Football notebook: Punishing QB

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) runs with the ball in a drill during a practice earlier this month. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

In an attempt to win over his teammates, Franks has gone the physical route in practice, sometimes trying to run over defenders with his 6-foot-6, 240-pound body. But he’s taken on the wrong players a few times, running back Jordan Scarlett said.

“He tried to run a couple of people over that he shouldn’t,” Scarlett said. “Jachai Polite, and he tried to run over Jabari (Zuniga). I’m like, ‘Dude, those dudes are not the guys you want to run into. Maybe somebody in the secondary, but not those guys.’ But he has the attitude, so, I like it.”

Scarlett said Franks has been aggressive in other ways, too, and his teammates have noticed his effort.

“I’ve seen him make some grown-man plays, just making the extra-effort plays, like diving across the pylon and diving over people and stuff,” Scarlett said. “He’s showing the quarterback has that kind of effort. In a game, he’s going to make that same execution for a first down or a touchdown.”

New center starter

The competition at center will continue in the upcoming weeks, but the guy getting the first start is going to be former guard Nick Buchanan, who has been battling last year’s starter, T.J. McCoy, throughout camp.

“Nick Buchanan will take the first snap (Saturday night),” co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach John Hevesy said. “He has taken great ownership in the position and the leadership role of the communication factor that they need to do. He is one that probably has done the best out of them, but they all have their positive and negatives. We are just going to keep the competition going every day.

“How we do in that position is going to make or break us because that’s the center of everything that we do. They control everything and where we go, so that has to be the dominating position.”

Heggie returns

Brett Heggie, a starter at guard last season before undergoing knee surgery for a torn ACL, also will be involved in the competition at center, but he’s missed most of camp with a turf toe. He returned to practice late last week with the hope of playing in the opener.

“Yeah, I think I’ll be ready,” he said. “I really just have to

focus on my fundamentals and start creating good habits again with my play. You stay out of the game for 10 months, or whatever it was for me, things get a little rusty, but I’m trying to get better every day.”

Heggie is working with the second-team line at both center and guard.

Trash-talking freshman

Cornerback Trey Dean III hasn’t been performing like a true freshman. Or acting like one.

Freshmen are usually fairly quiet. But not Dean. He’s been the biggest trash-talker in the secondary, according to wide receiver Van Jefferson.

“Yeah, he’s a trash talker,” Jefferson said. “But he’s a great corner. I love going against him. He tries to get in your head.

“I think everybody’s gotten hit by his trash talk. That’s who he is and that’s his personality. He’s a great player, so that is a good characteristic to his game. You’ve just got to take (the trash talking) with a grain of salt.”



  1. I have to admit based on this article, Franks may be the best candidate for QB for Florida. Mullen is going to run the QB, no mistake about it. His offense is predicated on a running QB, at least 10-15 times a game. Not a fan of T.J. McCoy not starting. That man has talent, but most of all, want to. I’ll have to trust the coaches that Buchanan is the better choice, but, he’ll have to show me! It’s almost time!

  2. This is exactly what I was hoping to hear. If this is truly Franks’ mentality, then with our stable of running backs we are in for some real improvement (depending, as always, on good work by the O line). I think Franks bulked-up to 240 lbs, and has become more aggressive as a way of trying to emulate Tebow. I know, there will only ever be one Tebow, but a big guy like Franks who is willing to mix it up can be a big spark for the team and the fans, and no D back ever looked forward to hitting Tebow! This is also a huge part of CDM’s offense, and is what helped to make Dak Prescott so successful. It just happens to be a major part of opening up the passing game as well. Merely a guess, but Franks aggressiveness may very well be what separated him from Trask (so far) in the final deliberations of CDM. I too harbor doubts about Franks, but if he will run over people instead of running out of bounds for long losses, and adopt Tebow’s passion and toughness, I will stay in his corner for a long time!

    • Trooper, he doesn’t need to be an exact clone, for sure….but if he can pick up Tebow-like attitudes and drive, and minimize the errors this year, I will be absolutely delighted. Makes me wonder, had Tebow and company played for Mac & Nuss, what would have happened to them instead of the history we know and love?

          • Well, you got me there, Daz…..but you didn’t say what team he would have excelled for. I don’t think much exposure to that crew at all would have been required for him to take his talents elsewhere.

          • I don’t think Tebow would’ve been nearly the player he was under Mac and Nuss. He would’ve still done the best he could, but Mac and Nuss severely handcuffed their players. I mean look at Grier, he even admitted that he didn’t have the freedom he has now and wasn’t allowed to change plays at the line of scrimmage. In 6 games at UF he averaged barely 200 yds a game and had 1202 total. His very first game out of the gate at WVU he had 371 yds, and that’s after not playing a down in almost 2 years. In 4 games he threw for 1,367 yds and had almost 1000 more yards than he did at UF in 6. Mac and Nuss would destroyed anyone no matter how good they are.

