Gators entering serious work

The Gators run a drill at practice last month. [Lauren Bacho/Gainesville Sun]

Now that final exams are over for the Summer B semester, things are going to really start getting interesting, and tough, for the Florida football team.

The Gators checked into a hotel Friday afternoon and will officially open camp with a morning practice Saturday. They will also practice Sunday, then hold the first preseason scrimmage Monday.

UF coach Dan Mullen said this is when the real mental and physical grind begins. And it will go on basically non-stop for the next two weeks.

“We’re going to put the players in a lot of adverse situations so that they learn how to flip the switch,” Mullen said. “As it gets harder, we go harder. We get better and tougher as practice goes on.

“As the game goes on, we play harder and tougher. As the season goes on, we’re a much more physical, tougher and play harder at the end of the season than we are at the beginning.

“That’s a mindset that we’re trying to instill in the guys. The great thing is I don’t see the resistance, I just see them trying to figure it all out. So we’ll go from there.”

The Gators enter camp Saturday still not knowing who the starting quarterback is going to be. The competition remains wide open between Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and true freshman Emory Jones.

Mullen said he has no timetable for naming a starter, but he’s hoping it happens well before the week of the Sept. 1 opener.

“I’d love to figure it, this guy is going to be our starter then we go with it,” Mullen said. “As soon as we feel comfortable, I want to do it.

“There’s still some stuff we haven’t installed. To sit there and say, ‘Hey, we haven’t even put in the whole offense yet, but the competition’s over for the starting job,’ it’s tough. I don’t really want it to go into the game week. I’d love to get it done way before then.”

Mullen said the quarterbacks “are coming along”, and he might have a better idea if there’s any separation between the three based on performance in the scrimmage Monday.

In the meantime, this is a new offense for everyone and there’s a significant learning curve for the quarterbacks, Mullen said.

“We’re very much a quarterback-based offense, so they have a lot to do,” he said. “They’re learning to do a lot of different things. Learning and managing the offense. What the checks are, what the reads are to get us in the right place, how to make quick decisions.

“And they’re also working technique and fundamentals, how to improve that way. And then the biggest one that I’m always harping on is the leadership. It’s learning to become a complete player. It takes time.”

Just like in the spring, the quarterbacks continue to struggle with consistency. But Mullen seems encouraged by the progress they are making.

“I’ve seen improvement in those guys,” he said. “Each of them have their own little strengths they’ve got to keep working on. And we’ve got to keep making sure, we’ve put a lot on them, to keep them working.”

Over the next two weeks, the quarterbacks — like the players in every other position group — are going to be put in adverse situations to see how they handle them.

“Don’t let them just get comfortable and say, ‘I’m going to be really good at just the things I’m good at,’ ” Mullen said. “Work through the things to continue to improve. Then as we get closer to the season, we’ll take care of them and cut back and kind of hone in and make life a little easier for them.”



  1. Not a lot new here but I still think development is going in the right direction. In teaching you are looking for the instant in your students when they have that a hah moment. The sign they have grasped what you are teaching from there they can build on that. Until then it is a struggle. Franks, Trask , Jones someone will “get it”. Even if that moment is not before we start the season I think we’ll see one rise a leader and be sufficient enough.
    “And they’re also working technique and fundamentals, how to improve that way. And then the biggest one that I’m always harping on is the leadership. It’s learning to become a complete player. It takes time.”
    Like that statement. You can have your own style but they need the above to go with it.
    Go Gators!

    • You got it, 65… we draw closer to crossing the LD, we’ll be looking for those moments! Like you, I really believe that “gestalt” moment is most likely to show itself under maximum, realistic pressure. And it sounds like that is exactly what coach has in mind.

      I’m wanting to say a lot, but a lot has already been said by men on here wiser than me. This is going to get real exciting, real quick!

