Notebook: Henderson expected back for Missouri game, Mullen says

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Florida defensive back CJ Henderson gestures "incomplete" after defending a pass against LSU at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium earlier this month. [Brad McClenny/ The Gainesville Sun]

Florida’s depleted secondary has received some rare positive news. Starting cornerback CJ Henderson is on schedule to return for Saturday’s game against Missouri after missing most of the Georgia game with an injured back.

“Thankfully, no structural damage, just a bruise,” UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday. “So we’re expecting him to be ready to go for Saturday.”

Henderson was injured on Florida’s first defensive series against the Bulldogs and did not return. With Henderson out — along with starting cornerback Marco Wilson, who is sidelined for the season after injuring his knee in the Sept. 8 Kentucky game — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm picked apart the young secondary, throwing for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

The loss of Henderson clearly had an impact on the game.

“It didn’t help,” Mullen said. “Right there you lose probably your best defensive player. When you’ve already lost your first or second-best defensive player.

“You’re looking at a spot that is really not deep, but has some of your best players, and then you don’t have both of them play in a game. And (Georgia) did a good job of taking advantage of that. That’s how they were able to move the ball.”

Henderson was replaced by sophomore C.J. McWilliams, who was beaten on two of the touchdown passes.

Sophomore Brian Edwards, who missed the Vanderbilt game, did not see any playing time at corner against Georgia, but did play on special teams.

The secondary also could receive a boost this week from the expected return of starting safety Brad Stewart, who was held out of Saturday’s game for unspecified reasons.

More Emory to come

Florida fans — and opposing defenses — are going to see more of true freshman quarterback Emory Jones at some point over the next four weeks, Mullen said.

Mullen came up with a package of plays for Jones to run in the Georgia game. He rushed for 12 yards, drew a pass interference call on an accurate deep pass and recovered his own fumble.

Under the new redshirt rule, Jones can play in two more games this season and still redshirt this year, which is still the plan, Mullen said after the UGA game.

Mullen said Jones has shown an ability to make certain plays in practice and has a much better grasp of the offense than he did earlier in the season.

“We’ve seen it with flashes with him,” Mullen said. “He’s seen as the season has gone on, ‘I understand the different checks and the different looks and how you apply plays from one week to the next.’ And he’s grown.

“We have a couple of little package plays last week that we put in for him. We’ll do that for at least two more games this year. I think he’s right on schedule. I think he’s in great shape.”

Upon further review

After watching the tape of the 36-17 loss to Georgia, Mullen said quarterback Feleipe Franks, and the Gators overall, did some positive things.

“I thought he did some really good things,” Mullen said. “There are some throws he missed he wished he had back. I don’t think he played bad. I don’t think he lit it up and played at a big-time performance. I don’t know that he took a huge step backwards in his growth and his development. I just think he missed some throws.

“Obviously, the fumble was a bad play. But there are also a lot of things he did pretty well during the course of the game. His touchdown pass was a big-time throw. We asked him to be a willing runner. On the goal-line he was a willing runner. A couple of short-yardage situations he ran the ball and got some first downs for us.

“Not just him, the entire team. When you go back and watch the film, you can pull off sections and say, ‘Boy, we’re a great looking football team right here. They had eight plays inside the 1-yard line and couldn’t score.’ That’s pretty impressive.”

53 COMMENTS

    • I can tell you because Ive seen it before, many times and am seeing with Blake Bortles. Some QB’s have an ability to make some difficult throws and coaches see that and get enamored with it even when the guy cant maintain drives. Bortles and Franks are alot alike. the Jags have done this before with Blaine gabbert. When coaches get enamored with a player its like a person buying a stock that seems to have all this potential and they just cant let it go when it consistently is a dog!
      I can assure you Trask would have been a very competent QB who would have sustained drives with a steady progression but no real big plays but the coach wont give him a chance because he just cant quit being enamored with the big throw potential of Franks even though most of his drives stall out.
      Its like a guy being in love with a girl and he just cant see past what he’s attracted to to see all her faults! Once the coach made the decision he sort of fell in love with the QB and cant see he’s just a dog of a stock and he needs to move on! It seems to be the hardest thing once a coach chooses a QB to admit the truth and move on. They always seem to hold that stock too long, way past time that everyone else sees its a lost cause.

      • So we’ve got a long list of offensive coaches throughout his time in high school, then Mac and Nuss, and now Brian Johnson and Dan Mullen, a guy with a tried and true exemplary track record with QBs, who have all felt Trask wasn’t worthy of starting, but Daz and Alum84 can assure you of his abilities. Not sure why you guys aren’t coaching with your keen eye for talent, especially without being there day in and day out seeing what’s actually happening. I mean that’s a talent for sure. You’re definitely wasting that talent when you should be benefiting from it. You could make a ton of money. Hell Brian Johnson is making over $400,000 with clearly no ability to see that talent. You guys could make Todd Grantham money, which is a million more than that.

