Florida’s Franks needs time to develop, McElwain says

Florida's Feleipe Franks has had mixed results. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Feleipe Franks’ development is an ongoing process that fans might consider slow and frustrating, but Florida coach Jim McElwain is showing patience with his redshirt freshman quarterback.

He’s doing some good things, he’s had some setbacks, and there’s still plenty to work on, McElwain said.

“The challenge is making sure, from a situational standpoint, we just need to continually work on that piece,” McElwain said. “Look, he’s working his tail off. We’ve got to give him some time to be able to deliver as well. Those are all pieces that need to come together. And we also need to go get open against man-to-man coverage.”

McElwain said Franks is doing some encouraging things, but also needs to keep improving in other areas, including going through his progressions if the primary receiver is covered.

“I think one of the things that he does is he gets a little too deep in the pocket at times from a stride standpoint,” he said. “Whether it’s the launch point, we need to continue working on. His ball security is better. I think at times he goes through with really good command and the flow piece is really good. We’ve got to continue to work on that.

“And, when the first one isn’t there, let’s get to two and three. We need to continue to work on that. But he by no means was the reason we didn’t get a W this week.”

Junior offensive guard Tyler Jordan said the offensive line needs to help Franks out by giving him better protection. He was sacked five times in the 17-16 loss to LSU.

“He’s a hell of a quarterback, talented quarterback,” Jordan said. “I think he’s just young. He’s very raw. That’s not an excuse. We have to go out and protect better as an offensive line, especially on those big plays. We need to protect better on those deep throws.”

Franks continues to be pushed in practice by Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire, who has not played since replacing Franks in the second half of the opener against Michigan.


  1. If Franks needs time to develop, why did Mac throw him to the wolves against Michigan? Especially when a peewee coach could’ve seen that Del Rio was the better QB, at least at the current stage of Franks’ career. Franks isn’t the problem, Mac is.

    • Lets be real here and say hindsight is 20/20. If Mac put Del Rio out there against Michigan all of Gator nation would’ve lost it. There isn’t a single Gator fan out there that didn’t want to see Franks start that game. Everybody wanted him to burn his redshirt at the end of last season. Mac knew what the fans wanted and he gave it to them. Whether that was the right decision or not is moot at this point. The fact of the matter is they weren’t beating Michigan even with Del Rio as the O-line couldn’t block a 4 year old girl that game. If he started and they lost that game, Mac would’ve been absolutely bashed and destroyed worse than he is now.

      • I don’t know why you say all of Gator nation would’ve lost it, I wouldn’t have. And I certainly didn’t want to burn his redshirt last season. But that’s not the point. All of Gator nation wanted the best guy to get the job, the guy that can win, and all of Gator nation clearly saw Del Rio was the better QB. Mac’s job is to put the best QB out there, not the one he thinks the fans want to see. He failed.

  2. Maybe more suited for Div II, plenty of freshman QBs in college who have made immediate impacts to their programs, Eason, Fromm, Rosen, Hurts, Darnold, Bryant, Browning, Francois, just to name a few. Gators continue to recruit these so called top rated high school QBs who just can’t seem to make an impact, except for the former Gator who is killing it at WVA. I guess we’ll have to settle for landing a Tim Tebow once every 10-15 years.

    • Your right, I believe they’re not properly being developed. We have not had a passer since Meyer that’s not scared to death throw ball down the field. They just look uncomfortable and I blame that on the coaching.

      • It’s just a matter of talent, nothing against Franks personally, I’m sure he’s a fine young man, just not a top notch/elite QB. Also helps to have an O line that can block for you, and an OC and head coach capable of recruiting/developing players, play calling, and recognize/make adjustments at the half.

        • I really do not think Franks can be truly evaluated. QB coaching maybe the real problem. There are QB’s at other schools like Memphis that are throwing the ball all over the place. i do not believe some of the QB’s at lesser known schools are that much better than Franks. Put him with a good QB/OC and I think he would do pretty well

      • Rob, I also believe that many of our recruits are too soft for the SEC. We need some bruisers to lay the wood on both sides of the ball. I also want to see the young man from Cali next season and see how he can compete for a starting job. Maybe we need to go with a dual threat QB and quit trying to use supposed pro-style QB’s. GO GATORS!

    • I think Franks is a good quarterback. He just does not have the coaching staff to bring it out in him. I’ve seen video and information on him coming out of HS. He was and is good enough with the right people bringing him along. I bet if he went somewhere else he would kick butt. LOOK at all our other transfers that have gone on to be really good. IT comes back to coaching that is it in a nutshell.

