Exciting ending hides some flaws in UF’s offense

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks gets sacked by Tennessee linebacker Colton Jumper during the first half Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

One final heave from Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks may have alleviated the preceding offensive ineptitude, but UF coach Jim McElwain wasn’t ready to let his young quarterback off the hook despite his last-second heroics.

“He had some plays he would like to have back,” McElwain said of Franks’ performance. “I think he’ll just continue to get a little better.”

Franks, who completed 18-of-28 passes for 212 yards in Saturday’s 26-20 win over Tennessee, didn’t have a completed pass travel farther than 10 yards in the air until the decisive 63-yarder to Tyrie Cleveland. Despite a 2-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Franks continually forced throws into double coverage and repeatedly missed the open wide receiver by zeroing in on a target.

But success or failure on offense won’t solely be determined by Florida’s redshirt freshman quarterback. In McElwain’s eyes, the entire offensive unit has to improve in order for Franks to reach his potential.

“Playing with some consistency, playing with some energy. Get to the line and go,” McElwain said, when asked in what areas the offense can improve. “When they do that, they go play pretty good.

“Sometimes in life, it’s not about being afraid to be wrong, but rather think what it is to be right. And we just wait to shoot ourselves.”

If there was a unit that didn’t shoot UF in the foot, however, it was the offensive line.

After opening with a dud in Arlington, Tex., senior wide receiver Brandon Powell credited Florida’s offensive line with giving Franks ample time to run the offense.

“Our offensive line was pumped the whole game. I’ve never seen them have that much juice before, blocking and giving Feleipe time to throw the ball,” Powell said. “He was getting the ball in our hands and making plays.”

But even though Franks saved his best throw of the night for last, and the Gators likely won’t face a defensive line as weak as Tennessee’s on a regular basis, the game-winning pass exemplified the potential UF’s offense possesses with Franks in command.

And in Franks’ eyes, the offense can only continue to progress as Florida’s season does.

“We have, and I still believe, some of the greatest players in the country,” Franks said. “And when we all put our chemistry together and we’re all communicating and we’re all on the same page then we’re really lethal at offense. And I think towards the end it showed that. We’re only going to improve.”


  1. ”We’re only going to improve.” ~Felipe Framls.
    And after quite possibly the weirdest start for U.F. football (Dallas, cancellled game, and a hurricane), they are still 1-0 in the SEC. And they made yet another ”Grier to Calloway” play to beat U.T., without Will Grier and Antonio Calloway!

    • ”We’re only going to improve.” ~Felipe Franks.
      And after quite possibly the weirdest start of U.F. football seasons (Dallas, cancelled game, hurricane), they are still 1-0 in the SEC. And they made yet another ”Grier to Calloway” type play to beat U.T., without Will Grier and Antonio Calloway!

  2. The OL did a good job w pass protection last nite, but still couldn’t get much going in the running game until late. Not sure where the problem is but it started to feel by the end of the 3rd Q, they were getting into something of a groove. They need to make major strides in the coming weeks to open up some real holes to set the tempo at the beginning of the game. Also, the RB need to open their eyes and look for the holes. Did start to see some positive plays from MT which was encouraging, except for his blocking.

  3. I’ve been reading negative comments about the OC for the last three weeks, with no minor distain for what was being said. I’m now in agreement. It’s time to open things up in the running game, AND the passing game. Stop treating Franks c kid gloves….coach him up during the week…..don’t be afraid to use his potential and my bet is that he’ll achieve it. And for God’s sake, if we have to go run by committee, then let’s do it! Kentucky looked pretty decent last night, and so did Vandy. We’ve got time to develop for Georgia, but not if we continue to putz around on offense. I still don’t know what to do about FSU, but even if we suffer beat downs again to both them and Alabama, there can still be a relevant bowl game, a creative OC to follow, and recruiting might not suffer as badly as I thought back in August.

  4. Franks clearly has the arm talent and athletic ability to be an excellent QB. But his decision making and ability to see the field is a major weakness right now. I sat in the end zone yesterday and saw on multiple occasions where Franks would throw into double and triple coverage when another wide out or tight end would be running open or have single coverage. On one play, he rolled to the right and completely missed a wide open Massey running down the field (would have scored easily on a long TD reception if Franks had seen him) while he stared down his first and only option, forcing the ball into that receiver who was double covered instead of seeing Massey wide open further down the field. That has to change if Franks is going to make the next step forward as a SEC QB. If he continues to do that, he will become more like Driskel when he was here staring down receivers. Also, Nussmeier needs to call more down the field passes with this man’s powerful arm. Heck, just send Cleveland flying down the field and let Franks just drop back and heave it 70 yards down the field and see what happens two or three times a game. And for heavens sake, get Toney in the game more and get him the ball in space more. He is a budding superstar and is already better than Powell and Massey in the slot, and far more dangerous. I would move Massey permanently outside and alternate Powell and Toney in the slot.

  5. I was not impressed with the play calling again. I heard coach Mac say we went all over the state to get these players lets play them…. seems like a good ideal to me. The D got gassed at the end of the game but did not stop making plays. Blame the O for not making first downs!

  6. Graham: “continually threw into double coverage”

    Omitted: Both double coverage throws were into the hands of the receivers and should have been caught.

    Graham: One interception

    Omitted: hit Lewis in the hands and was easier than many of his catches like his SportsCenter Top 10 catch against UGA last year.

    10 Incompletions: 3 drops (one resulted in an INT), a batted ball due to protection fail, an arguable Non-called PI on an early long throw targeting Cleveland, an overthrow to Hammond, a route miscommunication, and I don’t know the other 3 off the top of my head. Seems like a good day that would be better if balls weren’t dropped.