  1. The Henderson news is great news for this team, especially with Lock coming to town. And hopefully, Stewart has paid the price for whatever he did wrong and learned from it. 10 and 2 is the goal now, with a top 10 ratings finish and a New Year’s day bowl. That would be a fantastic come back year. Just short of the desire goal, but a major accomplishment anyway. Win out and beat the hell our of FSU.

  2. Can any fellow Gators confirm Stewart will be back for Missouri? Obviously, was very much missed last weekend. Especially on third and 10…Missouri is going to come in here like a nest of angry hornets. The local newspapers out there are really giving them the business for blowing the Kentucky game. Turns out they did NOT PICK UP ONE FIRST DOWN IN THE SECOND HALF…Any guess who their O. C. is?? Derek Dooley…L.O.L

    • Franks played like Franks, 2 very good plays: a great TD throw and a nice long run mixed with several boneheaded plays: the INT, the fumble, the overthrow and mediocre the rest of the way. But Mullen is not going to bash him in public.

  3. i stand corrected on edwards, stewart i am still furious with. Id look for jones to get time in the games that count and the bowl game, i dont think idaho and south carolina are a competitive enough challenge for him, although right now you have to wonder if fsu could beat south carolina the way they have lost their mojo

  4. I know Frank’s was not very good in the game Saturday who knows what happens if he hit Jefferson on the flee flicker we will never know doesnt matter now. Frank’s has been playing pretty good this year he is much improved over last by far yeah he still makes mistakes and he is going too some you scratch your head at I get it.

    In the end if this team can get to 10 – 2 which I think they can and will not 1 person on this forum would have believed this teams there were alot of 7 – 5 maybe 8 – 4 but there were not many if any even from The most optimistic fans 10 – 2 so let’s get behind this team and cheer our arse off to get to 10 – 2 and a new years 6 Bowl possibly playing urbs in the peach bowl if that happens I’m there

    GEAUX GATORS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    SORRY GO GATORS!!!!

    • Frank’s played like Frank’s actually a little worse, he going to throw a pick, he usually make 8 to 10 good throws a game, the rest are short high percentage throws, he just not a consistent QB. McWilliams, comes off the bench and covers one of the best receivers in the sec and a veteran 5 star QB throwing the ball, I’m sure it wasn’t expected for him to win that battle everytime. To win that game Frank’s was going to have to hit big plays down field.

  5. If Dan Mullins could hear the TY commentators about Franks,the Gators would have a new QB. throwing late, wrong shoulder, low throw. missing open receivers. no faking on QB options, etc. The only thing wrong with our offense is the QB. This team could light up the scoreboard with Trask or Jones
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    • I would have liked to see Trask come in after Frank’s was rattled, I’m not sure about why Jones was brought in, if they were supposed to be neck and neck why didn’t he throw the kitchen sink at Georgia.

    • Sounds a lot like 2015 when Harris was playing horrible and all the fans, who thought they knew more than the coach, were screaming for Franks’ redshirt to be burned cause we’d be lighting it up with him at QB. Pretty funny seeing how off that theory was, but somehow now we’re hearing the same with Trask. I kind’ve wish Mullen would’ve thrown Trask to the wolves against UGA just to quiet down those same fans. Unfortunately when he proves everyone wrong like Franks did, then Jones would be the most amazing Qb on earth. If he showed he wasn’t ready, we’d probably then hear Nick Sproles would be a Heisman contender if he were just given a chance. The best position to be on the Gator team is the backup QB, cause he’s the greatest player on the team by far.

  6. george73 – Yep, he had 42 picks out of 1,170 passes – Danny also threw 114 TDs and for 10,875 yards – oh yeah and he won an NC and the Heisman. His 4 year QB rating of 163.6 is considerably higher than Feliepe’s 125.7

  7. I am not a big fan of dismissing Florida’s Q.B.s so fast (just see: John Brantley, Jeff Driskel, Luke Del Rio, etc..), but I also understand the Gator fans’ frustrations with Franks. He can throw a beautiful T.D. pass on one series, then fumble inside the opponents’ red zone on the next series. He’s presently way too inconsistent, and therein lies the problem. I sincerely hope he gets it all corrected and soon, or gets much more competition from the other Q.B.s this spring. But this 2018 Florida Football team could still end up a Top 10 team at 10-2, by this year’s end. That should be the team goal, and they’ll need the fans to show up for all the home games for that to happen. And considering this is still Mullen’s 1st year as Head Coach, that would be amazing and awesome. Go Gators!

