A coaching change has led to a quarterback change at Florida.
Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire is replacing redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks as the Gators’ starting quarterback for Saturday’s game at Missouri, interim head coach Randy Shannon announced Thursday.
“This is his opportunity to get this team where it needs to be and not to be satisfied just because he’s the starter,” Shannon said.
“Today is an opportunity for him to run the offense and understand the expectations that we have for him. This is not a time for him to feel comfortable and feel like he’s made it. We want him to keep grinding and understand that competition is very good.”
Zaire takes over for the struggling Franks, who threw for only 30 yards in a 42-7 loss to Georgia last Saturday.
Zaire relieved Franks in the fourth quarter of that game and led the Gators on a 71-yard touchdown drive.
In two appearances this season, Zaire has combined to complete 12 of 23 passes for 142 yards.
At Notre Dame, Zaire missed most of the 2015 season because of a broken ankle and lost his starting job to DeShone Kizer last season. Zaire threw for 816 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons with the Irish.
Zaire’s ability to make plays with his legs brings the read-option aspect of Florida’s offense into play.
“He’s a good quarterback,” senior running back Mark Thompson said. “That’s one of my best friends on the team. I’m excited to see what he can do for the rest of the season. I’ve always been excited about what he can do. And it will be a positive outcome no matter who’s lined up at quarterback.”
Franks has started six games this season. He’s completed 60 percent of his passes, but thrown for only 830 yards and four touchdowns along with four interceptions.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu’s blog at Gatorsports.com.