Gators will stay with Franks as starter

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks sets to throw a pass in the first half against Michigan on Saturday in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)


Florida redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks is back as the starting quarterback this week after getting benched early in the second half of the Gators’ loss to Michigan last Saturday.

“Yeah, we’ll go back with Feleipe,” UF coach Jim McElwain said Monday. “That was kind of the plan and I think both guys (Franks and Malik Zaire) did some things, some things they’d like back. Like I said after the game, we talked about (playing both) and that was kind of part of what we wanted to do. But we’ll take a look at (Franks) going this week.”

Franks, who was named the starter last Wednesday, was benched after losing a fumble early in the third quarter and replaced by Zaire, who played the remainder of the game.

Both struggled playing behind an offensive line that was overwhelmed by the Michigan defensive front.

Franks’ first pass of the game was a 34-yard strike to Josh Hammond and he led the Gators to a field goal on the first possession of the game. He also had a 16-yard run to convert a third down later in the quarter. But the offense stalled the rest of the time he was in and he was pulled after losing the fumble on UF’s first possession of the second half.

He finished with five completions in only nine attempts for 75 yards. He also tripped and fell twice, once in the red zone when offensive guard Fred Johnson stepped on his foot.

“Feleipe obviously did exactly as he was supposed to do on the first (pass) play,” McElwain said. “He did give us a big first down on a third-down scramble. Ball security is an issue on the next one. We missed on one of the play-actions when we moved the pocket. We probably put it downfield when we shouldn’t have. Those things happen.

 “The right guard took the wrong step, stepped on his foot down in the red area. Hitting in on one of the other ones, the running back’s path wasn’t right, which forced him down on one of the play-actions as well. Those are obviously technical things that hurt his performance that were actually caused by others.”

McElwain pulled Franks in favor of Zaire hoping the dual-threat quarterback would give the offense a better chance against the aggressive Michigan defensive front.

But Zaire had major problems moving the offense. He completed nine of 17 passes for 106 yards, but was sacked five times and lost a fumble in his own end zone that was recovered for a Michigan touchdown.

“I thought Malik was looking probably to get out of the pocket first before delivering the ball,” McElwain said. “You can see that from the standpoint of the comfort piece. It’s something he’s got to get better at.”

Zaire may get another chance, but for now, Franks is the starting quarterback.

McElwain said he was pleased with how Franks handled himself in his first start.

“Yeah, no doubt about it (his demeanor is one of his strengths),” he said. “Even going in only playing a little bit, I thought he handled it well and he’s going to be a good player.”

McElwain would not say whether he’ll be sticking with Franks for the long term.

“Yeah, we’ll look at that,” he said. “We’ve got this week of practice and then the game and then we’ll evaluate after that.”

Also, McElwain said defensive back Chauncey Gardner and tight end DeAndre Goolsby had MRIs. And added that fourth-team QB Kyle Trask was injured in practice last week and many need a pin in his foot.

McElwain didn’t give an update on the nine suspended players for the alleged card scam. Freshman receiver James Robinson (cited for marijuana) will return this week, he said.

“I haven’t heard anything,” the UF coach said.

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


  1. And McElwain is also staying with Nussmeier calling plays. Two plus years of horrible play calling and a terrifble offense, and McElwain still sticks with Nussmeier. It took Alabama and Michigan one year to get rid of Nussmeier. Obviously, McElwain is much more thick headed than Saban and Harbaugh, and it showed this past Saturday. Love the Gators, but this has got to stop. Now.

    • AMEN!! I’ve been saying that from DAY ONE on hearing that McElwain hired him! It caused me to lose confidence in McElwain as the right hire immediately , but stuck with the Gators to give him the benefit of the doubt. Well that grace period is and has been over. McElwain is NOT the answer at FL. When you hire a coordinator from MI that had one of the WORST offences in the Nation, it doesn’t say much for your head coach AND MI had more quality recruits on their team than the Gators.

