Summer jobs: Florida quarterbacks entering key phase of development

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Florida quarterback Kyle Trask scrambles from defensive back C.J. McWilliams (12) while looking for a receiver during Saturday's spring game at Florida Field. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

[Updated 8:41 p.m. on 4-17-18 with Jake Allen plans] Now that the spring game is behind them, Florida’s quarterbacks are preparing to move on to the next critical phase.

The summer.

It’s a three-month window where they will pretty much be on their own to try and grow more comfortable in the offense and attain the consistency that Dan Mullen demands from his quarterbacks.

“It’s very important,” redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask said. “The coaches are going to be out and recruiting and doing their thing. It’s going to be very important for us to keep grinding and getting better every day.”

Over the next three-and-a-half months, the players will have little contact with Mullen and his coaching staff. They will be seeing a lot of strength and conditioning coordinator Nick Savage and a lot of themselves in player-organized workouts.

The summer workouts are usually led by the quarterbacks, who have to make sure everyone shows up and puts in the effort.

“(The next few months) are super critical,” sophomore Feleipe Franks said. “ Not only for me, but for every player. We have a whole new offense and the defense as well.

“For me personally, it’s just me being in there every single day to learn what’s going on, what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and especially why we’re doing it.”

“Coach Mullen and (QB) Coach (Brian) Johnson are doing a really good job of helping me get there. We’ve still got a little bit of a ways to go, but at the same time, we’ve got the whole summer.”

Franks and Trask are both coming off of a positive spring, where both made progress.

Trask was the most efficient quarterback in the first scrimmage. Franks was in the second. Then, both had some success moving the offense in the spring game Saturday.

Gaining more consistency is something both will be focusing on over the summer.

“I want to see a lot more out of them moving forward,” Mullen said after Saturday’s game. “I saw some really good things. I saw them miss simple things. It gets into the speed of the decision-making, comfort of the offense.

“There’s no more important position during the summer than for those guys to work on their own, every day, muscle-memory, taking steps, footwork, throwing motion. I don’t care if they’re even throwing to receivers. Everything over and over and over again, so that they’re much better players August 4th than they were today.”

There was no quarterback depth chart this spring and Mullen said there was no separation between Franks and Trask, who shared reps with the No. 1 offense.

The two likely will open camp the same way they ended the spring, pretty much even. But what happens this summer could ultimately lead to one QB separating from the others.

“My mindset is just to continue to get better,” Trask said. “The coaches aren’t going to be around, so we have to take it upon ourselves to get our timing down, keep our head in the playbook and just keep getting better.

“I feel like at times, maybe my footwork is a little rattly in the pocket. So, I really need to work on my footwork and try to stay accurate.”

Franks said he’s also looking forward to putting in the work this summer. But then that’s never been an issue with him, apparently.

“He is taking steps forward,” Mullen said. “The one thing I notice, he works at it. He has football intelligence and he works at it. I think he works at studying the game and trying to understand game situations. Now we’ve got to get him to learn how to manage the game.”

Franks and Trask have been in the offense for just 14 practices and the spring game. Now, they’ll have the whole summer to get more familiar and comfortable in it, and how to go about managing it.

It’s a process the quarterbacks have to go through, and they’re only in the early stages of it, Mullen said.

“These guys are still learning the offense,” Mullen said. “I guess it’s like a sports car. If they gave me a Ferrari to drive right now, I’m probably learning how it works at first. I’m not probably going 180 and trying to let go.

“That’s where we want to get them to. They’ve got to learn how to use it first. And then once they use it, then they can go and have fun and really let it rip out there on the field because they know how they can use the offense.”

Note: Redshirt freshman Jake Allen won’t be part of the process at UF after announcing Tuesday night on his Twitter account his plans to transfer.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Ive never totally grasped what the newspaper and the coaches mean by consistency. not the smart aleck stuff like consistently bad or consistently inconsistent, but maybe a different term, or an explanation as to how this is done. the world around us is volatile, I do understand that. Its hard not to be up and down when circumstances vary as much as what they do. Sure Franks (sorry to single him out, it could be anyone) made a couple of plays last year, but how much was him, and how much were blown assignments by the other guy?

    I have learned what is meant by another newspaper/coachspeak term – leader, we know the 7 traits a leader has (plus talent too) – communication – spurrier, humility – John L Williams, when he would block for neal anderson – tebow, ability to stand up for the teammates , effective psychological war on the opponent – alex brown “we will sack him early and often”, determination – danny wuerrfel, nonverbal master – Lawrence Wright’s hit against the vols, ironclad emotional control – emmitt imo. Ok, that’s a high standard, but if we could get better in these categories I like our chances. consistency I have some learning to do I guess.

  2. This is getting very frustrating — FSU jumped to #1 recruiting class after getting a slew of commits following their Spring game, including two former Gator commits (Goolsby and McRae). They also hosted #1 recruit Thibodeaux who said the FSU visit was his best one to date (mind you, he was at UF recently and nary a word about us). Several other blue chips attended and were blown away by what they saw. Taggart seems to be clashing in big time.

    Meanwhile, we dropped a few spots down to the low teens in the recruiting ranking.

    What the heck is going on?

    • Just read a recent article about Wisconsin. Their best class in the last 10 years was 30th, yet they have done very well. For a coach, if you get a 3*, it is your job to get him to a 4* or a 5*. The same can be said with a 5*. If he gets poor coaching he will never be a great player.I think if the gators can stay in the top 10 in recruiting then they will be fine.

