Andreu’s Answers: Franks holds lead in UF’s QB race

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Before the start of spring practice in March, veteran college football beat writer Robbie Andreu came up with five pertinent questions. Here are the answers to those questions:

1. Will we have a pretty good idea who the starting quarterback is going to be heading into the offseason?

Coach Dan Mullen said earlier this week that there has been no separation among the quarterbacks. But the reality is, Franks has worked more with the No. 1 offense than the other quarterbacks and he rebounded from a shaky first scrimmage with a strong one a week ago. He appears to be the leader for the starting role heading into the offseason, but the competition is far from over and a starter likely won’t be made until the Gators are deep into preseason camp. Kyle Trask and Emory Jones have both shown an ability to make plays and move the offense, but consistency has been an issue at times. Overall, the play at QB appears to have improved over the course of the spring.

2. Of the early enrollees, which will have a chance to make an impact this season?

All have done some good things. One who has stuck out a little bit is running back Dameon Pierce, who has a natural, and tough, running style that seems like a good fit in the offense. He and Iverson Clement have both made a strong bid for possible playing time at running back in the fall. They’ve brought great depth to the position, for sure. Cornerback Trey Dean and safety/linebacker Amari Burney have stood out at times and they have a chance to get into the playing rotation in the fall.

3. What playmakers will emerge in the passing game?

The two big ones have been the transfers — Van Jefferson (Ole Miss) and Trevon Grimes (Ohio State). They both have shown an ability to get open and make something happen after the catch. The only catch, so to speak, is the Gators still don’t know if they’ll be eligible in the fall. If they are, they could be the Gators’ two leading receivers. Another bright spot this spring has been the production of the tight ends, especially senior C’yontai Lewis, who seems to have become a go-to guy.

4. Will an attacking, blitzing defense produce more turnovers and big plays?

Absolutely, based on the two scrimmages. Coordinator Todd Grantham’s defense is much more aggressive than the defense the Gators played under Randy Shannon last season. Guys are flying around, blitzing and stunting, and making plays and coming up with turnovers. It’s a style of play that the players seem to have embraced. Several said earlier this week that this is a defense that’s much more fun to play it, and it showed in their enthusiasm.

5. Can the Gators find adequate replacements for punter Johnny Townsend and place-kicker Eddy Pineiro?

This is going to have to wait until this summer, when the nation’s No. 2 place-kicker prospect, Evan McPherson, arrives on campus. Senior Jorge Powell has had a nice spring, but it has not been at Pineiro’s overall level. Tommy Townsend has flashed his potential this spring, booming some punts just like his older brother Johnny, but he has lacked the consistency of his brother.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or Also check out Andreu’s blog at


    • You are sooo right George. All one has to do is watch last season’s fsu game to know just how screwed we are. There is no saving that. No amount of coaching at this point that will help QB play that is that horrific. I believe that Mullen will develop an outstanding QB and it’ll probably be Emory Jones. But this year will be another one where most of the Gator roster is pretty good, but a dumpster fire at QB to go with it sadly.

          • It is the internet, spelling and grammar don’t count. I agree that anybody can improve and insisting that one game is the final answer is foolish.

          • Well I have a BA from UF and an MA. Legit is right. Tarik Elmasry is stupid. Franks had a horrible coaching staff last year. Give him a chance under the new staff. He still may not pan out, but he deserves a chance.

    • If the offensive line isn’t any better, then woe is us. I can’t say Franks can play or if he sucks (see also: Jeff Driskel, Jacoby Brissett). I do know nobody is any good when they are running for their life or is flat on their back. Fix the offensive line, cobble together a decent running and find a way to scheme all these alleged “playmakers” open and then we can evaluate the quarterbacks.

  1. I don’t give a crap what anyone says, Mullen doesn’t seem much different than McElwain to me at this point. The qbs struggle, the offense is sporadic at best, and everything is rainbows and unicorns until we have to play a decent opponents and then the house of cards comes tumbling down. I think this season will mirror what we have seen out of this team for a decade. Great defense, horrific offense, play close yet low scoring games, then lose in the end because the defense wears down. The reason Trask and Jones are behind Franks is because they are inconsistent??? Really? I didn’t think anyone, on the face of the Earth, at any point in history, could be more inconsistent than Franks. Unless we are talking about being consistently bad and consistently making poor decisions about where to throw the ball. Get ready for yet another dismal season and, as I’ve predicted on here previously, before the end of the season a large group of morons will be ready to run Mullen out of town by the end of year one. Followed by more morons jumping on the fire the coach bandwagon by the end of year two. Before long there will be a fever pitch of morons trashing Mullen, making personal insults about Mullen in public forums like this one, and he will get run out of town. The morons will get their way and we will be approaching 15 years of mediocrity. And all will be well in Gator Nation because Gators know nothing of rational thinking and patience. Get ready. I predicted it for both Muschamp and McElwain and mac got run out even faster than I predicted. Gotta love the band of imbeciles that make up the majority of Gator fans these days.

