UF’s first scrimmage matched weather conditions

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University of Florida football holds spring practice at the Sanders Practice Fields at the UF campus in Gainesville. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Thanks to some late big scoring plays, a dreary and dismal day for Florida’s offense at least ended trending toward the positive Friday afternoon in The Swamp.

An overall ugly, and at times inept, performance did not look or feel quite as bad as it probably should have thanks to those late plays — a 28-yard touchdown pass from Feleipe Franks to tight end Moral Stephens, an 80-yard TD strike from Kyle Trask to Trevon Grimes and a scrimmage-ending 50-yard TD pass from Franks to Grimes.

“Yeah, big plays are always a good thing,” Franks said. “At the same time you want to create drives and get completions and move the chains on third down, things like that. But big plays like that definitely give the guys energy.”

Before the big plays, there were a lot of bad plays on offense, many of them attributed to Franks. The redshirt sophomore has been having a good spring and seemed to distance himself a little bit from his competition in the first two weeks of spring.

But his performance on a wet and slippery Friday may have moved him back toward his competition, especially Trask.

Franks and the No. 1 offense were clearly out of sync through the first half of the scrimmage and early into the second half.

In the first half, Franks completed just three of 11 passes for only 14 yards and was intercepted twice, once in the end zone by true freshman defensive back Trey Dean.

While Franks was floundering, Trask produced a much more competent and encouraging first-half performance, completing seven of 10 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown, coming on a 30-yard screen pass to wide receiver Josh Hammond.

UF coach Dan Mullen addressed his offensive players at halftime, then the Gators came out in the second half focused on establishing a ground game, which the offense managed to do.

Jordan Scarlett scored on a four-yard run, then a little later sophomore Adarius Lemons produced the biggest play of the day, a 89-yard touchdown run after bursting through a hole over the right side and out-sprinting the secondary to the end zone.

“(Coach Mullen) just basically said our execution wasn’t there,” Franks said. “We had too many MAs, which is missed assignments, guys going totally opposite ways. Sometimes it was because of the quarterback as well, doing things we’re not coached to do. That’s the whole process of just learning a new playbook. You get used to it. That’s why we don’t play our first game for another eight months. It’s a stepping stone. That’s about it.”

Once the offense had some success on the ground, more followed in the passing game with the late big plays.

“The running game is super important in football,” Franks said. “It’s sort of a general rule — the running game is going to open up the passing game at the same time. Our guys did a really good job of working with what they had, the rainy circumstances. That’s what you come out here and do. Coach Mullen put us in these kind of situations. It definitely could be raining on a Saturday this season. Just keep on pushing, that’s all we really can do.”

Franks’ best pass of the day came in his next-to-last possession, when he threw a 35-yard strike to Van Jefferson on a seam route. One play later he hooked up with a wide-open Stephens on a play-action pass that resulted in a 28-yard TD.

In his final possession, Franks threw another TD strike, this one for 50 yards to a wide-open Grimes after Dean slipped and fell.

The late success salvaged Franks’ day. But his final numbers still are a little bit disturbing: only seven completions in 22 attempts for 127 yards and two touchdowns to go along with three interceptions.

“It’s always hard when you get a new playbook in,” Franks said. “It’s your first scrimmage, you’re not expected to come out here and be 100 percent and everything. Execution as a whole wasn’t there. Not really worried too much about the first scrimmage.

“It’s not always going to be pretty. When I walked out of the tunnel I didn’t expect to come out here and go 80-percent passing and 30 touchdowns. We’re going to have our struggles. New playbook. We’re going to take our stepping stones. There’s going to be highs, there are going to be lows.”

Unlike Franks, Trask had more highs than lows Friday. He was clearly the better quarterback, and it is reflected in the scrimmage statistics.

Trask completed 12-of-18 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns, to go go along with one interception. He put together a nine-play, 75-yard TD drive early in the second half that culminated with a 17-yard scoring pass to tight end C’yontai Lewis.

The scrimmage appeared to be a step forward for Trask — and a step closer to Franks in the competition for the starting role.

