Mullen: Franks also developing thick skin

Florida wide receiver Freddie Swain, left, and quarterback Feleipe Franks celebrate teaming up for an 18-yard TD in the second quarter Saturday against Colorado State at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Lauren Bacho/Staff photographer]

The jeers rang out as Florida once again settled for a field goal against a seemingly inferior opponent. The starting quarterback? A paltry 0-for-6 performance to start the game, with an interception to boot. For many, 14 games of Feleipe Franks was enough.

But in the eyes of his head coach, Franks was improving, regardless of the passer rating or statistics.

Franks’ performance in the first half paled in comparison to how he finished the game. Before being replaced under center by Kyle Trask in the waning minutes, Franks had completed eight of his last nine passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns, as the Gators completed a 38-point victory.

After previously implying Franks could play himself out of a starting role, Mullen said after the game that Franks’ leash is longer than he let on, and that his willingness to learn and improve is a better gauge of improvement than missed reads and turnovers.

Considering a multitude of reasons could explain a turnover or blown play, Mullen’s evaluation of Franks will be defined by his gradual improvement in controllable aspects, such as his attitude and demeanor on the field. Mullen, who reiterated after the game that he wouldn’t yank Franks unless he showed a hesitance to take advice and criticism, said Franks wouldn’t have arrived in Gainesville with ambitions of becoming a successful Florida quarterback if he wasn’t expecting a considerable amount of pressure.

“I think you got to work harder in the quarterback room than it is out there in the public to thicken up his skin. I’m starting to see that a little bit. Ask any quarterback that has played for me, you’ve got some thick skin to go do that. We get after you. We expect certain things from you,” Mullen said. “If you don’t like public scrutiny, don’t be a quarterback at Florida. But you have the potential to get a lot of praise, too.”

For Franks, a redshirt sophomore quarterback who has already received more than his fair share of criticism, it’s important for his head coach to regard him as a true freshman, considering the staff and scheme changes the program has undergone since Mullen arrived in late November. While many won’t allow Franks the same room to grow as the team’s true freshman, Mullen emphasized it’s important to put Franks’ development to date in perspective.

“I can’t tell you what offense they ran last year, you know what I mean? What he was being coached, what he was being taught, I don’t spend any time on that,” Mullen said. “It’s his third game in our system right there, OK? And the fact that I don’t see him make poor decisions, all right. I don’t see him make poor decisions, I see him maybe needing to make them a little quicker and I see him sometimes missing one.”

Regardless, Franks seemed to improve rather than regress over the night, but the next part for Florida and Mullen will be identifying a way to accelerate the improvement on the field.

“I don’t know (why he improved). I was probably yelling at him on the sidelines,” Mullen said. “No, I think it’s just him getting in the flow of the game. He’s got to do a better job of just getting in the flow of the game early and play that way, understand what goes on.”


        • It’s a 3-2 count here’s the wind up and the pitch, fast ball low and outside, kind of see why a lot of fans wanted to get rid of mullen when he was here with urban, no, no, no i’m not calling for Mullen to be fired I just wonder what he sees in Franks, what’s going to happen when Tenn, Missouri, LSU, Miss State come around their not C.S.U.

          • I don’t remember anyone wanting him gone back then, but it wouldn’t surprise me considering the fans were already calling for his head after the second game. Jacob, what he sees in Franks is a better QB than Trask. This whole “fan” theory that Trask is better is kind’ve mind boggling. It’s as if they know more than Mullen, when he sees him every day in practice. To think he would stick with Franks and not put Trask in if he thought for a second that Trask would have better production is asinine. It’s safe to say with him already knowing the ridiculous expectations a large part of this fan base has, the last thing he would do is have the better QB riding the bench.

          • G6 and Joe…Oh, they griped about him….but guess what, they griped at Spurrier too. It’s what “we” do….

            Mullen definitely knows our base and does a good job of not focusing on the chatter.

      • Surely you jest! Franks has many good tools but accuracy is not one of them. Coaches love his size (6’5″) and his arm strength but he is very inaccurate. His main problem is that he is not athletic and as such runs poorly. I think what you see is who he is! We won’t see any leaps in improvement but at present he is the best option we have!

