And off they go: UF quarterbacks make first camp impression

Florida quarterbacks Feleipe Franks (13) and Kyle Trask (11) throw passes during the first football practice of preseason camp Friday at UF. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Quarterback class officially opened on the Florida practice Field on Friday, and all three quarterbacks received a passing grade for their opening-day performance.

“There was some solid things that I saw from those guys,” UF coach Dan Mullen said of Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones. “I thought all three of them did a good job out there.

“Emory did a good job. I’m going to watch some film. I’ll mess that up sometimes, where he is a freshman and I expect to look like a freshman and sometimes he doesn’t look like a freshman because he has had a spring and you can see he has worked hard at it. Other days I’ll go out there, and I think the other way, where I’m like, he should look better than that. Then I’ll remember, ‘Oh, he’s a freshman.

“I saw some really good things (from the quarterbacks).”

Franks, last season’s starter, opened practice with the No. 1 offense, but the three quarterbacks ended up sharing reps throughout the day.

Mullen, who talked Thursday about the quarterbacks needing to be successful checking down and consistently completing the routine passes, said the QB play of the day was a 6-yard completion.

“The best play today I saw was probably Trask. They doubled an out cut, and he checked it down for six yards,” Mullen said. “That’s the best play we saw. They’re kind of shocked, ‘Didn’t you see that bomb I threw into double coverage and we scored a touchdown?’

“No. I said that’s not the best play. That’s starting to show a grasp, the little things of managing every aspect of the game. That’s the mental side of things I really want them to pick up.”

Mullen said the most consistent quarterback is going to win the job, not necessarily the one who makes the biggest plays over the next few weeks.

Consistency of play is something he continues to stress to the quarterbacks.

“I’ve got to make sure to keep reiterating to them is not trying to make plays to maybe win the job,” Mullen said. “As a guy you’re thinking, ‘I’m going to go out, I’m competing, I’m going to win this job. Watch to see all the plays I can throw, because great quarterbacks make unspectacular plays.’

“I want to see you consistently make the unspectacular play. That doesn’t always compute for young people. That’s the whole deal.

“They need to get into, ‘I don’t have to make a big play. I have to manage the game and be consistent in our performance.’ Keep reminding them to do that. They don’t have to make a big play to win the job. Whoever is the most consistent guy is going to (win it).”

At the team’s media day Thursday, Mullen said that Franks has a “tremendous” skill set, has great athletic ability, a strong arm and the ability to make big plays, but needs to become more consistent.

Mullen broke down Trask’s game after Friday’s practice.

“One of the things that I do like that Kyle does is he’s very conscious about trying to do what we ask him to do,” Mullen said. “He’s got great size within the pocket. He does a great job of staying tall in the pocket and seeing what’s going on to be able to distribute the ball. He’s got a bunch of arm talent.

“The one great thing that he showed, too, is he’s not Michael Vick back there running around. But he’s a very willing runner and he runs physical as a big guy. He’s more than capable to doing everything we need him to do to be really successful at it.”

The quarterbacks traditionally wear non-contact jerseys in practice. In Mullen’s offense, though, the quarterback can be a featured runner at times, and that means at some point in preseason camp, the QBs will be going live to see how they execute that aspect of the offense.

Mullen said that overall it’s going to be a physical camp for everybody at times. But it won’t be over the top.

“That’s a fine line,” he said. “We’ll be very physical at times during camp, and we won’t be at other times. I want to make sure we have a certain physical and mental toughness to us when we go out there, that we’re going to be a very physical football team how we play.

“I love being a physical football team. I love people after games to know that they played Florida and just say, ‘Well, that’s a little different, those kids are a little different when you have to play those games.’ ”


  1. Sounds like all three QBs are starting out on the ground floor and the one who gets to the top floor in the most consistent and effective way will win the job, freshman or not. Glad to hear that. And it does appear that Mullen like Trask a lot.

