Florida’s Franks holds himself accountable

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks throws during the first half Saturday against Texas A&M at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

With less than a minute remaining in regulation, Florida looked to set up a drive that would at least put Eddy Pineiro in position to kick a game-winning field goal.

It was a scenario that UF has been in before this season – wins over Tennessee and Kentucky came on fourth-quarter rallies – but this time there would be no rally. In fact, the Gators would need just one play to seal their fate.

Feleipe Franks’ pass was bobbled and intercepted by Texas A&M linebacker Tyrel Dodson, handing Florida its second consecutive home defeat under Jim McElwain and giving UF its worst start since 2003.

While Franks, who accounted for just 129 yards passing on 17 completions, could have avoided taking accountability for the offensive futility, the redshirt freshman owned up to his mistakes and shortcomings in the 19-17 loss to the Aggies.

There’s obviously little things that we can work on. I can do a better job in a lot of aspects. Ultimately it’s my job to get the offense moving,” Franks said. “There’s some series’ here and there where you want that to happen, but I didn’t make that happen. Ultimately it’s on me and something to improve on.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Crawfordville native making just his fifth collegiate start.

With Florida looking to pull ahead late in the third quarter, Franks escaped a collapsing pocket and took off for a 79-yard dash to put the Gators in scoring distance. Dre Massey would capitalize from the Wildcat formation to put Florida in front 17-10, but the rest is history.

To Franks and the UF fanbase that watched a lead slip away, however, the missed plays stood out the most.

Franks appeared to have senior wide receiver Brandon Powell alone downfield on a critical third down, yet he threw it underneath to tight end DeAndre Goolsby. The pass led to another stalled drive and another Johnny Townsend punt, one of his nine punts on the night. After the drive, Powell appeared frustrated and addressed his quarterback directly.

“It’s just one of those things. I mean, I can’t see the whole field,” Franks said. “Just one of the things I missed.”

Despite the offensive mediocrity and the missed opportunities, Franks is adamant the UF locker room is focused on improving as a unit rather than pointing fingers and casting blame. With two weeks to prepare before facing SEC East-rival Georgia in Jacksonville, the Gators seemingly can’t afford to be divided.

“I don’t think motivation is a problem for us. We have a bunch of great leaders in the locker room,” Franks said. “People are going to say what they want to say. Nobody is really in the locker room with us. That’s the big thing. You can’t listen to the outside sources. Nobody is in the locker room with us. People actually don’t know. We have a bunch of great leaders in the locker room and we’re going to be just fine.”


Up next

Who: Florida (3-3, 3-2 SEC) vs. No. 3 Georgia (7-0, 4-0)

When: 3:30 p.m. Oct. 28

Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville


Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850


  1. I blame play calling, in that situation you don’t throw over the middle. You as almost all teams throw an open out, get out of bounds and repeat. Franks can’t read defenses so you need to call plays with that in mind.

    • It’s actually not that horrible to throw over the middle since they were throwing for a 1st down and time would have stopped. They couldn’t just cut out over the middle plays. It was just a freshman who didn’t notice the lurking LB. Play calling through the rest of the game was pretty atrocious though. Even when Nuss strings together a few good drives, he inevitably falls back into his horrible comfort zone and gets wonky.