        • They werent booing the team, just the QB! Clearly the majority of the fans feel they have the right to let the coach know how they feel. I think the coach is between a rock and a hard place, he has the options he has and has chosen this hand to play even though it isnt very good. He clearly values that rocket arm over accuracy and good decision making that he would have in Trask. I disagree with the coach and it appears he disagrees with himself… “fact that I don’t see him make poor decisions…. I see him maybe needing to make them a little quicker and I see him sometimes missing one.” Deciding not to throw till it is too late IS a poor decision as well as”missing a wide open receiver” to throw to a double covered one is also a poor decision! At least we dont have to worry so much about him reading defenses since all the plays are coming from the sidelines after they are lined up. My hope is that he improves rapidly for the teams sake, but i dont realistically see that happening; Hope Im wrong.

          • Daz please explain what evidence you have that says Trask is accurate and a good decision maker? It certainly can’t strictly be coming from a Spring game when the defense isn’t really trying, nor allowed to even touch the QB. It’s just beyond crazy that there’s fans who truly believe the coach, who not only saw what just happened to the previous coach for not improving the offense, but knows full well how ridiculous the expectations are, would actually keep the better QB on the bench. I really can’t wrap my head around how anyone could believe that. If it were Mac, yeah you could believe he’d be that stupid, but not a coach with the QB track record of Mullen. There’s a reason he’s rolling with Franks and it’s certainly not only because of his arm.

          • I really don’t think it’s that black and white saying Mullen clearly values a rocket arm over accuracy and good decision making. If you really believe that then you must not have much faith in Mullen, I sure wouldn’t if I thought that.

            The truth is Mullen is more qualified than all of us (especially me) given his QB track record and I feel we should all be a bit more patient than booing in game three of his first year. I don’t like the message that sends to recruits and doesn’t make our fan base look great.

  1. ”Mullen said. ‘If you don’t like public scrutiny, don’t be a quarterback at Florida. But you have the potential to get a lot of praise, too.’ ” -Graham Hall.
    The end of that same comment was even better, Mullen said (paraphrasing) that the upside is there are 3 statues of Q.B.s in front of the stadium. The Gator Nation, while being tough on Q.B.s, can also be very loving, too. See: Steve Spurrier, John Reaves, Kerwin Bell, Shane Matthews, Danny ‘Wonderfu’l, Rex Grossman, Timmy Tebow. My point is made. GO GATORS!

  2. A lot of this comes from the Will grief thing..but remember this. Bear Bryant benched Ken stabler after a suspension. He didn’t do it nicely either. But stabler didn’t quit. And later on that toughness got him into the hall of fame. So what franks isn’t Will grief at the moment. He didn’t quit when he got benched. He may not make the Hof but he deserves respect.

    • Mveal. Franks really got screwed for two years as he redshirted one. Her may never be great just as CDM says he’s like a freshman QB. If he was a great with natural talent he would have been much better last year. That is not the case. I’ve seen some flashes of talent. With the coaching he and the whole team are getting I’m hopeful and more upbeat than I’ve been in oh say 8+ years.

  3. Amen, mveal! Franks may not be the starter his entire career at U.F., who knows, Emory Jones may end up taking the #1 spot one day. Only they can make themselves better, by learning from their coaches and doing it when it matters most, in the games. And ”respect” is earned, not given. And you’re so right, mveal, that Franks has NOT QUIT. And that deserves our respect. Will Grier, whatever anyone thinks of him now, bolted on his team and us Gator fans. And some of Gator fans won’t EVER forget that history in Gator Q.B. folklore.

    • Not sure Grier ‘bolted.’ That was McElwain’s spin. We’ve not heard the entire story, but I think that had the situation been handled with a bit of finesse, Will Grier would still be a Gator. No matter, he’s gone and Franks is apparently the best we can field. For now.