    • GatorG – OK, here’s what is going on. Willie Taggarts’s records as a HC: 2-10, 7-5, 7-5, 2-10, 4-8, 7-5, 7-5 = 48-50. His bowl record 0-1. He may end up being the greatest coach in FSU history, but I’m not freaking out until Taggart actually “cashes in big time.”

      Let’s see how things play out for us and them before getting frustrated.

    • GatorG (GatorGod, or aka Mike Winter, or FSU troll). Florida was not even recruiting Goolsby any more, and Dunnellon High School is a WR pipeline for UF. And UF was not recruiting him. You figure it out.

    • GatorG (Mike Winter). Francois’ apartment up at FSU was just raided by the Tallahassee police. He is suspected of selling weed in abundance from his apartment (the police got a warrant based on evidence collected from trash he had thrown out). They found only a small amount of weed, which of course he said was his girlfriend’s stash. Those recruits you mentioned will love it at FSU and likely will fit in well with Francois and company up there.

    • G…..don’t hit the panic button. What happens this fall on the field will determine recruiting ranks, and until then just observe, note it, and let it pass. FSU will bounce back in all probability….but not to where they were. On the other hand, the Gators have every chance at significant improvement and will likewise beat FSU this fall. The odds are in our favor; see Naples Gator above for a breakdown of Taggart’s record.

      • Gator-6. Taggart’s record is very underwhelming, which gives me hope, but he’s never had anywhere near the level of talent inherited. We need blue chips in order to compete with the big boys, and I just wish we were doing a little better in that regard. I still believe Mullen will need 4-5 years to turn this ship around and the ongoing recruiting frustrations is in keeping with that time frame. I do love your optimism — let’s scalp ‘em in Tallanasty!

        • Roger that, GatorG…..but the delta in recruiting classes is a function of the seasons we’ve had under the last two regimes before this one. Blue Chippers aren’t attracted to a mediocre program, even our beloved Gators. The conditions are finally in place to turn that around, but you’re correct, it’s going to take a while. I believe we’ll be knocking on the door in 3 years. If I’m wrong…..then call me a suck egg mule.

          By the way, why does everybody think you’re a nole troll?

          • Thanks, Gator-6. I think it’s because
            my legitimate points/questions make them very uncomfortable.

            Go Gators!

          • Gator-6……because he his Mike Winter, Blackjuju, Steve Jones, Mike Jones, Tebowcurse, GatorGod……now shortened to GatorG…..and who knows who else he is on here…..FSU trolling. That is why.

          • Just checking to make sure we don’t have another case of fratricide going on here, Tampa. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for disemboweling a troll and cutting out his tongue. scattering it to the 7 Seas if you will. Just not sure the man is a troll is all.

            There was the case of Mike (screen name). Everybody called him a troll, among other things. Turns out he is an graduate engineer of UF, and a die hard, true blue Gator to boot. The reason he sounded so pessimistic and dour all the time? He has to rely on statistics all the time in his trade, and the numbers weren’t there to back up what most of us were saying at the time. Once you understood that, it was easy to see where he was coming from and he was no troll at all. Unfortunately, he doesn’t post on here anymore…..which is a shame since he was fun to argue with and a good man at that.

          • Because he is…

            Clean-up on Aisle 5, GatorG / TheTebowCurse / Mike Jones / Black Juju / Mike Winter.

            Go Noles!

          • Thanks for backing me, Gator-6. You should just ignore the naysayers. Like every sizable fanbase we have true grads/alum/supporters and then parasites that glob on just because — you know the type, Oakley-wearing, mullet-styling, jean short sporting trash that so often gives our fanbase a bad name. I earned a chemistry degree from UF and have lived in the northeast for the past 20 years. I can tell you’re an educated and true Gator, like most on these boards. Others, like TampaGator and Albert D’, are from the latter group, given away by their poor grammar, terrible writing styles, and low grade simplistic personal attacks. Dismissive of what they fear or don’t understand or comprehend, they’re resigned to belittling others simply because that’s all their challenged little minds can muster. They don’t even know what a UF classroom smells like, and they never will.

            Forever true to the orange and blue!

  3. What’s going on is that you’re worried about what 16 and 17 year old children are doing 10 months before they’re required to sign. Not saying FSU is gonna lose all those commits and we’re gonna wind up #1 ourselves, but again, these are children. Their voices still crack and they’ve been legally allowed to drive a car for about a year. Dan Mullen and the staff has great relationships w/ great players. His style of offense requires buy-in as much as top talent, and I’m fine with a top 10 class that is 100% sold on his style, as opposed to a #1 class that is full of guys expecting to start immediately and not caring about anything else. Give it time, trust that he knows what he’s doing and most of all, stop worrying about 16 year old children.

  4. Get off the ledge. Way too early to freak out over recruiting. This is the kind of thing that gets coaches run out. As for the article and the QB’s, we will see what happens. I notice Mullen always seems to default to Franks in his interviews. He rarely brings up Trask first. Maybe Franks is outplaying him right now but neither one thrilled me in the Spring “game”. If it is true Trask is even with Franks, then it tells me Trask will be our starter in the end. Franks has had a tremendous head start and still can’t seem to separate himself from a guy who has hardly played.

    • Franks is apparently a much more vocal leader, that is probably due to his not starting in HS somewhat. Tebow would be a great resource to mentor each of these QBs on leadership, both within football and outside of it.