Florida coach Dan Mullen has a feeling who his starting quarterback is going to be, but he’s still not quite ready to make that final decision, he said Thursday.
Mullen planned to meet with quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson after Thursday night’s practice, the final practice of preseason camp, and then work toward naming a starter for the Sept. 1 opener.
“Brian and I are going to look at it, and really discuss every part of it and see. There are a lot of little factors going into it.
“I’m not going to hide that (decision). That’s not like a secret that we are holding out on. We are wrapping up training camp.
“We’re going to evaluate who gives us the best opportunity to win games. We’ll go in to the game week knowing who our starter is going to be. That’s not going to be a game-time decision deal.”
Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and true freshman Emory Jones have been competing for the job since the start of spring practice, with apparently no significant separation at the top between Franks and Trask.
Franks and Trask both said earlier this week their focus was on getting better every day instead of worrying about who’s going to be named the starter.
After struggling in the first fall scrimmage, all three quarterbacks graded out as a champion in last Sunday’s scrimmage. All effectively moved the offense at times and produced some big plays.
“They’ve made a lot of progress understanding the offense,” Mullen said. “They’ve made a lot of progress within their personalities, learning how to deal with Brian and I on a daily basis.
“Just having some personality, some fun with it, understanding what’s important for the team and the leadership aspect of things. So I think they’ve come along really well that way.”
In the first scrimmage where the quarterbacks struggled, the offensive playbook was immense, with Mullen having the QBs handle a wide spectrum of plays and formations.
Since then, the offense has been somewhat simplified, and that will continue as the Gators work toward the opener.
“Just their understanding,” Mullen said. “We’ve been coming in with a giant package. Now we get into a game week and this is all we’re going to hear. I want to see how they respond to that.
“We’ve gone from here (hands wide) to here (hands closer) for this week’s plan. How they transition to that will be interesting to see.
“We’ll figure it out. It’s about winning games this year.”
Mullen was asked where his confidence level is with the quarterbacks.
He responded by saying he’s comfortable with the quarterbacks — and everyone else on the team as the Gators start to focus on the opener.
“I’m comfortable with all our guys,” he said. “That’s who we’ve got. I hope they’re comfortable with me because that’s all we got. We’re all in this together as a team.
“When we get in that meeting room, we have each other and we’re going out there to try to be a great football team and leave a legacy.
Quarterback isn’t the only position where the starter has not been established. Position battles continue at center, punter and placekicker.
Mullen said there also are decisions to be made at every position about how much the players behind the starters are going to play in the opener.
“I’ve told guys right now you might be at 20 reps going into game one,” Mullen said. “How you perform in game one, it could be 25 or 15 in game two. (It depends on) how you go perform and the effort you play with.”
Notes: Three Gators on the coaches’ preseason All-SEC first team — OT Martez Ivey, DE Cece Jefferson, S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Second team — CJ Henderson at DB. Third team — RB Jordan Scarlett, LB David Reese, DB Marco Wilson. … Mullen on injury report: “All our guys are good.”
Click back for more from today’s news conference.