    • Vulcan. Watch the replay of that last play again (I have multiple times). Goolsby was breaking wide open about 10 to 15 yards down the field and would have easily picked up an additional 10 to 15 yards if Franks had delivered the ball correctly, which he did not. On that play, Franks stared down Goolsby, never taking his eyes off of him. The LB for A&M just followed his eyes and drifted back in the line Franks would deliver the ball (just as the LSU LB did the previous week) and intercepted a line drive throw by Franks. If Franks had looked the LB off slightly to the left or to the right, he could have possibly thrown that pass for a completion. But he did not. And, if he had realized or seen the LB (he never sees the whole field), he could have still lofted the ball over him (instead of line driving the ball towards Goolsby) and towards the sidelines and could have let Goolsby run under it for a huge gain and likely setting up the Gators in field goal range on one single play. But he didn’t do any of that and the Gators lost again because of his lack of development of Franks and his lacking of basic QB fundamental execution of simply pass plays. It was a very good call by Nussmeier (which is had for me to admit), but the play was simply not executed well by Franks. Goolsby did execute and would have had a huge gain if Franks was a better QB. But he is not even a good one at this point in his career. Watching that play develop and then seeing how Franks executed it, I can clearly see why Nussmeier has a near total lack of confidence in opening up the offense for Franks. But, then again, Franks near total lack of development since leaving high school is Nussmeier’s responsibility and he is simply to blame for that lack of development.

  2. I don’t understand what’s going on with Franks. He doesn’t seem to know how to read defenses or know what play his offense is running during the middle of the play! Go through your progressions! Isn’t that what they’re supposed to be practicing during the week? Does he watch film??? He should be progressing rather than regressing. I thought McElwain was supposed to be a genius with quarterbacks.

    • Look at all of Mac’s previous QB’s he’s coached and had great success with before coming to UF. He won national championships with a guy who’s now sitting in the commentating booth and not even playing anymore. He turned one into a top 4 Qb at CSU and he’s so bad he can’t get past the practice squad. He’s had massive success mentoring average QBs and there’s no arguing that, but he’s only had one shot at hand picking one for UF and chose one that a lot of programs would’ve taken, who just so happens to be a mental case who doesn’t respond to coaching. He’s making mistakes that should’ve been corrected when he was 10 years old and every coach he’s had since probably tried to correct it but none of them are sports psychologists that can correct mental issues. You can only coach a player so much to throw the ball away instead of running out of bounds 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage before the player has to actually do it. You can only coach them to go through their progressions to find the open receiver before the player has to actually do it. You can’t coach a player into not feeling pressure when none is there, but Franks still scrambles out of the pocket when he doesn’t need to. He’s a head case and that’s not easily corrected by coaching. So Mac missed on his only QB he’s picked so far. No one is perfect and he deserves to at least see what he can do with his next big swing at Corral, but he absolutely needs to get rid of Nuss and bring in a guy that can call the correct plays at the right time who understands the type of player he has running his offense. Maybe he needs to go after the guy he had success with at CSU.

      • I think I was screaming during the game to just have him go and play some Madden. Some of these concepts are so dang basic that you can literally pick them up playing video games. By the way, I don’t remember him having an issue with running out of bounds for no reason. Is that something he has picked up recently?

        • I didn’t say he runs out of bounds for no reason, I said he runs out of bounds instead of throwing the ball away essentially taking an untouched sack. That’s the #1 thing on the no no list for a QB even on the peewee level, which screams of a mental block issue and not a coaching issue.

      • So this is all on Franks??? He is supposed to show up at UF knowing how to play QB??? Come on dude…under McYet the following fails:

        1. Advised Will Grier to transfer
        2. Continues with Oline failure
        3. Has had 9 players suspended
        4. Unable to recruit adequately as exhibited by some many freshmen playing this year. Why are there no Sophs or Juniors?
        5. No adequate LB recruitment
        6. Supports an inadequate OC who refuses to gameplan to put the ball in the best hands of the players
        7. Refuses to give Malik Zaire even a shot to play!! He can’t be worse than Franks.
        8. Calls out Shannon and our D…the only unit that is actually improving.

        Care to edit your comment? This is a COACHING failure.