      • Grier told his side of the story and McEllwain told him it might be better if you moved on, he didn’t want him at Florida. He left him no choice. Grier made a mistake but McEllwain did not want to give him a second chance. It’s great to see Grier have the last word! McEllwain fired and Will a candidate for Heisman, that’s

    • Yea i disagree with that, Grier was told he had no chance of starting. why should he stay and ruin his chances of a NFL career just to satisfy some fans. Why should he have sacrificed his life to please some fans. I was glad he chose to do the smart thing and go where he had the best chance at life!

      • Who knows what that idiot Mac actually told him, but from all accounts I’ve heard MacTard is the reason he’s tearing it up at WVA right now. Just one more reason to thank all things righteous that he’s busy screwing up Michigan’s receiving corps right now and not still here continuing his destruction of Gator football.

        • That’s what I recall too, Jasper, the Grier and his father wanted that assurance, and Mac couldn’t guarantee it. I don’t think that was wrong of Mac — there’s plenty of things to bust his chops over, but that’s not one of them.

  4. The QB’s who needed the toughest skin of all played for Spurrier. Even Danny Wuerful, probably the most cerebral of any Gator QB was not immune from a tongue lashing by the Old Ball Coach. He benched , reinserted, and benched again more QB’s than you could keep track of. Just ask Terry Johnson, Doug Johnson
    or Jesse Palmer. Franks has wonderful physical talent, but has yet to develop a “feel” for the game that every QB needs to be successful. With patience, he may get there, but I sure hope he doesn’t end up another Jamarcus Russel; all size and arm, no feel.

    • Marshall. I bet Trask is not showing that he is not better at that in practice, as well as all the other aspects of playing QB in Mullen’s offensive scheme, or he would be starting QB right now. Or at least playing more than he is. And you do play on Saturdays under Mullen based on what you do first in practice during the week leading up to a game, and then he evaluates players and tells them what they need to improve on based on what they do in games. I would imagine that, if a player is improving on both fields, that player will start and play more over another player. So, that would be Franks over Trask right now. And Jones.

      • Don’t agree with that Tampa Gator, mullen himself said they were the same all three his word’s check for yourself, the only reason he’s starting is because of the starts he had under Mac, still can’t see any improvement, makes a good play play then regress back, lets see if he gives them the best chance to win this coming saturday in knoxville.

          • Well I was going to disagree with your other comment based on the very quote you used. Mullen labored over who to pick and gave his final reason based on his big arm, ignoring that Trask is more accurate and makes better decisions. This isnt the 1st time weve seen a coach enamored over a big arm with a QB that just doesnt have the “feel”. Weve seen this before in the last 10 years. Once a coach makes that “decision” they just dont want to give up on it, that is a standard psychological trait of most humans. I keep going back to that spring game 2 years ago when Trask had the opportunity to run the same offense against the same defense that Franks had been all game, Trask drove right down and scored when all game Franks couldnt move the offense at all. trask is a better manager, more accurate, better decisions. But hey, mullen isnt going to change so this is all academic!

          • Fair enough Daz….. but never say never, Mullen might change his decision at some point. I think he alluded to that with reference to “long leash” — although true that you have to read between the line for that.

    • The backup qb is often the favorite player on the team. This will probably never change. But I strongly suspect that the only reason a number of Gator fans think Trask is the answer is because he isn’t the starter. If he had been the starting qb in the last three games, there is a high likelihood that many would be calling for him to be benched. I say this because there can be absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Mullen would be starting Trask if he saw evidence that doing so would improve the Gators’ chances of winning. He knows qb play, so I trust his judgment far more than that of any fan, or all of the fans together. It’s clear that he doesn’t care what any of us think about who should be qb, so if we support the Gators, we should support their qb and root for him to do well.

      • This is exactly right. It reminds me a lot of 2016 after Del Rio got hurt and Appleby was struggling, everyone was screaming for Mac to pull Franks’ redshirt cause he’s a beast and is going to be better than everyone and should’ve been starting all along. Kind’ve funny looking back on it now after watching him not wind up being anything near what everyone claimed he was before starting a game and now seeing it happening all over again. What’s going to happen if Trask gets put in and is worse than Franks? Do the fans start screaming how great Jones is and needs to play now even though he’s clearly not ready? It really is a joke how some fans truly believe Trask is the better QB and Mullen is too stupid/stubborn to play him. It’s crazy!!

