Notebook: UF receivers spreading out receptions

Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson runs after making a catch Saturday against Kentucky at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

Through two games, the Florida Gators don’t have what you could call a go-to receiver. What they have instead is go-to receivers.

Quarterback Feleipe Franks has spread the ball around, completing passes to 14 different players, eight of them wide receivers. The other passes have gone to the running backs and tight ends.

UF’s leading receiver is Van Jefferson, who has only six receptions, followed by Freddie Swain with five and Tyrie Cleveland and Trevon Grimes with four each.

Wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales said the plan will continue to be to spread the ball around rather than focusing on a particular go-to guy at wide receiver.

“I like what we’re doing,” he said. “I’d love to be able to develop between six to eight players. That’s in a perfect world. Right now, it’s in the development stage of it.

“I don’t think you can ask a receiver to go full speed for four to six seconds every single play. They’ll go, but they’re not going to give you everything, so I’d rather have a guy give me three to four plays of 100 percent and take a break, two or three plays off and get the next group in and go. We’re trying to develop that.”

Franks trending up

While UF fans may be quick to turn on Franks following the loss to Kentucky, his coach is pleased with the progress he’s making in his development.

“He continues to improve,” UF coach Dan Mullen said. “I thought he played better in game two than he did in game one. I continue to see his improvement. Those are important things for him as he continues to grow.”

Familiar foe

Gonzales was a standout wide receiver at Colorado State in the early 1990s, so he’ll be coaching against his alma mater. This is nothing new, though. He also coached against his old school when he was the wide receivers coach at Utah in 2003-04.

“It’s just another game for us,” Gonzales said. “It’s about our players. It’s about our team. It’s got nothing to do with me.

“Honestly, I love the school. But it’s about winning the

game, about getting the ‘W’ this week. And I want our guys to be prepared. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

More reps for Houston

One of the few bright spots on defense in the loss to Kentucky was the play of redshirt freshman linebacker James Houston IV, who came off the bench and caused a fumble with a hard hit.

“He’s a young player that has not played a lot of football at this level,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “He’s going to continue to get better the more reps he gets. He’ll get those reps based on the way he practices and performs.”

Cornerback CJ Henderson also played well. His diving interception prevented UK from possibly taking the lead just before halftime.

“He’s a really good player,” Grantham said. “He’s a guy that can make plays.”


  1. “I thought he played better in game two than he did in game one”. I dont know what he was looking at! Franks completed alot of good plays and tight throws in game 1 and his completion rate was much higher than in game 2. In game 2 he overthrew alot of receivers and the pressure got to him! This just sounds like BS talk to support your starter rather than being real and truthful!!

    • You have to factor in the competition he’s facing. CS rarely pressured him, so he was able to stand in the pocket and make clean throws. He was being pressured on 90% of his throws against UK. It’s pretty hard to find a QB that looks as good under pressure as he does in a clean pocket. The fact of the matter is he didn’t lose that game. The horrible O-line play and horrendous tackling did. People keep claiming he’s the same QB, but that’s clearly not true. The Franks from last season totally contributes to the loss. That 99 yard drive to put them in position for a comeback, never happens. Yeah he’s still missing open receivers when under pressure and making some stupid mistakes, but not nearly as much as he was. Mullen has said all along that the development would take time. He’s certainly not going to morph into Tom Brady in less than a year, so expecting that much improvement is a bit ridiculous..

  2. Davis is still running wide open in the end zone, but don’t tell Feliepe. Come on mon. Visualize the field and execute the offense. And please, Johnson, pick up and block a blitzing LB. And Jordan, when you pick up a blitzing LB, block him continually until a play is over. Thank you.