Updated: UF’s Shannon will name QB starter by Thursday

Florida quarterback Malik Zaire catches his breath during practice Monday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Zaire is back to competing for the starter's role, UF coach Randy Shannon said. [Doug Engle/Staff photographer]

[Updated at 1:28 p.m. 11-1] Randy Shannon plans to announce Florida’s starting quarterback either Wednesday or Thursday, the interim head coach said after Tuesday’s practice.

“Maybe tomorrow,” Shannon said. “Don’t really know. We won’t go into Saturday. I won’t do that to you guys. Probably tomorrow, probably Thursday.”

Feleipe Franks, who has been the starter since the first half of the Tennessee game, and Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire have been sharing reps with the No. 1 offense in practice.

Franks is more of a dropback passer, while Zaire is a dual-threat quarterback who brings the read-option aspect of the Gators’ offense into play.

“Both of them do some good things,” Shannon said. “Both have won games in the past. We just have to keep competing in practice.

“Once that happens (a starter is named), we can figure out what we’re going to do. We’re going to work on what each one of them can do best. Whichever one we go with, we’re going to figure out what they do best and work on their strengths.”

Wednesday morning update on QB decision

After letting Feleipe Franks and Malik Zaire compete one more day on the practice field Wednesday, Shannon is expected to name his starting quarterback Thursday.

“Both of those guys have been doing a great job of competing in practice and having a positive attitude,” Shannon said during the SEC teleconference call Wednesday morning. “ It brings the best out of both of them. I think both of the guys are not in the comfort zone, but they’re not in the fearful zone.

“Under pressure, most games these days are under a lot of pressure because of the fan base, enthusiasm, the crowd and the noise. If a guy can handle the pressure competing in practice then he has a chance to go into the game and do some positive things.”


  1. Zaire deserves a chance to prove he can or cannot get the job done. Franks deserves a chance to improve his mental and physical skills under the new coach and the opportunity to beat out Corral, Trask, Allen, and Del Rio next spring and next summer.

      • Allow Franks to learn the mental aspects of the game NEXT spring. He has failed so far this year. He doesn’t do the small things like when outside the pocket and nowhere to go throw the ball away and not lose 8 -15 yards. It should be Zaire, He’s going to have problem also but he will do the things his Offensive teammates help him to do.

        • Franks has no pocket presence. One of the talking heads at halftime of the Georgia game pointed out, with video, precisely his biggest issue: he stares down his primary and, if he isn’t open and the rush is getting on him, he looks down at the rush and all is lost. He isn’t going through his progressions after 1, and is getting bogged down in escaping the rush immediately thereafter. Serious question – is this something that can be taught? Or is he a lost cause?

          • Dude, Are you serious. Half the QB in the NFL cant get off their primary target and “go through the progressions” as you stated you want to kill a kid that the last time he played any meaningful football season he was in HS… Come on guys get a clue!

  2. I think Zaire deserves the chance to start this Saturday and run the offense for at least the first half. If he is not producing then put Franks into the game in the second half. We need Zaire’s experience to get a victory this Saturday. I think that after he was inserted into the Georgia game, he played great with a lot of poise! This is why he transferred to Florida, to have a chance to lead us to some victories!

  3. I think Zaire deserves the chance to start…he has more composure on the field than Franks…UF needs a down field passing attack … enough of the little dink passes behind the line of scrimmage or at the line of scrimmage or just beyond ….the WR need to be running down field pass patterns …instead of running 10-15 yds out and stop and turn with their backs to the goal post…I saw that 3 or 4 times in the Ga . It’s a lot easier to cover a guy standing still rather than one running…Now is the time to go ahead and make Franks a WR…not a TE because he can’t block…at 6’6″ with fairly good speed and athletic he would make a great target and the position is much easier to learn than the QB position…the QB position next year will be rather full…put Franks skills to work now…

      • Absolutely correct. However, The QB position has been atrocious to say the least. It seems Zaire will get the nod and we will probably see a mobile QB schematic. Zaire needs some reps – maybe he can improve. Franks was just not improving week to week, game to game. Makes one wonder what type of coaching is going on….

      • Not so sure of that Daz…Franks may connect on one out of 20 downfield passes…How can you judge Zaire on his downfield passes when he only threw a total of 6 passes in the game…after all he was 3-6, further more in his starts at ND he threw the ball very well down field…he’s really good at the 15-20 yard pass down field…I think you may be too quick to judge this guy…

      • thank you creek gator my sentiments exactly always thought trask was the better mostly every one agreed he was the most accurate and he was when they gave him the opportunity in the spring game he came in hit his passes with accuracy give him a chance reminds me of Rex with his build.

    • Franks will never be a WR, Cody Allen. But he may be the starting QB for Florida Atlantic under Kiffin in the future, where he can play the game at a much slower speed (mentally) and excel in college. Just too much speed, quickness, and good defense in the SEC for him, I believe, and his future.

      • Franks may never be a WR at UF…but, it will be his only hope of playing at the next level…period…He reminds me of the all American WR Chris Collingsworth who started his career at UF, as a QB… In his first game against Houston he threw a 99 yd touch down pass, I think he still holds the record for the longest TD pass in UF history… he was a all everything QB coming out of HS…big tall kid who blossomed as a great WR both at UF and the NFL…he had a great arm and fairly fast…but never could hit an open receiver except on that 99 yd TD pass, it was a great pass, but he mostly threw mostly interceptions and incompletions, thereafter… until they made him a WR…it didn’t take the coaches long to figure out he was not a QB…Had the coaches kept him at QB (2nd or 3rd. string) he would have never been an all-pro player in the NFL or an all- American in college…the coaches need to sit down with the young man (Franks) and advise him that in his best interest he should consider the WR position and I bet Chris would talk to him as well…another QB also comes to mine, Terry Lecount another HS QB who was an all everything…he played some QB at UF but the coaches made him a WR where he excelled , another big tall kid with great speed and a good arm. If Franks wants to move forward it’s at WR not QB.

  4. The bottom line is that Zaire cannot be any worse than Franks, and at least offers the opportunity for improvement. Franks is not getting any better this season, if ever. His fundamental skills (footwork, vision, football IQ) are so lacking that it will take months of real coaching (and learning!) to move the needle for him. With Zaire we gain the RPO which gives Perine, Thompson, and Lemons more of a chance running unpredictably in addition to the QB. Throw in some Wildcats (Gatorcats?) with Toney and/or Massey and with Zaire still in there rather than Franks, you have some weapons to keep the defense guessing. Give Zaire a chance to influence a game before it becomes a meat grinder. It cannot get any worse at the QB position than it was in Jax.

  5. It wasn’t all Franks, I seen some dropped catchable balls. And I seen Doug call wild cat at some horrible times. It was just obvious the team didn’t ralley around Frank’s for whatever reason. If it wasn’t for del Rio and a last minute hail Mary we would only have one win, my personal belief they should have made Toney the quaterback. Based off the spring game but Gainesville was meditating on Frank’s. Which if not for the death threats comment, which I believe was staged coach Mac will still be coaching and Frank’s would be the unquestioned starter. Reminds me of how Tyler Murphy and Brissett was Done. Murphy wasn’t a typical qb, but he we was a play maker and threw good enough to make defenses honest. Call it what you want I glad when they both transferred.