    • Nevertheless, Marshall — practice is one thing and the real pressures of a game is another, so it’s indeed fair to ask if they’re similar or different in that particular mode. I suspect a lot of people would like to know for sure, and that’s not to question Coach Mullen in the least. Long season though, so you never know.

      • Ask any football coach. A player consistently and repeatedly does things in games that the player consistently and repeatedly does in practice. Not a football theory. A proven football fact. Any coach will not be a coach of a team very long who does not comprehend and implement that fact into roster management. And a player will not start or play much as desired (see Adarius Lemons) if that player does not process that fact into that player’s daily practice routine and effort. Simple as that.

          • And LT. No QB prepared more before practice and games or worked harder in practice than Danny. I know that for a fact. And it is why he won a Heisman as a QB and Florida won a NC with him at QB.

          • Of course, this will soon get into a question of how many angels can fit on the head of a pin, but to address the difference is terms of absolutes is somewhat misleading. Practice is an approximation in gradients, simulated as best can within acceptable risk parameters, but it is not the same as a real game anymore than combat simulations are the same as actual combat. The variance can be little, or it can be profound.

          • Yes, I am saying Franks is making improvement in both practices and in games. And the stats so far this year back me up. Now, the proof of the pudding is to come in the upcoming SEC games vs. Tennessee, Mississippi State, and LSU. It is time for Franks to step it up to a higher level, both in practices leading up to and in those games. If he does not do that, I expect Trask or Jones will get an opportunity. But Mullen is not giving up on Franks and sees both growth and potential. But potential, as we all know, is not always realized no matter how much faith a head coach puts in such a QB. The clock is ticking and we share soon find out if Franks does reach the potential that Mullen and others see in him.

        • Wasnt true of Tebow, he was a terrible practice QB and he wasnt the 1st QB Ive seen that was that way. Every one transforms under pressure, most play worse but guys like Tebow actually get better! So many QB’s cant accurately be judged until they are in a game atmosphere. Thats when the little things they do keep a drive alive and end up showing they are a much better game manager!

          • daz. Ask Meyer. Ask Mullen. Tebow was the hardest working player in practice and in the film room on the Florida roster during his time in Gainesville. He worked hard at his craft in practice, ever time. No idea where you came up with that one. He was even that way during his short time in the pros.

  5. I like the things Mullen says. He’s honest and too the point and actually addresses things I’m thinking about unlike McElShame. Franks does make decisions slowly at times and he does miss seeing open receivers etc. Is this an intelligence issue? I don’t know? It’s only his 3rd game in the system. We are improving slowly but surely except on special teams which has been lights out improvement. Is Mullen a HOF coach? Who knows but he is a good one and I’m glad we got him as ours! Go Gators!!!

    • I don’t imagine it’s an IQ problem at all, Steve — some of the dumbest people in the world turn out to be good quarterbacks! Seriously though, I think it’s just a human difference in sensation–>perception–>reactivity. Don’t know if that can be taught or not in football, but a lot of air crew gunners have learned it over the years.

    • Steve. Why would you even think it could be an intelligence issue? Have you even spoken to Franks? I have, and he is a very literate and bright young man It is more of a football skill development issue, which comes more innately and quickly to some than it does to others (which has nothing to do with intelligence). And to some, it never innately comes to them enough to excel at the QB position on the college level, or the pro level for that matter. For example, is Tom Brady more intelligent than Matt Ryan? I think not. And Aaron Rodgers certainly isn’t. But both Brady and Rodgers are far more innately better and developed QBs than Ryan is on the NFL level. Time will determine if Franks develops innately enough to excel at QB for the Florida Gators and in the SEC. But I would imagine Franks will graduate with a high GPA and have a great career, be it on or off the football field. He is that kind of young man.

      • Tampa Gator. I never said it was. Like Mullen said he doesn’t make quick decisions at times and he does miss seeing open receivers too but like I said it’s only his third game and his is improving which is all you can ask. That being said he doesn’t seem like the brightest tool in the shed and I quite frankly ( no pun intended ) will not miss the Franks era and look forward to other QB’s at Florida! I hope I’m wrong!