  2. Frankly, I am concerned that neither Franks nor Trask has taken a serious step forward already to claim the QB job. That concerns me greatly. But what concerns me more is the statement by Mullen that the DL is really good right now at rushing the QB on passing downs. Makes me wonder if the OL has made any progress at all? And the combination of those things gives me really scary thoughts with the season approaching.

  3. 2 ”schools of thought” about Mullen’s ‘O’ and the ”Q.B.”.
    Of course the 1st is our experiences, (many of us Gator fans know through experience, with 2005-’08 memories in our Orange & Blue brains), we know that Mullen can improvise (see: Chris Leak and Tebow in ’06 Natty year). And the other is Coach Mullen’s ”ideal Q.B.” can take a beating. But NOT until they find another Tebow (which doesn’t grow on trees, a lot of oranges down here, but no Tebow’s).
    So until then, Coach Mullen will get the most out of the Q.B.s that he can without all of the ”body damage.”
    And the scrimmages (and how players LOVE ‘EM, I sure did!) will tell a lot. As my coaches always said, ”The eye (camera) in the sky doesn’t LIE!” Go Gators!

  4. A ”production” question to any commenter that knows, or an employee of
    What is the ”shelf-life” of our photos on this site?
    This the 2nd time I come here, log in, and my screen name pic is GONE, and so is my big backdrop pic on my profile page, what’s up that!??!? While I’m very thankful for the opportunity to post opinions, I’m getting tired of uploading pics here… so…

  5. It took six months for the NCAA to approve Trevon Grimes “hardship waiver transfer” to Florida. It took less than a month for Georgia to get Robertson’s same transfer from Cal to Georgia request approved by the NCAA. Georgia is becoming more and more like Bama is ways not just on the football field.

  6. We’re making too much about who the QB will be in the Fall. That’s really not important at this stage. It is good that all 3 are competing for the job. Trust me, the Coach will decide when the time is right. Who really knows what may happen to any player considering the training they must undergo before we play our first game. Players that get through camp healthy is a major consideration. As a fan base, let’s not try to coach or create undue pressures through the media. Just be excited and cheer for the Gators!
    Go Gators!

    • Nassau, I don’t disagree with you however, I think the anxiety is warranted simply because we haven’t even had a average quarterback (not including a PED Will Grier) in here since Tebow. For 8 years the entire off season and preseason has been about who is going to start at quarterback only to be disappointed year after year with whomever they throw out there. I think if Mullen can at least show progress with the QB position people will start to back off the ledge a bit…and quite frankly (no pun intended) I’m losing my balance.

  7. If I’m Emory Jones, I am very encouraged right now that neither Franks nor Trask has stepped up and been named starter. I am working hard to temper my expectations about this season but at this point I feel like at least 8 wins is possible. But I see that coming on the strength of the Defense, Special Teams, and the Running Backs. I don’t have any great expectations that the QB’s are suddenly going to “get it”. I hope like heck I’m surprised, but I don’t expect it. That said, I really believe that Dan will get more out of the QB’s this year than we’ve seen in a long time.

  8. At least what we hear that Mullens doing with the QB’s sounds real good. It sounds like they are really being trained and at all phases. It really sounds like mullen knows exactly what he’s doing but he cant MAKE these guys get it. It also appears that there really is a QB competition, not just a faux one like we had last year and that he really will chose the one he thinks will play best. I like his statement that ‘ he might have a better idea if there’s any separation in the scrimmage’. It makes me think that he puts alot of weight in actual game play rather than practice. This is SOOO much better than the last decade in preparation, training and choosing a QB. I realize he can only work with what he has. QB is a position you have to develop into and all 3 are like newbies since they never had proper training here before so you cant expect too much this year, none of them is a Will Grier and definitely not even close to a Tebow or Chris Leak!
    Unless Franks has made great strides I think Trask will win the job. I mentioned the Faux competition last year. In the Orange and Blue game franks drove the #1 offense against the #2 defense while Trask had to drive the #2 offense against the #1 defense. Clearly not even close to a fair competition for Trask. Neither QB could move their offense. Then in the 2nd half ,Trask got one drive behind the #1 offense against the #2 defense and he drove right down the field and scored! Apples to Apples! Trask was superior to franks! Unfortunately we had only 1 drive to compare and Franks NEVER had to drive the #2 offense against the #1 defense which i think would have been abysmal! So McElwain immediately spewed his propaganda that Franks had won, so did Robbie and Dooley obediently, and I remember only me on here pointing out the truth and the fraud! Point being, that unless Franks has made great strides I think Trask performs better in game action, at least he did at the beginning of last season and Franks never improved in game play last year(he couldnt read defenses, stared down receivers, locked onto his 1st choice and missed wide open receivers). Mullen wants to make a choice before opening day but if they are close I hope he doesnt and lets their game play in the 1st or 2nd game make the decision!