        • James.
          1. No one but Grier and McElwain know what happened on that front. And Mac preferred Del Rio over Grier.
          2. The OL has been playing well other than the Michigan game.
          3. I am positive Mac never encouraged any player to use a stolen credit card and he has handled that situation well.
          4. Mac’s recruiting has improved every single year he has been here, including saving that first year class from a total disaster and ending up with a top 20 class. He had a top 10 class last year. He currently has the 8th ranked class this year (and is not finished). And his 2019 class has been ranked number one so far.
          5. Reese, Johnson, Joseph, and Moon are more than adequate at LB. And he did not ask the other two LBs he recruited to use stolen credit cards.
          6. Nussmeier has to go because he has repeatedly failed to develop QBs that can execute basic offensive plays.
          7 Malik Zaire would be playing if he had clearly shown he was a better QB and ready to play in the SEC. Obviously, he has not and is not that kind of QB. Or has not been to date in practice.
          8. Where and when did he call out Shannon and the D?

          • Rick – Without going into every point above…let’s stay focused on recruiting. Please explain to me how we are recruiting well. If you are referring to our rankings prior to the high school kids stepping on the field, then yes, McYet has done well…much like Chump. If you look at the play at QB, receiver, O-line, LB, and the secondary…not so much. Why you ask? Play on the field…so it’s either coaching or player development. Either way…recruiting is suspect 3 losses into this season coupled with blowouts to quality teams his first 2 seasons.

      • It is fair to go after Mac with whatever language you choose. He is getting paid millions. But please, not the players. I agree that Franks is failing at some of the very points you illuminate but calling him a “mental case” or “head case” is just uncalled for. he is a kid. You can make your point with such name calling.

  3. Franks has all the physical tools necessary to thrive as a QB. Unfortunately, his command of the huddle, the plays, and needed urgency are very lacking. He doesn’t seem to have the “it” that the good and great ones have. He seems to panic and obviously not see open WR by locking onto one and hoping for the best. Much of the blame should be placed on the OC who’s responsibility is coaching the QB. Nuss and Mac had all the talent in the world at Bama so any offense would look and be great. Maybe Saban is the coordinator of both offense and defense no matter who’s there. The consistent plans and play calling, adjustments, and getting mad at players and coaches who don’t produce are why he excels.

    • Mac was in charge of Bama’s offense before Bama became Bama became the machine they are today. You can maybe make the claim that Kiffin benefitted from the Saban affect, but Mac had a huge hand in recruiting and building Bama into what they are today. Saban was 6-6 in his first season without Mac and then as soon as Mac was hired they immediately went 12-0 and lost to the eventual national champs in the SEC Championship game. They then won it all the next season by offensively dominating a great Florida team that returned most of the defense from the title team. No matter how you feel about Mac now you have to give credit where credit is due.

  4. This is his second year of coaching and doesn’t seem to be developing. Doesn’t take much skill or coaching to throw screen passes or outside throws. He’s been here for 2 years including being an early entry. I’m not sure if it’s coaching, or the system is too complex, or he just doesn’t have it. He locks in to his receivers and the opposition knows it. We have 3 or 4 more loses coming.

  5. Hard not to fall in love with that arm strength as the coaching staff obviously did in starting him over Luke, but just lacks the instincts and mental parts…kind of necessary. Nothing to lose by starting Zaire at this point and then starting over next year with Allen or Coral. Franks will be a serviceable back up for his last three years at school or he transfers. This is not a Jeff Driskel or Brisset situation where the coaching staff clearly failed to develop and prepare the players.

    • I think the reason he started him over Luke was strictly to please the completely unrealistic fan base that consists of far too many people that think they’re better coaches than the guys who get paid to do it. If Luke ran out onto the field and lost to Michigan, which he would have behind that sieve of an o-line in that game, then he would’ve been blasted by the fans far worse than he is now. The fans were tearing him apart for not burning his redshirt last season. That’s the life of coaching, if Franks succeeds he’s a genius, but now that it’s obvious he isn’t ready it’s time to start second guessing him.

    • Brissett was never given a real chance to compete against Driskel. Chump just locked into Driskel very early and stayed with him. Brissett saw the writing on the wall, felt Chump was unfair and was never going to get a fair shot, and rightly transferred.

      I caught some his games at NC St., although not a world beater, he was head and shoulders better than Driskel and should have been UF’s starter.