  2. ” ‘The best play today I saw was probably Trask. They doubled an out cut, and he checked it down for six yards,’ Mullen said. That’s the best play we saw. They’re kind of shocked, ‘Didn’t you see that bomb I threw into double coverage and we scored a touchdown?’ ‘No’ I said, ‘that’s not the best play.’ That’s starting to show a grasp, the little things of managing every aspect of the game. That’s the mental side of things I really want them to pick up.”
    Well done, Robbie. And I can totally dig this! So glad Dan’s back in the Orange & Blue. Go Gators!

    • Good catch GI, that also jumped off the page at me. What is a Master? Someone who has over-learned the fundamentals, over and over again, until he can do them in his sleep. And there you have it with Coach Mullen — KISS before you get fancy. Put differently, “Who brung you to the dance boys? A little guy named ALWAYS MOVE THE FOOTBALL!”

  3. I’m just as excited as everyone else that we seem to finally have another coach who can get the most out of our quarterbacks. I’m cautiously optimistic however because we’ve heard this for YEARS. Driskel will be the best, there’s this guy on the practice squad named Del Rio who has really impressed Cheetos Teeth and so on. I’m hopeful as anyone but they gotta show something positive out of that position this year other than camp MVP.

    • Dallas, don’t know if this is correct. But Mullen said they did good things and have improved. He didn’t say they were great or the best. That may change but he hasn’t anointed someone like the others did. Tampa, GI ,Clyde spot on areal competition. We may not have a great but if they can not make bonehead mistakes we’re gonna be good maybe very good. Some conferences are flash. Big 12 (changing) while I like a dominating offense as much as anyone. If we make 4 yards a play that is first down on every series. Anything better is gravy. That needs a QB that can make sure we are not checking down to one yard plays. Mullen said 6 yard routine plays consistently. Throw some Big plays in every now and then. Skies the limit. It is a team everyone has to pull their weight. Go Gators! 🐊

      • Roger that 65…..last year we couldn’t seem to do the math. “Gee, let’s see…..we’ve got 3 downs to make 10 yards……anybody know what 10 divided by 3 is………well that’s OK, 2 yards at a time ought to do it………….ooooh, that run up the middle lost a couple…..hey, let’s do it again!”.

        I hate to make fun of my Gators, but that’s how frustrated I was. The tapestry of profanity still lingers over my garage based Gator man cave.

  4. The best QBs find the open receivers or the best running plays. Sure it is great to throw into double coverage if it works, the problem is that many times it does not work and it can turn the game around against you.

  5. Mullen’s comments about Trask went far beyond the execution of an unspectacular six-yard completion. The Florida head coach sounds like a commentator giving a scouting report on the redshirt sophomore: size, strength, standing tall in the pocket, understands he’s not Michael Vick but sufficient ability to run as needed, arm talent and demonstrates a grasp of doing the necessary little things. Does that make Kyle Trask the early leader for the starting job? Maybe, but it’s been apparent that Mullen is ensnared with Feleipe Franks’ rare talent, as well. We may discover that our heretofore ugly duckling redshirt freshman QB of 2017 turns into a star after all. Either way, whether it’s Trask or Franks who wins the starting assignment, we’ve landed our most astute head coach regarding offense since 1990. Mullen’s entire approach is most likely going to prove to be transformational for at least one of our current three quarterbacks and much sooner than later. This year, next year, we’ll see, though it’s coming.

  6. Sometimes I think if I were a coach I’d have a drill where I make the QB just throw the ball away like 10 times in a row, just to illustrate that the interception you don’t throw could possibly be “the play of the day”

  7. I’m guessing that Franks was the QB who threw the touchdown into double coverage. I love CDM using the media to motivate his QBs. Making the right read is more important to CDM than demonstrating arm talent. However, CDM also made a case for Trask’s arm talent. It’s too early to call, but we may be seeing the rise of Shane Matthews II. Out of nowhere to starting QB.

  8. I wonder if Franks has explained to Mullen yet how throwing interceptions makes him just like Tom Brady? I’m sure Mullen can learn so much from this master quarterback and his in-depth knowledge of how hurling interceptions makes him equal to one of the all-time greats!

  9. If hurts doesn’t start for Alabama this year and if we don’t have a good QB emerge by the end of the season, what are the chances Hurts will come to Florida as a graduate transfer with a chip on his shoulder to beat Alabama next year?