“I feel like I did a good job,” Trask said. “My goal was just to execute at a high level, and I feel like I did a decent job of that. My focus now is just to take this, and just continue to try and develop myself. I still think I’ve got a ways to go if I really want to be an elite quarterback. Just really got to keep doing my routine, keep getting better and better every week.”

61 COMMENTS

  1. Listening to post game of Frank’s reminds me of fsu postgame….full of excuses and content with terrible qb play. I followed him as a recruit, but not sure if hes the solution. Kid is a turnover machine!Then I watch Trask and see what he did. Trask is a humble accurate passer that seems to make the right reads and deliver the ball. Wouldn’t be surprised if the “Great white hope” starts game 1 and Frank’s is behind Toney on the qb depth chart. GO GATORS

    • He does seem incapable of learning or recognizing his own short comings. It’s always the playbook or the first scrimmage. The fact that he also seems prone to make a joke out if it is also problematic. That haha, we sucked, but who cares? mindset is what gets you to 4-7, and this tragic clown of football act is not what leader of a championship team does. The leader of a winning team demands excellence from himself and others.

      if Franks wants to be a clown, that’s great, but maybe he should wear some big floppy shoes and a fright wig as he stands on the sidelines holding a clipboard next season.

      • As a former QB, let me tell you this… Franks was the starter last year and the old offense under Nuss is deeply ingrained in him. It’s hard to forget one O and learn another. I recall Rex Grossman having the same problems in his first year under Zook and Zaunbrecher after flourishing in Spurrier’s system. He repeatedly called the wrong audibles that season until he settled down.

        That said, Nussmeier almost ruined this kid and it’s going to take time to get him out of the bad habits Nuss taught him.

        It’s just spring ball. These QB’s will digest most of the offense during the summer and in the Fall two-a-days.

        At this moment, I’m not really worried about the QB’s. This is actually quite typical from a coaching and new playbook transition.

        Don’t be surprised to see Franks bounce back and have a good scrimmage next time imo.

  2. I am hoping that Trask beats out Franks tho. We need someone who can read a defense and make quick decisions with the football. If the spring hype holds true, then we are going to have a lot more play makers, and the same o line. Our qb is going to need to make reads quickly.

  3. Pierce is a man-child. The guy needs his share of touches in the Fall. He isn’t made of flesh, he’s pure brick…Also, Franks May be a good leader in and around the program, first in – last out at practice, vocal in the locker room and such but it is becoming more and more difficult to justify a “real” QB competition when it wasn’t even close today. And this isn’t the first time.

  4. I have always liked Trask with the ball. If you want to know what Franks does, just watch last year’s fsu give-away that he engineered, then strongly defended post-game. I know he didn’t have squat for a line, but neither does Trask. When the line is a rickety gate the QB better be ahead of the game mentally. Trask is much better suited for that than Franks.

  5. Franks is not the answer at QB and he never will be. His comments are telling, he more so defends himself instead of accepting responsibility. Not good at all. He has fantastic arm strength, height but nothing else. I do not want to see him as the starter come fall, I have seen enough. During the Mcelwain run, I had zero confidence that the Head Coach would make the correct decision, in fact I knew he would make the wrong one. It is different now, I know Coach Mullen will play the most capable Quarterback and give him elite coaching to maximize his abilities. Didnt here anything about Emory Jones or Jake Allen. Wonder how they performed? Felipe Franks is not a QB, he is a tall guy that can throw the ball a long way. That does not = QB.

  6. Same old with Franks. We should go with Trask and develop Jones with Franks as a backup. Franks is a good athlete but not smart enough with his decision making to play QB. To many turnovers way to often and it looks like that was the same case today.

  7. ” a step closer to franks”? How about he surpassed Franks again and is leading to be the starter and Franks is trailing! Trask beat Franks last year in the spring game and the coach just put out propaganda that franks lead. Trask only had one series that was apples to apples and that was when he got to run the 1st team offense against the 2nd team defense as Franks had done all the game and Trask drove right down and scored as he did today. Franks , like today, wasnt able to move the offense that whole game, and of course the sports writers here spouted the official line. I certainly hope mullen doesnt pull the same trick but puts the best QB, Trask as the starter. Franks chokes under pressure.