  6. The kid has taken responsibility, this is more than I can say for the head coach. I think most average coaches could win with the talent Alabama recruits, so nothing special about the HC’s stint with them. Good head coaches alter their strategy based on the talent they have. You can look at the pros and see all the flops of QB’s that played under the spread offense. This offense does not require that you make 3 or 4 reads before you throw the ball, that is why many college star QBs can not make it in the pros. If Franks can not do this then change your system to meet the kid’s talent level. The HC has no other QB on the team that can run his system. Would a coach try to run an I formation attack without a good FB, no. Trying to run a prostyle offense with a QB that can not do it is futile. The coach needs to adjust to the talent he has.

  7. Yes to almost every comment I have read here. It’s time for Malik Zaire. The coaching staff has to see what he can do despite being thrust into a difficult situation in the Michigan game. Franks has essentially failed his audition to be a viable starter for the Gators going forward and despite his experience has shown that in an ideal situation he may not even be qualified to be the number 2, despite the big arm. Now for better or worse we will be going into 2018 with no experienced QB except Franks. If Mac does not play Zaire he is sending a message to potential graduate transfers that they may end up riding the pine. Then why would they transfer to UF?

  8. One of the issues with Franks is he didn’t have QB coaching in High School, He won on his athletic ability. So while many QB’s come into college with having QB coaches at their High Schools he didn’t and so he is behind drastically in understanding the game. I think the Gator staff could have changed their game plan to rely more on what he can do, thus not preparing him for the future, or take their lumps and let him grow for the future. Having said that I really have a problem with some of the play calling. I think Nuss is not calling great games.

  9. Coach Mac and Q.B., Feleipe Franks, KNEW VERY WELL when they decided to come to the University of Florida that U.F. has in its storied past: 3 Heisman winners at Q.B. In fact, their statues in front of the stadium memorialize their great Q.B. careers. The Q.B. and Head Coach positions at U.F. come with HIGH EXPECTATIONS, and those expectations (fairly or unfairly) may exceed other schools. Perhaps Coach Mac and Franks thought they’d just ”learn on the job”. News flash, this isn’t the place for that type of mentality. Even ”some in the media” have bought into that mindset, and many of them often criticize us (Gator fans)for ”not having the patience” to allow them ”learn on the job”. They (Mac and Franks) know better than ”expecting fans to be patient”, all the while U.F.’s arch-rival, U.G.A., passes Florida by like we’re sitting still. And with a ”TRUE FRESHMAN Q.B.”, U.G.A. is now ranked in the top 5 in America.
    That is what’s hard to digest! And Gator fans have been ”patiently” waiting… for LITERALLY ‘7’ years now!!!

    • gatorgi70x7 I completely agree about how Ga. has developed and PASSED us by with a coach the has been in town for only TWO years, and Miami only TWO years but they PERFORM better that we do, we NEED to get this thing going this year or show some signs we are improving.

  10. Just like in an above comment Franks was deemed messiah by fans, and I didn’t understand why. Which is why coach Mac is safe. I personally felt they should have put more stock in Toney being the qb. Especially after the spring game. I would much rather have Del Rio out of all of the qbs. I knew once he was done for the season it was a strong possibility of no bowl game. No disrespect to Frank’s but from watching him play I never felt he is the guy, but I could be wrong, I rarely am.

  11. “I can’t see the whole field.” You think? Especially the part with wide open receivers in it. He’s had one big throw all season. Other than that he has looked average at best. I think the game plan on Saturday was fine. Franks simply couldn’t execute it. Yes, he should hold himself accountable. Zaire must be absolutely awful in practice if he’s sitting behind Franks. Maybe Franks is one of those guys who practices well but tightens up under the lights. We should see some glimmer of progress at this point. I’m not seeing any.