        • Steve. You have no clue who or what Franks is. And he is smart enough to be a UF student and the starting QB of a Power 5 and SEC conference team. I would say that requires one to be very bright in that “shed”. And he has the type of character that is highly admired by his teammates. That makes him even brighter in my book.

          • TampaGator. Again, didn’t say he wasn’t bright just not the brightest and now I’ll say I think his intelligence is a factor in his not making quick reads sometimes and I could care less if you agree or not. That’s my opinion! I’m sure his character is fine and that’s he’s a fine young man! You seem to be in love with him! What’s that all about?

      • Steve is just throwing something out there for discussion as this what these posts are for. You don’t have to a genius to play QB but it is one of the most cerebral positions in football and definitely helps. He does make slow decisions at times which is a sign he’s not processing things well so maybe he’s not Mr intelligence or it could be he needs experience or both. It’s an interesting point to me!

        • John. I totally disagree with you. This is not a forum to question a person’s intelligence. But Franks intelligence is plenty high enough. And his character is even higher. His skills as a QB still need to become more innate, however, and that has nothing to do with intelligence or character.

          • I’m not questioning his intelligence just saying it’s an interesting point and could be a factor! Please don’t put words in my mouth!

      • I think we can certainly say Payton Manning is very intelligent and it certainly helped him be successful and I think Drew Brees is also and although Franks is well spoken maybe it is a factor. Making those reads does have an innate intelligence factor to it I think but with experience he’ll get better. He’s our guy so we have to support him and like Steve said it’s only his 3rd game in the system.

        • Frank. There are tons of former college football QBs who were very bright but who did not have the innate skills required to play QB in the NFL. And there are tons of former highly recruited QBs who were very bright and who did not make it in college because they did not have the innate skills to play QB at a high level in college. Not playing innately and well as a QB in football does not correspond directly to a lack of innate intelligence. If innate skills as a QB were directly related to innate intelligence, then there would be a lot more QBs in the NFL Hall of Fame and Terry Bradshaw would not be in the NFL Hall of Fame.

          • Tampa Gator! I have no idea what you just wrote! I actually meant cerebral intelligence which means it will take Franks longer to develop at a position like QB but that doesn’t mean he can’t or won’t. He obviously has incredible athletic skills and is a fine young man.

          • Frank. Making football reads as a QB is an innate physical (born with it) skill and is not a product of innate intelligence (cognitive development a person is born with). It is why Terry Bradshaw is in the NFL HOF and not a cook in a Waffle House right now. And the lack of that innate physical skill makes it difficult for QBs like Franks, who has all-American arm throwing skills, to reach top tier performance, even though he is a bright your man, mentally. That innate skill as a QB is not easily overcome, if it can fully be. And that lack of that innate skill as a QB is what will likely keep Franks from developing into a great QB in the future. But he can become a good and effective SEC QB through repetition in practices and through in-game experiences. I hope that clears things up for you.

        • Frank, I think the problem centers around the improper use of the term, “innate”. One could make the case that Franks is indeed playing to his innate level, with his “developed” level yet to be determined. As far as intelligence, I think we all agree that is not a factor here, whether or not we’re talking about “G” (general) or “g” (specific). Primates, humans of course included, vary in terms of ability to (a) scan in the environment across various modalities such as sight, touch, hearing etc (sensation), (b) process those sensations instinctively and cognitively (perception), and (c) respond to such appropriately (reactivity and latency). High native or acquired intellect may at times enhance one of those processes, but not significantly as it is at its most basic level a physiological process.

          I don’t know where Frank’s latencies fall in terms of mean, standard deviation, etc, or where he falls in a relative distribution of quarterbacks, but I suspect that Dan Mullen feels it can be developed to a higher level regardless. He’s the only one in a position to know that, so what the hell. Maybe he’s right, maybe not — guess we’ll find out. Dan F discussed it earlier in terms of QB “feel”, assuming proper mechanics….that seems to me to be the best way to look at it so far. I’m in favor of whatever the coach sees.