      • Dery: You did read the article above?

        From story: An overall ugly, and at times inept, performance did not look or feel quite as bad as it probably should have thanks to those late plays.
        Before the big plays, there were a lot of bad plays on offense, many of them attributed to Franks. The redshirt sophomore has been having a good spring and seemed to distance himself a little bit from his competition in the first two weeks of spring.
        But his performance on a wet and slippery Friday may have moved him back toward his competition, especially Trask.

        That’s the kind of story UAA would write based on the first scrimmage of the spring?

        Anyway, I’m sure coach Mullen will be quizzed about the QB situation in his scheduled Monday news conference. Only the two QBs and the O-linemen were made available for interviews Friday.

        • The phrase “may have moved him back towards competition” is the kind of thing that struck me as absurd. Franks numbers were terrible, even with the last minute good plays thrown in, while Trask’s looked actually good. I don’t see how anyone can look at the numbers and think “maybe” when it was clear at least from the numbers that Franks was terrible.

  8. Franks: “It’s not always going to be pretty. When I walked out of the tunnel I didn’t expect to come out here and go 80-percent passing and 30 touchdowns.”

    Trask: “My goal was just to execute at a high level, and I feel like I did a decent job of that. My focus now is just to take this, and just continue to try and develop myself. I still think I’ve got a ways to go if I really want to be an elite quarterback. ”

    A QB that wants to start at the University of Florida should expect to go 80% passing and 30 touchdowns everytime they walk out of the tunnel. I bet Tim Tebow thought that way everytime. Franks 32% completion vs. Trask 67% completion, Trask so far has the lead. There is still a long way though, it’s great to see a QB competition developing.

    • PRG – I am responding to you because you effectively responded with the math, and we know math doesn’t lie. I noticed Franks play last year and I always came to the same conclusion. Franks just doesn’t have what he needs between the ears. Not yet anyway, but I hope that our present coaching staff doesn’t try to put lipstick on a pig and call it a QB. I like the way Dan Mullen handles his business, so I do not believe that GATOR NATION need worry about the best players starting. It is early yet, but that is what gives us fans the opportunity to discuss and argue with one another until we finally have some real football to watch. I quit watching ALL pro sports and value watching the GATORS in any sport televised. I still believe that there needs to be year round football to repel the DT’s from the off season. I know that will never happen in college ball, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing out loud. GO GATORS!

  9. It seems apparent that Franks has all the arm talent in the world, but not much football knowledge or savvy in leading his team as a QB. All he says sounds like denial in the fact he isn’t very good at decision making, seeing the field, or reading defenses. Making excuses or justifications is not what a good QB does. It’s not.
    Trask is head and shoulders above in decision making and execution, so the Spring Game might be Franks last chance to show what he can do. We can wish for the best, but the last two years have been a waste as far as his progress.

  10. Every rep that Franks takes with the “first team” is a waste of time, and a missed opportunity to develop Trask more. By now, the coaches know what the fans have known, Franks has a strong arm, period. He does not have “it” (football IQ and pure play making ability) and unfortunately he never will. He has learned the art of the alibi, and expects that he will perform poorly before and after he takes the field. I do not like being negative about a young athlete, but he is in way over his head, and has been since he arrived at Gainesville. It is hard to imagine a quarterback of Saban’s making similar excuses (at least more than once anyway!). He has developed as much as he ever will, and it is time to move on and quit wasting precious reps on his sub-SEC talent. I suspect we will see less and less of him between this scrimmage and the opening game. On a positive note, it sounds like our stable of RB’s will make the “3rd down and forever” less likely than last season. I would love to see the O line play with a huge chip on their shoulders and put some D linemen on the ground (without our QB underneath them!).

    • You make a great point about how he expects to perform poorly. It comes through every time he opens his mouth, and that is for sure a self-fulfilling prophecy. He reminds me very much of McElwain in that i feel like he has actually spit the bit and is not really competing, but just going through the motions and waiting for someone else to make the decision for him because he doesn’t have the courage to admit he has no heart or ability to compete on this level and would be better off transferring to a lower division college.