      • Franks is good as far as having the arm talent and height to play QB. What Franks is lacking is the mental capacity to play the position and a coach can’t change mental issues. He locks onto his primary receiver and then scrambles out of the pocket for a yard or 2 or a sack or throws it away instead of checking down. He feels pressure when there’s no pressure there and scrambles out of clean pockets. There’s nothing Mac can do about that. If Mac can turn a QB like Garrett Grayson into the #4 QB in the nation at CSU and Rashard Higgins into a Biletnikoff finalist, it’s obvious he knows how to coach offense. People need to wake up and realize if Scarlett, Callaway, Cleveland, Davis, and Toney are all playing, this is a much more potent offense. People forget very easily how badly injuries and suspensions have derailed Mac’s plans since the moment he took over the job. Give him at least one season with all his weapons at his disposal and a decent QB and you’ll see what he can do. Fire Nuss immediately too, not sure why he doesn’t do that and go after the guy he had as his OC at CSU since he’s so adamant about sticking by his friends. That was a very lethal offense his last season there.

        • I’m with Joe on this. Franks’ shortcomings are painfully obvious. He clearly locks in on his primary receiver, he doesn’t audible at the line based on the defense he sees (which makes me think he can’t read defenses), he runs himself out of plays or stays in the pocket way, way too long if his primary guy isn’t open. These are bad signs. And while I agree that the offensive coaching is problematic, I’m not holding my breath that Franks is suddenly going to look like something he is just clearly not.

    • Don’t be mistaken, Grier wouldn’t be having the same success he’s having at WVU if he were still here. Mac’s dog literally could throw for 300 yards if she were playing in the WVU offense as every QB that’s fallen off the face of the earth after leaving there has done for the last decade.

  3. BULL!

    I’m sick and tired of excuses. This isn’t a developmental issue as much as it is a coaching, scheming, and trust problem.

    Franks has had an entire year and two springs and Falls to develop. I’ve watched redshift freshman QB after another throughout CFB step in and run their team’s offense much better.

    Stop holding him back and handcuffing him and let him have the offense. This is the coaches not Franks, but the fact that they make this statement pretty much convinces me theyre going to once again water down the play package and make the A&M defense’s job a lot easier.

    Cool, huh?

    • I’ve noted that too, Todd….for what it’s worth….right from the get-go. In my world (US Army 30+), you take an LT, you and his platoon sergeant coach him, you teach him, and you mentor him and then when he’s ready, or maybe even before that if need be, he’s gets out there and draws some damn fire while leading (not managing) his troops. You don’t create in him a sense that he can’t even swallow unless you’re there to swab the damn spit out of his throat. He’ll never be ready under those circumstances! So OK, fire for effect….not the best analogy, true, but the methods are very similar.

      • Frank sucks, blame whoever you want. Fans begining of the season said literally put Frank’s in and keep him there screw the other qbs he need to learn. I been a gators fan since Danny, but these last 7 years have show me a lot about Florida program. Case n point watch the secondary and linebackers in this year’s games and look at the roster. I had no clue we had so many seniors juniors that waste scholar………..

    • Todd just curious, is Mac controlling Franks with a remote control on the sideline? Is he telling him in the headphones to lock onto his primary receiver and scramble or throw it away if he’s not open? Is he telling him to scramble from clean pockets cause he’s feeling pressure when none is there? Everyone is so quick to blame him for everything that they don’t hold the players accountable for anything. He can only teach a kid so much and then it’s the player’s responsibility to execute the plays properly. I’ve seen wide open receivers all over the field in every single game this year that Franks just flat out misses cause he doesn’t check down. This is not a Mac problem, this is a player who’s not mentally ready to play college football problem. Most of the Freshman QBs that are having success right now were groomed to be QBs and had private QB coaches etc etc. Franks was as raw as they come and succeeded solely off his raw talent. His footwork and everything else in HS was a disaster. He was clearly a major project to develop unless you don’t know much about football and just see his rocket arm and assume he could play great no matter what. I’m guessing you probably also think it was Mac’s fault that all the players stole credit cards and got suspended derailing the season, right? I mean it’s ridiculous what this guy gets blamed for. Do people even remember it took Spurrier 7 years to win his first title even with an innovative offense that the no one had seen before? It’s insane that everyone expects Mac to do it immediately when he took over a team that won 11 games in 2 years. Gator fans are so freaking spoiled it’s just totally unrealistic to expect miracles out of a coach who has had every season since he took over derailed by massive amounts of injuries and suspensions. I understand it’s been 8 years since they’ve had an offense, but Mac can’t be held responsible for the 4 years before he took over that led to the disaster he took over, and certainly shouldn’t be expected to completely turn it around as quickly as Gator fans demand. They just need to pray the black cloud leaves the program and he can have at least one season with a full complement of players and the same QB who starts the season finish it.