  3. The center position looks like it could take a few weeks before its settled, which I think we all prefer a less important position having that uncertainty, but we do a good floor so to speak at the position.

    Franks will win people over imo. he won me over already. I think we should appreciate what he can do and not focus on his limitations so much, but that’s an inevitable issue in a world full of people that have been trained to be critical.

      • None of us have, except for the O&B game perhaps. But we’ve had pretty good updates on his progress, the most salient and unbiased of which have been from Cody Alan. Plus the fact, that if you know anything at all about Mveal and his commentary, he’s the original “show me” guy and not that easy to win over.

      • Jonzee when you hear other players talk about what a great leader Franks is being, even being voted to the leadership counsel, and that he’s a video junkie and calling WRs at all hours of the night to go over plays, then you hear about the work he put in in in the gym and offseason conditioning program to put on about 15 lbs of muscle, it shows everyone that he’s doing everything he can to get better and help the team win. Even when the competition was still going on, did you hear anybody talking about Trask like that? I mean I read a few times where Mullen said some good things about him, but who knows whether that’s just coach talk to keep a players confidence up and keep him motivated. The one thing I did hear that stuck out was Savage having to rip Trask and Jones for being some of the last players walking out of the locker room and telling them if he doesn’t see them first out every time then they’re going to have to deal with him. I didn’t see much stuff being said about his great leadership qualities and passion and drive in the offseason wanting to be the starter, when that’s all that was being said about Franks. That’s how you win the fans over before even taking a snap.

          • Obviously, but Trask hasn’t shown squat and a lot of fans were hoping he’d be the starter, so what exactly has he done to win everyone over? Clearly you can win fans over before showing anything on the field.

      • I agree with you CO jones. Teammates have long understood that’s in their best interest and the team’s best interest to hype other teammates (makes for good locker room camaraderie) But I’m from Mizzouri and like the the “show me state” I have to be shown. Remember, always expect the worse and hope for the best……it’s easier on your heart.

  4. I always thought that an offensive line had to become a unit, not some mix and match sort of thing like the defensive line can be. Until we get one team of five that perform well individually and as a group we won’t meet our expectations. For me trash talking is not a substitute from working hard, most good players are not effected by it, and the trash talker can be distracted by his talking.

  5. Another athlete that trash talks. Boring! A little trash talking is OK but let your play do the talking! Ever notice that when the game is on the line hardly no one is trash talking. That’s be cause the players are focused on the game, their assignments, etc and not wasting their energy on trash talking. Play with heart and passion like Tim Tebow! Go Gators!

  6. Does us proud to have a coach who puts huge enphasis on the importance of having top-notch play at center. That’s an essential building block when you talk about offense. Looking forward to seeing the line functioning as a unit with a center who knows how to lead. Maybe we won’t see so many bonehead mistakes that ruin momentum. Go Gators.

  7. Franks was a great dual threat QB in high school. He is an excellent fit for Mullen”s spread offense. Franks is the best fit for Mullen’s offense. He will no longer be required to protect himself by sliding, dropping on the ground, or just plain running an offense that he has to play the puss. He is back in his element with this offense and he is smelling and feeling it. Some people compared him to Tebow when he was recruited. Maybe, just maybe he can aspire to be great like Tebow did. He is not Tebow but, I think he wants to make his own statement this year in an offense he is comfortable with because it is the style he knows best. He will be cut loose in an offense he is best suited for. Hopefully he will be smart enough to spread the ball and run when needed. This offense which includes the TE as a major part will give Franks a lot of “options” to succeed. Franks fits this offense. He will have a breakout year. Nobody will believe it until he crushes Georgia’s dreams for a NC and FSU realizes the are the 4th major in this state. Go Gators!! 11 wins …

    • I agree with most of what you said and like the positive energy but I wouldn’t consider Franks a dual threat high school QB. In 4 years he only rushed 67 times for 735 total yards and was listed by most ranking services as a pocket passer.

      I do agree that he’s very athletic, physical and can certainly be a threat running the ball in Mullen’s system.

    • The fact of the matter is, he just flat out wasn’t ready to play last season. Then you throw him into a complex offense with a severely depleted team that’s fat, slow, and weak from the joke of a strength and conditioning program and what you get is what we got. A QB who was completely lost and running around for his life and looking like the worst QB in college football. We got glimpses of what he’s capable of with the Tenn bomb and 79 yd run against A&M. He’s clearly been laser focused this offseason knowing exactly what he needed to work on to get better and now we get to see the results and I can’t wait.

  8. Buchanan seems to have picked up the spread offense better. He’s a smart dude. He is the quarterback of the offensive line and will help Franks recognize defenses. He paid his dues and has taken to the position. When a new coaching staff comes in they see personnel differently. Hopefully the quarterback-center position is an upgrade compared to last year.