    • Totally agree. There is this thing called the coaching fraternity where they watch each other’s back. To get rid of Nussmeier you have to get rid of McElwain. It wont happen this year but after loses to TN, LSU, GA, SC and maybe KY, both will be gone, hopefully.

    • Everyone on this thread barking for a new coach, wise up. If you were a winning coach, would you want to come to Florida and deal with the fan-base and try to succeed where two others have failed?

      The parity in recruiting college players and TV money flowing more evenly to all schools, why come here and live a stressful life? Like it or not, We are the Alabama of the 80’s and the UT of the 90’s … Our revolving coach door has made our hopes of getting a Chip Kelly caliber coach nearly impossible.

      No doubt we need a new OC … but calling for the coach’s head is ignorant and defeats our future prospects of landing an A-Lister in the future. Like it or not, we need this coach to find some success before he moves on.

  2. Glad to see Mac is sticking with Franks. No questions are going to be answered against N. Colo so we’ll have to wait until the Tenn. game to see if there’s any real improvement with the O line and see how Franks progresses. They really need to work on the short passing game and getting the ball to the backs and the other “playmakers” we keep hearing about.

  3. Guard stepped the wrong way? Running back took a bad path? This is the kind of overly complicated crap that’s hamstrung our offense for 3 years now. Too much has to go right with this system just to get a positive play. SIMPLIFY FOR GOD’S SAKE. Here’s a play: “Tyrie, run down the field and I’m going to throw it up to you. Go catch it.” Here’s another one: “Adarius, swing out right and I’ll toss it to you.” And another one: “Powell, come in motion and at the snap I’ll hand it to you.” Run those 3 plays 5 times each and I promise you’ll score more than 3 points against Michigan. That would be too easy though.

  4. Not that I’ve done an in-depth analysis of Gator recruiting over the last few years, but what has caught my attention is what seems to be a skewing towards more 3 star recruits. Maybe someone can correct me, but it seems like the overall talent level has been sliding downward. Nonetheless, it’s clear that Mack is coaching like he’s in the WAC and not the SEC where his “aw shucks, we’ll get’em next week” coaching style doesn’t work.

    • Michel,

      Liar Meyer would say, “We will get the QB position fixed (after Tebow) after every game where his QBs would play poorly.” He finally got sick, lied and bunch, and left.

      Ron Zook would say, “We will get better and better. We will fix it. Get better every week.” He is gone, fired.

      Will Muschamp would say, “We will burn the midnight oil and get it fixed,” after every terrible offensive performance. He would bring in a new OC every year and still say, “We will get it fixed.” He is gone, fired.

      Jim McElwain is now saying, “We will get it fixed.” Two years and counting of “getting it fixed” is not a “good thing.” The exit door is starting to open for McElwain as well. He has not much more time to get it fixed.

  5. What a disappointment this game was… There is no doubt Nuss has to go for Mac to keep his job…Spurrier recently said, he wouldn’t mind becoming an offensive coordinators…well, here is Mac’s big chance and take advantage of his offer… I do think Mac can coach, but he does need a capable OC and Spurrier certainly fits that bill…it will certainly help him keep his job.

    • Have to disagree with you on Mac being a good coach. I always say that a head coach has to excel on the side of the ball that made people view him as elite. Mac is supposed to be a QB whisperer and an offensive guru. He has been a disappointment at both. Even Muschamp proved that he could excel at his forte…defense. Over the last couple of years, Mac has benefited from Muschamp’s defensive recruits. I’m now beginning to see cracks in the D.

    Coach Mac is a freaking moron plain and simple. If I could make millions and SUCK at my job…!!! I cannot stand his good ol’ humble pie aww shucks BS!! Hey Mac, take your idiot O coordinator and your family and hit the freakin’ street you big toothed idiot!!

  7. Keeping Franks on the field is one of the few things that Mac has done right. Keeping Nussy on playcalling is the most idiotic decision he could possibly make. Does he NOT see that we have a dead offense, just like the other two years of his tenure here? Offensive guru? QB Whisperer? Lazy-azz waste of $4.5M a year?