          • Gator 6. Or maybe it is just applying the adjective to the incorrect noun because of not comprehending the basic point.

            i.e. innate intelligence vs. innate skill.

            i.e. Tom Brady has both innate high intelligence (IQ if we may) and innate physical skill as a QB, and Terry Bradshaw had innate physical skill as a QB and was and is a little short of the other.
            Both were great college and NFL QBs. But Bradshaw most likely would have become a cook without his innate physical skill as a QB and Brady would likely be a Wall Street millionaire without his innate physical skill as a QB.

            But the point was, Franks lack of development has nothing to do with his innate intelligence and more to do with his lack of an innate skill set to play the QB position in football. That lack of innate physical skill will limit him as a college or pro QB, but he can work hard to overcome it and be successful in college. It will be far more difficult for him to be successful in the NFL without that innate skill set a QB has to have to perform at a high level in the NFL. (see Aaron Rodgers as the best example of the highest level of innate physical skills as a QB).

          • I’m not following, but it’s getting repetitious now. Think I’ll just go with Mullen’s decision, continue to entertain other ideas, and see what happens.

            Dan F — you absolutely nailed this discussion when you used the word, “feel” earlier.

  6. So tired of these Gator fans who trash this kid. Most of them are kids themselves, mostly “what have you done for me lately” millennials who demand instant satisfaction with everything.

    First three games under Mac last year, 48 offensive points, 2 TD passes by Franks. This year in the first three games, 121 offensive points, 10 TD passes by Franks, his entire total of TD passes from last year, and he’s only actually played in 9 quarters, not 12.

    He’s improving, so to those detractors, shut up and let it go.

    Yesterday, it took the first quarter to shake off the “UK blues” but this team emotionally rebounded and shook off the doldrums to wake up and generate a lot of scores. The Special teams could end up being a huge factor for our team this year.

      • I don’t know what you’re reading in these comments, but I see plenty of trashing going on. I’m not inclined to tell people to shut up, however. On the other hand, it is amazing to see how many coaching geniuses there are. Makes me wonder why they aren’t coaching the Gators and making the big salaries instead of Mullen.

      • I agree with you Dave, and it isnt “ironic” at all that you repeated Todds comment back to him to shutup. You didnt initiate the attack you were just throwing his words back in his face since he shouldnt be telling anyone else her to not express themselves, which is their right. I shouldnt have had to explain that as it is just common sense.

      • I knew I would get flak for acting like a baby also and saying shut up too. I apologize for that! Obviously, what I said after that I meant. People have a right to express their opinion as that’s the essence of what this is all about here and that doesn’t mean they are “trashing” anyone.

        • Maybe we all should remember that there are strong opinions on either side of an issue, and that we are all Gators at the end of the day? Sometimes opinions are just fine until they’re not, which is when they somehow clash with someone’s personal agenda. One of the great things about this forum has to do with the open comms back and forth, ’nuff said.

  7. With all the special team scores the defense was on the field a lot Brad Stewart looks like he is getting better but trey dean i know he is a true freshman that guy is awful can’t keep his hands off receivers easy calls for the refs to make.

    If there is a must win game all season it is this week against ten-ner with miss st. and the coon-asses coming the next 2 games after ten- ner this game is a must win

        • I don’t either Dan, but I went to school with a lot of ’em down in Natchitoches for two years or so, and I’ll tell you personally that you never met a finer bunch of folks. Not that I understood a thing they said, but man were they ever good guys. Ogeron played at the same school, pretty sure he’s one of ’em — maybe why I’ve always had a soft spot for the guy.

          • Had a neighbor in Texas from Loosianna; god guy; said that most were named Thibideau!!!!!! I do love all of our cultures around this country.

    • Paul. Trey Dean is an exceptionally talented and skilled defensive back and will become a star corner in the SEC for the Gators. But he is a freshman and is being forced to learn on the field. And he will. He was playing against one of the best WRs in the country on Saturday and I thought he played exceptionally well against him, and especially since Williams is very experienced and Dean was starting only his second game as a true freshman. And all DBs use their hands, and holding is not always a bad thing if you are a DB. It sometimes prevents a much bigger gain or a TD reception.