      • The problem with your statement is what Mac said at the beginning of his career at UF. “A dog could run my offense”. Franks is a lot better than any dog. If he was a terrible project why was he recruited? Could the answer be that no really good QB wants to come to Florida. The gators would have been better off starting Toney at QB from day one. Mac needs to move on from his pro style offense. Any QB would be gun-shy with an offense line as weak as this one.

      • Joe. This is Year 3 for Mac. He’s had loads of time for development, and these are now all his players so the “inherited poor talent” excuse is gone. For $4.5M a year I expect great things out of Mac. He has driven some facilities upgrades and that’s nice. But he hasn’t shown anybody that he or his staff, primarily Nussmier, can coach a lick – in 3 years. Franks has the body and arm to be a very good QB. He has all the tools but needs good coaching. He hasn’t gotten that because this staff simply does not know how to do it. if we kept this staff for another 5 years we would continue to get blown out by rivals every year. Foley screwed us all, again. We won’t be a great team under Mac – ever. I’m a true lifelong Gator and I want a championship team back in the Swamp every Saturday. We’ve got a long way to go, and that unfortunately starts with a change of coaching staffs.

  4. Maybe it’s time for all the commentators to mail in their stellar coaching resumes. Mac is a good coach and a good person. I get the frustration but the constant complaining is just pathetic. Is the coaching merry go round ever been a recipe for success in any sports organization? Not so much…. And the negativity isn’t helping any recruit want to be a Gator. Good things are coming…show some patience.

  5. It will take time and game experience for the game to slow down for Franks. Unlike other highly rated quarterbacks out of high school, we knew he was going to be a project when we recruited him. We knew he had the arm talent but lacked the coaching in high school. We just need to be patient until the mental piece catches up. He has a high ceiling if we are patient.

  6. This coaching staff is unable to develop players, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. On the defensive side, the coaches have simply failed to amply recruit…resulting in the need to play true freshmen and redshirt freshmen at several key positions. McYet has demonstrated that he is in over his head…zero progress in numerous key areas. “And yet”, he will go knowwhere given the extraordinary dollars regarding his buyout. Welcome to the new Gator mediocrity!!!

    • By far the most delusional Gator fan I’ve seen, if you really are a Gator fan. How’s Jawaan Taylor doing? How’s TJ McCoy doing? How’s Cleveland doing? How’s Perine doing? How’s Malik Davis doing? How’s Toney doing? Callaway was doing pretty well ON THE FIELD as well. Seems like a hell of a lot of young players on the offensive side of the ball that developed and excelled very quickly on offense. So because Franks, who was about as raw as a top QB recruit can be coming out of HS. Who never had private coaching like most of the other top QB recruits in the nation isn’t developing as quickly, Mac and the coaching staff “can’t develop players”? That makes a whole lot of sense for sure!

  7. Franks- if you are reading this, you are an NFL quarterback. Yes, there is still much to learn about the game and that comes with practice and experience. You will get there. No matter what an upset couple of fans may say, you have unquestionable arm talent and nice touches on your passes. Keep plugging away! There will be ups and downs but that is normal. Us true gator fans are rooting for you as well as the entire team to do well. And for any true freshman who is also chomping at the bit- be patient, enjoy every minute. Your time will come! Gooo Gators!!! Excited to see you all hopefully kick some butt against a talented team with the new uniforms!! Every couch potato fan can have an opinion, but we all dreamed we could b in your position, and one day tell our grandchildren, we played in the Swamp, and was a Gator!! Good luck the rest of the season!!!

  8. Franks is young and raw and never was coached in HS. However, the pro style O needs a good to great OL, receivers who know how to separate, and a good run game. The QB obviously needs to be good at reads, and see open receivers.
    The best teams are using some form of the spread, and we seem to be stuck in the past because that’s what Mac and Nuss like.
    This is now a rebuilding year when most wanted to see a really explosive offense. At least one that is far better than the last 8 yrs. It’s still a confused work in progress.

  9. If he hasn’t developed it’s on Coach “my dog can play qb”. Franks has been on campus almost 2 years. How many times did he play last year? None. Hard to get game experience sitting on the bench. Why dont you do us all a favor and take the OSU job.