  11. The demeanor of the two couldn’t be more different. Trask talks about developing, getting better and better every week Franks puts on his Ronald McDonald costume and starts clowning, making jokes about how bad he played and then excuses and more excuses. He says very little about the need to get better. Maybe clown is too harsh.

    I think Franks more and more is a QB Barbie– a scatter-brained dingbat who remains grinning and clueless, babbling air-headed nonsense about how all the interceptions he throws make him just like Tom Brady, which is something airhead Barbie would say. Even his work outs seem more about looking good than playing well.

    I love what I hear from Trask. He sounds like a grown man and a true leader, and his numbers are way better than Franks, which is raw data and not opinion driven. Despite the fact the Sun writers seem to have been ordered to report they are the same, they couldn’t be two more different people.

  12. Looks almost like a rerun of last spring at QB. Still like Trask better than Frank’s.
    Would not be surprised to see Frank’s transfer out. Can live with Trask, Allen, Jones.
    RB is smoking already. Lemons can go for 1000 yards this year. Liked him last year, should have played more. Scarlet, Pierce and Perine are going to be the work horse trio.
    Sure hope NCAA clears the WR duo. They got 1000 yard seasons written all over them. Stocked up unit ready to rock out this year.
    Fingers crossed the OL can gel and set. That will be the linchpin of the offenses success this year.
    Defense is flying all over the place. Got some work to do on the secondary for sure. DL and LB are looking real solid. Grantham may get us a top 10 Defense this year after all.
    Sure am excited about the O & B game.

    • I, probably like many of you, find myself having to hold back the excitement. 9 years of awful football will do that to you. Just like when Coach Mullen was hired it just “felt right” to me. I never believed Chipper Kelly was the right guy are maybe even a serious target for the AD. And while Frost may do a great job at Nebraska and might’ve done a great job in Gainesville, I felt then and still do now, that Stricklin did a magnificent job with the hire. (Ask me again about this in 5 years).

      I sense, and have a feeling, the Kyle Trask has “it”. Just like with Coach Mullen, I have this feeling in the back of my head that says…”maybe we have the makings of something special…..sooner than we should be allowed to expect”. But I’m tempering my enthusiasm and adopting a wait and see attitude. At this point, as a fan, I’m trusting Coach to play the best QB…..and not playing a QB for any reason other than him winning the competition. I’ll be in Gainesville on April 14 to see where we stand first hand. Very excited.

  13. Fellas/Ladies, let’s not be too hard on Franks… The guy plays hard, he has a good sense of humor, he jokes and to top it all, he is aspiring to be as good as Tom Brady… one day, he might even break Tom’s record of interceptions thrown and that will make Tom proud. Let’s support him in his quest. Go Franks!

  14. I wonder as Felipe is reading these comments he thinks “ what a horse manure fan base this is”. He is right . Is it any wonder why Florida fans are considered the worst in the SEC?! Makes me throw up reading this disgusting BS from our fans. The hell with any of you who post these terrible comments.
    I’m sure our rivals will use this when we are recruiting QBs in the future.

    • Are you from Waldo or is that just your stupid alias? So, it is “terrible” to post the truth? I apologize Mrs. Franks, but that is the way it is. HE SUCKS! Get over it and go to your NOLE forum and post there.

      • Do you try and be a loser or does it come pretty easy for you. Your the guy with a black belt in keyboard . What in the hell does the Nole forum have to do with anything. Get back in your moms backroom puss punk.

    • I read this comment a bit on here and I just can’t agree with it. I live in Knoxville and I’ve been in and around several SEC towns and fan bases and it just isn’t true that everyone thinks UF has the worst fan base. EVERY school (here’s looking at you Big Orange) has a lunatic fringe in their fan base. The Gators are no exception. Most of the SEC Gator Hate stems from when the Head Ball Coach started kicking butts in the early 90’s and then wise cracking about it. Many have not gotten over that.

      Gator fans want to get back to winning and get back to Atlanta and get back to playing for the NC. But so do the fans in Athens and Knoxville and Baton Rouge…… and each town has a few less reasonable vocal fans.