  2. Do I smell a Nole in LT’s rant? If he is so football smart he should apply for the HC Job. Maybe at Slippery Rock. Oh that’s right. Are they still playing football? Jimbo got out at just the right time. Nole president and the rest of the brain trust at Tally must have fixed it so Jimbo could not stand the smell any longer. HC just could not be a Gator fan with the warped mind like that. Bet he was for keeping Muschamp or maybe Zook in the long run,

  3. With the amount of clairvoyance presented by some fans here make me wonder how many of you are wealthy from picking the correct 6 numbers in any lottery available. I, too, didn’t care for Franks last year, but there is always the potential for an athlete to start seeing the game slow down for them. I cannot perceive to say which QB is better right now for one, I haven’t seen any of them play yet, and two, I doubt that even Coach Mullen knows who the starter is yet. Coaches utter certain words to elicit a certain response from various players. Maybe that is what is going on now. I am merely suggesting that we all wait until late summer to start worrying if there is a necessity to do so. Until then I will keep my faith in Coach Mullen and staff, and worry only if and when there is a need to. GO GATORS!!!

    • I’m not worried at this point about Mullen’s ability to coach or that he won’t be a major improvement over Mac and most of his coaching staff. I am slightly concerned about our ability to recruit well enough to compete with UGA or Bama. Three star and an occasional 4 star won’t get it done. There Is some time to right that ship yet this year, so we will see how it works out.

  4. Today is yet another opportunity for someone other than franks to see if they can be an upgrade. If that doesn’t work, and the transfers are permitted, maybe we can put in Kadarius toney at qb, who performed better than Franks last year imo. Absent that, if Franks can at least improve to the level of not being a weakness, so that other teams will focus their attack elsewhere, such as wide receiver, that’s enough to stop the 4-7 seasons we keep getting. Any thing better should be celebrated (although hopefully it is not a waste of good fortune).
    Sorry to be rough on Franks, the kid has battled, even on his bad days he fought admirably (like a recent scrimmage disaster that he came back with 2 TDs at the end), he has taken the unpleasantness better than most would. We do owe him a debt of gratitude for trying to lead us out of the years of fragility we have been through. But once something is broken – can you apply gold leaf to repair it – like Japanese Kintsugi?
    I commend all of these guys for trying to do just that.

  5. I recall recent QBs at UF named Driskel and Bissett, two highly touted players who seemed over their head and downright scared at times. Was it them or their coaching? Seems pretty clear now, with their NFL contracts and all, that they had crap coaching. What we know from Mullen’s solid track record is that he can get the most out of his QBs. Come opening day, I’m confident we’re going to see smart, offensive football with a QB in position to succeed.

  6. The only question about Franks is can he finally go through progressions and not panic if protection breaks down which it will with an average OL.
    He needs to run rather than throw passes up for grabs and not take sacks. If he can accomplish this, then he will be the QB unless he falters and then we hope that Trask or Jones or Allen are ready. Mullens first year has rebuilding written all over it as is true with most new programs.

  7. We won’t know anything until the trip to Knoxville because UF opens with two paid scrubs and a team, Kentucky, that doesn’t seem to know that you should actually attempt to cover a receiver.
    I don’t think Franks is intelligent enough to play QB. You don’t need to see him play. You only need to listen to him speak. His comments after getting demolished by FSU tell you all you need to know.
    It’s going to take a special coach, very special, to turn a culture of failure, developed for years, on offense into competence in a short time. I don’t see Mullen as someone special, so I expect the offense to continue to suck, no matter who starts at QB.

  8. If Franks is the No. 1 QB, then several things are happening (or will happen)
    A. Mullen is being tight-lipped about the QB battle.
    B. Franks as the starter–without showing vast improvement from 2017–means the Gators are in trouble.
    C. Kyle Trask must have fallen off the depth chart.
    D. Mullen does not recognize what he has in Trask and Jones. I.E.–Franks couldn’t outrun a plow horse towing a howitzer.
    E. Mullen wants to run a pro-style attack like McElwain. We know how well that worked.
    F. A QB who can’t run, can’t pass, or has no receivers, has no chance in the SEC.
    H. There are still 4 1/2 months before the season begins.
    I. I watched film of the Orange and Blue game. It was impossible to determine if Franks has taken a GIANT leap forward (He needs one in this league) or if the defense has taken a step back. The jury is still out on Franks.
    J. Gator fans will NOT be happy if Franks is named the starter.