  10. How ironic that the coach notes that Franks has to develop. I believe that is the job of the coaches. If Franks is a bad recruit, that is the coaches fault for recruiting him. If the wrong plays are called, that is coaching again. How about developing some receivers and a great offensive line? Both Spurrier and Meyer recruited well (Meyer for two seasons at least) and developed players when they got here. Franks has heart and a good arm but he does not appear to be well coached in the mental aspects of the game. As Renee pointed out earlier, those quarterbacks that leave the program do well elsewhere. That says a lot about our player development.

  11. I still think the biggest part of the problem is the game plan and the lack of adjustments at the half. The play calling is suspect at best. Notice the difference in the mix of plays called on the successful drives and then notice on the 3 and outs. Some can be blamed on the QB or OL but putting the offense in position to be successful is on the OC. Toney in the Wildcat is a perfect example. Every time he lines up the opposition knows he’s going to run and usually to his right. Toney is a former HS QB. Are there no options for him in this situation? Hot pass, throw back, drag pattern to the TE, read option, etc. Every defense has a weak spot. Exploiting it is the job of the OC. Either we can’t find them or we don’t attack them there. Run, run, pass, punt is not an offense. Being 2/9 on third down is play calling. No imagination is on the OC and HC.

    • I never thought I’d say this but at this point I’d rather have the chimp back. At least he coached with fire, he cared about winning. Nothing about this coaching staff inspires the players or the fans. Slow, lazy play and overall confusion by the coaches and players show the lack of proper practice technique during the week. Mac’s pre-season assessment that we would “kick the door down” and have a great offensive line was demolished by Michigan in game 1. Mac has been exposed; he was hired under the false assumption that he had special skills as an “offense guru” and “QB Whisperer”. He’s clearly neither, doesn’t come close to possessing those skills and will never be able to develop a QB, offense or anything else. We can suffer thru another losing season next year (yes, it will be a losing season) because Foley blew the hire and made a mediocre coach a multi-millionaire with no results. The Gators must change coaching staffs if we ever want to be good again, because it isn’t going to happen with McElwain. Look how fast Kirby Smart turned UGA around. They are going to kill us in 2 weeks; the game will be a demonstration of how good coaching turns teams into winners and poor coaching doesn’t.

  12. Watch footage of Treon Harris and compare it to Franks, and it’s like watching the same person in terms of them standing around back there, looking terrified to throw the ball, or else just throwing five thousand hitch passes and wide receiver screens. As long as Nuss is OC, no quarterback will look good in this offense. The best we can hope for is that a transfer comes in who learned to play from a competent OC and just ignores everything Nuss tells him and does the job right. The Nuss Way = the Not Way. Unfortunately, we are probably stuck with the broken down, smoke belching NussMobile for another year, and that means another year of excuses and appeals for patience…etc…

    Of course, how much patience did Mack really show when he benched FF for Del Rio?

  13. The gators play action is terrible. Watch the film. The QB just kind of points the ball at the back who is 3-4 yards away instead of executing a true fake handoff. This does not keep the linebackers honest and therefore they drop back in coverage sooner and take away the underneath routes. Couple this with the fact they no longer have Calloway or Cleveland to take the top off and the other wide receivers cannot get open and the passing game is not a threat. Nuss or Mac really need to work with Franks on this aspect of the game and maybe he want get sacked so many times. Just watch this Saturday, Texas AM is going tp play man coverage and put 7 or 8 in the box. Our Oline cant even block 4. Its going to be a long year. Do feel the suspensions and injuries have played a big part which is why you have to have depth. We have none.

  14. To the guy asking where all the juniors and seniors are: sideline. They are not as talented as the freshmen and sophomores currently starting. Mac didn’t have a first class, had a mediocre full-term second class…and the most talented of that bunch is an idiot and probably gone for good. OC needs to go, Mac gets time to get his A-game players developed and hopefully out of this suspension/injury funk. We’ll quickly become the next UT if we keep calling for coaches heads if the wind changes direction. There’s a reason Bama boosters say they’ll be calling Mac when Saban hangs it up.

    • Kirby Smart inherited a 10 win team and had an “excellent freshman” QB last season, and what did they win?That’s right, NOTHING! They lost to the “Aw Shucks QB whisperer” who’s won the East two year’s in row despite playing the last half of both seasons without his starting QB. And now, he’s lost his starting QB again before the half way point of the season. What other coach has lost his starting QB at or before the half-way point of each of his first three seasons and won his division in the first two seasons? Go ahead and Google it; I’ll wait. And by the way, if it was so easy to win the East last year, why didn’t Kirby or Butch win it?

  15. Franks never even had a QB coach prior to UF. No one-on-one clinics in the summer, no former NFL mentors. The guy’s raw talent; maybe he gets it, maybe he doesn’t. But putting him in the same class as Eason, Fromm or even Corral isn’t fair to anyone.