    • Also if the guy accepted blame and said he strives to get better it would be a different story. I have never seen a D1 collegiate qb deflect, deny, and excuse his awful play. Most competitors would be more mad than we are about his play. Instead, he doesn’t seem to care much at all. The fan base is right, if he is the qb the Gators will most likely lose alot of games next year. Maybe he should read less comments and figure out the position before he gets passed up. Any other fan base would react similarly. I agree, we are a tough fan base (putting it lightly) but he earns it all

    • If he thinks there is a place anywhere in college football where he can throw tons of picks, win four games and get praised as a hero, he is living in a dream world. If he wants praise he should emulate Trask. Work hard on getting better every week, and stop making excuses.

      This Hahaha Did you see how much I sucked? hahaha Well, it’s only the first scrimmage! hahahaha! Attitude isn’t going to cut it.

  15. Franks has trouble reading defenses but so has every quarterback we have had since Tebow. This is the fault of bad recruiting and development by the coaches. I like Franks and rooted for him all year. However, his confidence may be so damaged from last year that he very well may wind up losing the job. There is no pressure on Trask or the other two quarterbacks as they are not starters looking to keep their position. The good news is that we have a competent coaching staff for the first time since Dan Mullen was here in 2008 so I remain hopeful that the offense will turn it around, although I think we need a full year to work out kinks and get the young guys ready.

  16. If a QB can’t read a defense in Coach Mullen’s spread offense, that QB will self-eliminate. The QB who can, will succeed. It’s called read option for a reason. Trusting Couch M on figuring which QB has the gray matter to do so.

    • Ed Johnson. It is not about gray matter. You can be highly intelligent and process slowly. Or be not that intelligent and process quickly. Or somewhere in between. I personally think Franks is an intelligent kid. But, for some reason, he is just not processing the game of football at the QB position very quickly. Task, on the other hand, is also an intelligent kid who processes the game better right now. Franks is more physically gifted, but is lacking the innate mental processing skills to be a good or very good QB. Trask is less physically gifted, but may turn out to be a much better college QB because of his innate skills in the pocket. Franks has been on campus two plus years now and his innate skills in the pocket are not improving, and it even seems that they are getting worse. He just may never have the “it” that it takes to be a successful college QB at this level. Trask might. And I think Jones has that “it” too, but he needs to catch up to the speed of the college game first. I think Allen has the “it” as well, but he is very limited with his physical skills at this level.

  17. When Franks said, we don’t play our first game for another 8 months, I thought that doesn’t sound right. I said to myself, I can’t wait that long for some Florida football. Thankfully, he miscalculated. More like 5. I like Franks and hope he makes a big splash this year. He seems like a great kid. However, all along I’ve had this feeling like Trask may be the one that takes the helm. I’d like to see both of them make it to the next level and that’s why I hope Franks’ gets the nod. Trask has some time. Go Gators!

      • Do you try and be a loser or does it come pretty easy for you. Your the guy with a black belt in keyboard . What in the hell does the Nole forum have to do with anything. Get back in your moms backroom puss punk.
        What’s the A A signify ? Arrogant Asshole ? Tell us Ronnie

        • I agree that Franks didn’t improve week to week no matter how bad Nuss’s offense was…and does not seem to have it. This, however, is another keyboard warrior who wouldn’t dare say that stuff to his face. His play can and should be commented on, but going after kids doing their best with personal attacks sucks.

      • A A Ron. Franks’ narrative about the time before the season starts was no doubt intended as a figurative means of speech, and not intended as a literal verse. But I do not expect you to have the skills required to comprehend that communication concept and form.

  18. I think all the QB’a will improve and we have a long way to go yet. We will see about the QB situation later in the summer. But, with all the excuses Franks gave–which make sense–Trask had the same and more. Trask also had to deal with an injury. It makes me feel better, at least at this point, about Trask given the adversity he has had to overcome yet still look sharp under bad weather conditions–the same Franks had to deal with. The best QB’s in Florida history were guys who knew how to simply execute and read, had vision and leadership. “Close competition”in the QB race the last few years has been a contest of ineptitude. I hope all these guys improve to the point where any of them could go in and play at a high level against some of the best teams on our schedule. So I’m rooting for all of them .