improvement from last year). Franks missed a totally wide open Toney #4 in the end zone during a red zone scramble play against Michigan. I hope this constructive criticism here on Gatorsports.com helps him in the future. But this reoccurring problem for Franks usually leads to only a field goal for Florida’s drives (he did do much better though when Perine was out wide for the quick slant). But as most Gator fans well know, only kicking field goals in the red zone won’t beat a U.G.A. in J’ville, or a ‘Bama in the ATL for that matter. And they’re the ones in Florida’s way, in order to get back to the top of the SEC mountain. Go Gators!

  12. Franks will likely be the starter based upon his last 4 Tebow-like games and his experience. He will need to earn it, however, in the Spring, against the Jones’s. He will need to demonstrate also that he can cope with a young O Line. Mullen will cleverly use the QB competition to make Franks sharper in his key deficit areas which were already mentioned by others.
    I would like to see more of Emory Jones in the non SEC games, at full throttle not merely in packages, since we need a competent back-up to get to the next level, and he needs and deserves the experience. Jalon Jones should get some packages too.

  13. Look fellas, Coach Mullen will play the QB who gives the team the best chance to win. The only possible exception to that that I see is, he is very hesitant to throw a true freshman out there, even if he’s all world caliber. I completely trust that Coach will get it right and I completely believe that he got it right this year (even without my help 🙂 ).

    The job right now is Franks to lose. If EJ wants to win the job he has to beat Franks in several areas… passing accuracy, running ability, and leadership. He appears to have the passing and running tools so the off-season question will be does he show enough leadership to win over the team. Because Franks has that one hands down at the moment.

    I don’t see Franks’ position as one bad snap or one injury away from losing his job (similar to the Lawrence / Bryant situation at Clemson). You need to remember that Lawrence is a generational talent and would beat out almost any college QB today.

    Lots of speculation on Trask, his motives, his desires. I don’t know the kid so its difficult to assess what he’s thinking and what he’ll do. But I sense at this point that he won’t ever be the Gator QB. I think the cards are just stacked against him. Right now I’d say that Franks wants the job a whole lot more.

    I suspect that between now and the Orange and Blue game will be a very interesting time for the potential Gator QB’s. They’d better bring their “A” game if they wanna start against the U on August 31!

  14. I’m late to the party today, but I will throw in that most everyone is in agreement at this point, which is amazing in itself if you think back just 1 year ago. The only way I see Trask ever seeing meaningful action at this point is if there are injuries. Franks has a year of game experience in this offense, and both Jones’ have more God given athletic ability. Maybe he likes being a Gator enough to wait until he can be a graduate transfer.

  15. Let’s keep in mind that Jake Fromm of Ga., the SEC East’s best QB, throws only 25-30 passes per game. That’s only 6-7 passes per quarter. They have a balanced offense and don’t require Fromm to throw a lot. I think we will be in a similar position next year with a balanced attack and we shouldn’t need to have Franks throw more than 25 passes per game. This is not Oklahoma where they need 40- 50 passes per game. Franks must improve his field of vision. Keeping it simple, he should focus on his big three downfield receivers: Jefferson, Hammond and Cleveland on explosive plays. His focus on short yardage plays and checkoffs should be Toney, and the TE’s. He should show mastery of RPO’s next season.

    • I agree with you that the Gators are in the SEC, not the Big 12. 25 pass attempts per game should work just fine given our excellent running game.

      The problem with Franks is inefficiency, particularly in the red zone, where finding secondary receivers and pinpoint accuracy are a must, with all the traffic in a compressed field. Jake Fromm (your example) had a 68.4% pass completion rate, with 9.3 YPC, 27 TDs and only 5 INTs for the season. Very efficient. Franks, on the other hand, had a 58.5% pass completion rate, with 7.6 YPC, 23 TDs and 6 INTs for the season. Not nearly as efficient.

      Fromm’s stats were not substantially different from game to game. He is a model of consistency. Franks’ stats got dramatically worse in games where opponents slowed down our running game. He needs to raise his efficiency as a passer and sustain it, even in games where our RBs struggle.

      I just don’t believe he can improve enough to make a difference against tough defenses.

  16. The Tebow/Leak comparison is not really valid Tebow made a huge difference without him that team loses 3-4 games. I would even say if Meyer had his choice of Ingle Martin (transferred due to zook) or Leak, Martin would have started he fit the system and was a far better athlete and even spent 4 years on pro rosters. The truth is Leak was a decent game manager but really just king of the bubble screen throw it 1-2 yards receiver runs 10-12.

    • Yeah, well considering that Mullen didn’t use Jones much at all, there really isn’t any comparison at all at this point, but as some of us have speculated, perhaps next year we will see something more comparable, with Jones playing a significant role (as Tebow did) but with Franks playing most of the game as a decent game manager. What Meyer and Mullen did with Leak demonstrated what great coaches thy are- certainly Leak did not fit their system at all, but they adjusted the offense to fit him, used Tebow were they could, and relied on outstanding defense. That they managed to win a national championship like that, in only their second year, is amazing when you think about it. It wasn’t until the following year with Tebow leading the charge that the true potential of their offense was realized.

      • One thing I will add about the 2006 team- sometimes we forget that that offense was not great. At times I didn’t even think they were very good. What was elite that year was the defense, and the offense was just “good enough”. To win a NC like that you have to have an elite defense. It really wasn’t until the NC game against Ohio State that that offense looked amazing. Just goes to show how good SEC defenses were back then, and that was when the Big 10 was exposed.

    • I think your memory has lapsed! Leak was a great deep passer and threw a beautiful accurate ball! the only reason he didnt get drafted was because he was less than 6′ tall. he had great numbers while at UF. and broke Wuerfful’s all time passing yards record. and is still the all-time career passer and 2nd in TD’s!