    • Dreaming on here: Could end up 11-2 and final five if the chips fell the Gator’s way…I had hoped for a 9-3 regular season, so I would be elated if they can manage a five game winning streak including bowl game.

  8. I appreciate Franks’ effort and fight to win the starting job in the off season. It certainly wasn’t gifted to him. If everyone on these boards has a problem with Franks as our qb, the the problem sounds like it must be CDMullen for naming him as the starter.
    Why must the conversation always blame Franks for the loss?
    Our depleated secondary was there for the taking and they got taken.
    Let’s forget the Cocktail Party and get a big win with an angry, motivated Missouri team that doesn’t quit. The team needs our support now that the large goals may be gone for this season. I think we can have a huge season with four more wins.
    Work ‘em silly Gators!

  9. We can build momentum into next season by finishing this one strong. Win out and win a big bowl game. Be the first time in a decade we finished a season the “right” way.
    Pee on the dumpster fire in Tallahassee in the process. A lot to play for!!
    Need a big crowd in Hogtown Saturday! Go Gators!!!

  10. Our best QB’s are sitting on the bench because they have not shown the coaching staff in practice that they know the offense and cannot run the offense! The backup QB’s are always the most popular! The Gators are 6-2 with Frank’s I will take that! We finished 4-8 last year!

  11. Isn’t it amazing how many people know so much more than Dan Mullen when it comes to developing QBs. It’s not like he’s developed some pretty good QBs out of some pretty raw material in the past…and I would never compare a second year player who’s finally getting some good coaching to some Gator QBs of the past, but even the great ones had some really bad days. Let the kid keep learning, and if you don’t trust Mullen’s judgement, then just start commenting about firing him now.

  12. I was onboard the Trask train after last season and in the Spring. I really thought he would be our guy this year. However, after watching the O&B it was obvious he was behind Franks. I trust CDM that Trask is still behind Franks and it appears has fallen to 3rd on the depth chart. At this point if we were to make a change why would you go with Trask when Jones is the obvious future? I’m not even sure why CDM is worried about Emory’s RS since its highly unlikely he stays for 5 years anyway. Give Jones a package in each game and every look you can this year. It’ll only make him better next season when he starts.

  13. Franks is as good as he is ever going to be. We just have to trust CDM that Franks is the best we have for now. Keep in mind that every player on the team (e.g. Emory Jones) and every potential recruit is observing how CDM treats his QBs and other starters publicly, and whether or not he has their backs. CDM is demonstrating continuous positive attitude and player development to all his future players. Think about it. Would you rather sign with a coach like Mullen, or with one who distances himself from his guys when they have a bad game and who responds to “crowd coaching”? Remember, we are re-building a program, not a single season. I agree that it is painful watching Franks, but it would hurt more to watch CDM throw his guys under the bus. Patience and GO GATORS!

      • Me too… It would be enlightening to learn what CDM thinks Franks has that Trask lacks, besides game experience. Despite the fact that I am a big CDM believer, I think the Head Ball Coach would have benched Franks a long time ago. No doubt he is a fine young man, and is big, strong, and athletic, but he just doesn’t have “it”. Danny, Timmy, Kerwin Bell, Wayne Peace, John Reaves, SOS, Larry Libertore and a few others had “it”. This season it looks like Tua, Trevor Lawrence, Trace McSorely, Will Grier, and a few others have “it”. That intangible football IQ, and the ability to deliver under high stress at big moments – whether it is finding and hitting the open receiver, or avoiding the turn-over at critical points in the game, as well as that old Infantry “Follow Me” credo that turns followers into believers and winners.

  14. There are a lot of good comments here and maybe a few misguided ones. I totally agree with the sentiments that the coaches are watching these guys day in and day out and if they choose to play Franks, there is a reason.

    My two cents boils down to the Mullen principle of being a “willing runner”. I suspect that while the passing game would vastly improve in accuracy and completions with Trask, it might also suffer from having a relatively immobile QB. So much of Coach Mullen’s offense depends on having the threat of the QB running. If that threat is not there, it hurts the running and passing game in his design.

    With regard to Emory Jones, I believe that he, not Trask, got the call because of the run threat that Jones presents as well as this being a nod to the future. In other words, Emory is the most likely serious challenger to the starting QB role and not Trask. I wouldn’t be surprise to see Trask transfer to a program more suited to his Pro Style abilities. I’d like to see him play somewhere as he seems like a nice kid!