    • Lack of offense. Where have I heard that before. Once again, the defense is rounding into form, Holding its last 2 opponents to 17 pts. and 19 pts. That should be good enough to win if you have an offense. I don’t know how this will play out but Coach Mac will be on the hot seat next year. His best possible finish this year is 7-4, could be 6-5 and likely will be 5-6. (for sure a loss at Georgia, probably S. Carolina and a weak FSU will score 17 pts and win). This willl not sit well with the Gator nation, alumni nor I.

  12. I am a huge Gator Fan and have never complained publicly about our team. I agree with James, i watched Toney as well and wanted him to get a real shot at QB. Our offensive play calling is horrible. I rarely see any underneath quick slants for first downs and we abandon the running game too soon. Nuss must go or go back to play design 101.

  13. Franks lack of coaching at the high school level is becoming very clear. He has tremendous athletic ability but he is way behind on his understanding of the position. He did not have any QB coaching in high school. It shows. The mental aspects of the game are not developed. Doesn’t follow his progressions, looks down his receivers, feels pressure early or too late, etc. Those skills can take a lot of coaching to develop if they aren’t there, so on one hand I feel for the coaching staff but they recruited him so they gotta deal with it.

    • Jason the only problem I have with your comment is he was rated top 10 pro style qb out of high school, and 1 1/2 seasons to learn the offense. I think the position is to much for him at this level of play. A lot of top rated qbs don’t pan out. Or maybe he need a different coaching staff, Del Rio looked all American compared to Frank’s and he was considered back up. That alone makes me question coaching staff and boosters.

  14. We are losing because we do not have a competent quarterback. Simple as that. Like trying to play baseball without a decent pitcher or hockey with an inexperienced goalie. Everything else can be in place, but no QB = no success. Everyone saw the difference when Del Rio took over this year, and he is no great shakes. Like the announcer said a few games back, if you have to manage your quarterback in your play calling, you will never succeed.

    I doubt the transfer can change things, might as well let Franks play it out and get experience that will serve him as a backup going forward. Beyond that, this ship has sailed. (Hope I’m wrong.)

    If Matt Corral doesn’t pan out or flakes on us, we are truly screwed.

  15. Can we get someone to explain to Franks that whenever he is outside the tackle box that he can just throw the ball out of bounds and not take 5 and 8 yard losses. he also did this last week at least twice. That’s for the coaches and Mr. Zaire, he knows this. They need to help each other. GO GATORS, WE WILL GET THIS THING GOING SOON, WE HAVE ALOT OF YOUNG TALENT.

  16. The game moves too fast for Franks. That’s why he “can’t see the whole field.” A competent SEC qb can establish rhythm, he goes through progressions, and he releases the ball crisply where it has a good chance of being caught on the majority of his throws–with everything coming at him 90 mph.

  17. He is in over his head at this point in his development. OF not helping him with play calling. I admire his courage he exhibits when talking to the media. He owns his body of work and doesn’t blame anyone for his performance. So if there are any cowards sending this young man hate mail you stick it where the sun rarely shines!

  18. Franks – quote:
    “It’s just one of those things. I mean, I can’t see the whole field,” Franks said. “Just one of the things I missed.”

    At what (early) point does a person playing QB not get that they ARE supposed to see the whole field? Likely can only happen when you come from a small school where your talents is so far above the rest, you just play sand-lot ball and win.

    Practice techniques need to be used to learn this. Like drop back 2 steps, close your eyes Mr. QB and then stop and tell me where EACH of your receivers is supposed to be on this play call now. Good? Now drop back three more steps – where are they now (with eyes closed)? Now keep them closed and if I tell you the safeties dropped deep, WITHOUT looking, tell me who your best target is likely to be.

    Until Franks (or anyone) can do this, the are not ready. Yes, I know things can change in a game situation, but unless you have a map in your head for each play when it starts, you will never succeed. Only then can you even begin to read and react to the defense’s shifts.

    I’d say start Zaire, stress the planning to Frank’s if he wants to start again, and throw in Toney more (with passes) when he is healthy enough. God help us against JaJa!