Zaire remains starter at QB for Florida

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Florida quarterback Malik Zaire will start his second game Saturday at South Carolina. [The Associated Press]

A potential Florida quarterback controversy that seemed to be brewing coming out of last Saturday’s 29-point loss to Missouri was put on hold Monday by interim head coach Randy Shannon, who announced that Malik Zaire remains the starter.

“Still Malik,” Shannon said. “He didn’t do anything to hurt us. He did a nice job of getting the ball down the field, making some throws and doing some certain things. We just have to build on what he’s done and just keep moving forward.”

In his first UF start, Zaire completed 13 of 19 passes for 158 yards with an interception. He had some success throwing downfield, but failed to get the offense into the end zone.

Former starter Feleipe Franks was inserted with less than five minutes remaining in the game and led the Gators on a 71-yard touchdown drive that culminated with his 16-yard TD pass to running back Lamical Perine.

After the game, Shannon said the quarterback situation would be re-evaluated this week.

The decision has been made to stick with Zaire.

“He’s managing the game. He’s not getting us in bad situations,” Shannon said. “He’s got to continue to do it. We talked to him the other day. Don’t relax. Still put yourself and your standards at a high level, just like we told Feleipe. Keep it at a high level because you never know when an opportunity is going to come for you to get in a game and produce and do certain things, so he’s accepted that and we’re going to stay on top of him.”

25 COMMENTS

    • Take your racist implications somewhere else!
      The big drop in our defense this year after over a decade of having great defenses? Thats Shannons fault as this is his 1st year as DC, called himself simplifying our defense, yea, so simple the other team plays right thru them! Shannon? No thanks!!

      • For the last couple of years our team has been juniors and seniors this is the first year we ever played with that many sophomores and freshmen on defense. Now you tell me how great is your defensive coordinator at temple from last year.

      • The problem is over half the starting roster already is 2nd team. In some cases 3rd. I’ve never seen so many injuries, really wonder if our primary focus for 2018 should be strength and conditioning.

        The lack of position level coaching the last 2-3 years is painfully apparent.

        I hope MZ just starts audibling into some read option plays since OC will never call one.

  1. I watched the UCF game vs. SMU, and I could see Matt Corral being extremely successful in Frost’s style of offense. I also watched the Memphis game, and Corral would do even better in Norrell’s offensive scheme, I believe. In either offense, you need a QB who is mobile, decisive, and has a strong arm. Corral seems to have all those requirements. Hope he sticks with his commitment to the Gators and one of those two coaches come to Gainesville to coach him up.

  2. “We have to build on what he (Zaire) has done … and keep moving forward.”
    This season is toast. Moving forward is playing the QB of the future and that is not Zaire.
    How short sighted can you be.

  3. Not impressed with with Zaire at all. If the goal of offense is to score points, then why go with a senior transfer that couldn’t score against a team with only 3 wins. Toney should get a shot, he was by far a better quarterback than Zaire and he will be a gator for years to come. Unfortunately Muschamps defense will make Zaire and our offensive line look worse than last week.

  4. Toney isn’t an option, he’s hurt. And Stephen, I would normally agree with your contention that we should play for the future, and play Franks, but I wonder if a QB in the Nussmeir system benefits from playing, especially since next year he will be in a new system that is actually functional(assuming Stricklin chooses wisely).

    • He meant be for he was injured. Toney looked 10x better than Frank’s comparing their first spring games, Frank’s threw 3 ints in a row his 1st spring game. That alone gave me no faith in Franks, but Toney was moved to wideout, was the most exciting part of of the spring game. I can’t help but think of the Brissett and Driskel competition, wonder if there some kind of behind the scenes force to Fla qb picks. One starts in the NFL.

  5. Doesn’t matter who plays QB or RB or WR. This play calling is so stale that no one will have success in it. I thought Shannon was going to let Nuss open up the playbook. Looks like the same old No-Offense offense. It mentioned the fact that Zaire failed to get the offense into the end zone. Can’t hang that on him. The red zone play calling is so predictable you could set your watch by it. No need to play Franks more in this system. he will have a completely new one next season assuming that Corral, Trask or Allen doesn’t beat him out.

  6. To further muddy the water at QB for next year, Del Rio still has one more year, should he choose to return, and Zaire could petition the NCAA for another year based on his one year of injury at ND. My gut tells me that both will opt to move on with their life and not going through this again, but it is possible one or both could return. We should look for Trask to transfer after this season, especially with Corral coming in (hopefully!)

  7. This year is toast. Who cares who starts or who doesn’t. The players have quit playing as we saw in the Missouri game. Maybe we can keep all of our recruits and start anew next year. I know we have a tall mountain to climb, but we can do it. Look at what happen down in Miami in only two years. The key to everything is hiring the right coach. He’s out there so go and get him.

  8. In the meantime, let’s support who is playing, no matter who it is. I commented elsewhere that further criticism at this point is meaningless. These guys are not going to get better because we keep pointing out how bad they are. Time to go all-in for the team that remains. I am not bashing the fans who criticize, as I have done my fair share. But let’s show ’em – no quit, no how, no time, no way. We can still be classy fans and show a winning attitude and classy role model for these guys. Go Gators!