    • That’s the longest post that I’ve seen you write in a long time, daz. Lots of insights embedded in there! In fact, I agree with most everything after I’ve read it twice, except for the part about Robbie and Pat “obediently” following Mac’s proclamations ( but that’s OK, pure opinion).

      I think when you reduce it all to sheer simplicity, which of and by itself is fraught, ironically, with its own complexity, you come up with two things besides physical skill sets to judge these guys: Situational Awareness and Situational Understanding, and they are not the same thing. We place the greatest emphasis on the former, but don’t pay enough attention to the latter, in my opinion anyway, but the truth is they always go together. Situational Awareness is the scanning in part, the perception of most, if not all of an ever-changing environment, while Situational Understanding is the next step — the connecting of the dots, so to speak, where a rapid, sound decision can be made.

      So we’ve got three elite athletes here, one 3* (Trask), and two 4* (Franks and Jones), and only one (Franks) with any appreciable college game time. But, we know a good deal about all of them so far. If we rank order them first on Situational Awareness, then on Situational Understanding, how do they fall out? I have my opinion, but I’d sure like to hear your’s and some others too.

      • 6 some of this is the intangible qualities. But to rank them we can only go by what we have seen. Which we’ve seen Franks, situational awareness by what we’ve seen? Below average. Situational understanding less so. Trask unknown, Jones HS tape. You cash teach this but the good ones have the intangibles here that they not only understand what is going on they ‘ feel’ it. Jones HS tape doesn’t mean he can do it at this level but if I had to I’d put him at one. He has some of the intangibles. Trask is the most intriguing because there isn’t as much on him. Franks has not had the coaching. But i almost equate awareness to fight or flight and his decisions haven’t always looked like he was aware.
        2. Franks
        3. Trask
        2-3 could change. Haven’t seen enough Trask to know.
        The awareness situational and understanding is a large part of pocket presence. All actually. Trask could be on top the ranking is only on what I’ve seen and two spring games and spring training.

  9. Keep in mind one thing, Gators: 2 of our QB’s have never had proper coaching and 1 was in HS last year. Also, we have the right guy here now, after 8 years. The last time we had a QB and won 2 natties with him we had this coach as OC. I saw a flash of brilliance last year with FF at the A&M game , I think. (Could have been LSU) I have never seen a more determined run out of a QB. Anybody else remember it? Went 50 or more yards. If FF gets the progressions down, he will be the starter, IMHO. And he is not afraid to run. I honestly have not been more excited since ’90.

  10. All three QB’s are learning a new system – their past experience is basically irrelevant. To be honest, I would like to see Trask make some strides. Franks has the physical talent, but I’m not sure he is mentally prepared. Hopefully the time he spends watching film will really help him translate what he learns onto the playing field. I am guessing Jones will not be ready just yet – steep learning curve plus a huge difference between college ball and high school ball. However, he better get ready, as we only have two other scholarship QBs, and if they both get injured, Mullens will be calling his number. i believe the O-line will play much better this year. I do remember the FSU game last year when a fast FSU defensive end blew by our much slower offensive tackle (maybe he should be moved to guard?). GO GATORS!!!