  8. Here are Franks’ stats this year vs. last year.

    Yards per completion: 7.4 this year over 6.3 last year.
    Average yards per all attempts: 8.6 this year over 5.5 last year.
    PTD/PG: 3.0 this year vs. .82 last year.
    INT rate: .67 this year and .82 last year.
    QB rating: 113.3 last year and 148.8 this year.

    The only stat that shows no improvement is his accuracy rate, which has fallen from 54.6 to 53.2. But, when you consider that Franks rarely threw the ball more than 10 yards down the field last year and often throws the ball much further down the field this year, you could argue that Franks is more developed as a passer but with need for improvement with down the field accuracy. And I also know from watching replays that Franks has had multiple drops of extremely well-thrown passes this year, including Lewis on a fade to the flag on Saturday that should have been a TD and Scarlett coming out of the backfield on the first series of the game Saturday that would have gone for a first down on third down and for big yards on that play if Scarlett had not turned into a puddle of Jello on that pass attempt. And I can tell you this, no SEC QB throws that fade to the flag or the deep ball for the TD to Jefferson better than Franks did on those two throws. Simply stated, the two aspects of playing QB that Franks needs to make improvement is making progression reads faster and better (because there are wide open, non-primary check down receivers almost on every play in Mullen’s offense) and improving the consistency of his delivery form. His INT down the middle vs. CSU was a late delivery due to Franks setting up too slowly and therefore making a late, but accurate read, that should have been a completion for a big gain or TD to Hammond. He is still slow in his set ups and often is hesitate to deliver the ball quickly to an open primary receiver (especially wide open RBs in the end zone) and still does not see the ball well when his primary receiver is not open. But I have noticed that Franks is now keeping his head up (he hardly ever did last year) when his first progression read is not open. But he is still not moving his eyes and seeing the field well after that. Things he needs to continue to work on in practice and in games. But Franks is clearly improving and getting better in many aspects of his game. I just hope he accelerates his development so the Gators will have a chance vs. better SEC competition. And his performance vs. Tennessee, MSU, and LSU in upcoming games will surely decide his future as starting QB for Florida and in the SEC. The clock is now ticking. Time for Franks to make a bigger step up and lead the Gators back up the SEC ladder.

      • Brett. No one is saying Franks does not need to improve. He does. Probably a lot. Mullen is saying that as well. But some people are saying he lacks the intelligence to pay the position. Absolutely not true. He is lacking in physical skill development as a QB and only repetition in practices and in-game experience will help him get better as a QB. And he is getting better, and the data supports that fact. No spin to it. But how much better can Franks get is the question in hand because of his lack of innate physical skill as a QB. That innate skill certain QBs have to quickly set up in the pocket and avoid the rush while still seeing the entire field in the process (Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and even the new Alabama QB this year). We will see if Franks can overcome not having that innate skill and become a decent to good SEC QB. He is becoming more decent, but he is not good yet. But he is much better than he was last year for sure.

        • But Tampa, that innate skill is not physical, it is mental. There are different types of intelligence. A person with a genius IQ and a PHD in physics is probably not going to have the type of quick thinking intelligence required to do the things you mention- like seeing the entire field and avoiding the rush, and making a good decision very quickly under those circumstances. So you can be a very smart person but be a QB idiot. That is the intelligence that they are talking about. When you have a wide open guy right in front of you, in the place he is supposed to be by play design, yet you decide to throw a more difficult pass into double coverage, then that displays a certain lack of football smarts. However, like most things, that can improve just as much as physical skills can improve. Hopefully he is capable of truly learning from his mistakes and get smarter in that category. On the other hand, lots of guys don’t. We have all seen the supposed future stars come and go simply because they lacked that type of football intelligence and were never really able to pick it up at that level, only to be out-shined by a guy with a weaker arm. I still have hope in Franks though, as least to be an OK QB. You have to give the guy a break for what he went through last year.

    • Vulcan. He got one 15-yard penalty for not appreciating the opposing player forcing his knee into his ribs. I would have received the same penalty, or worse. The ref should have seen that, but he did not. If you know Franks, it takes a lot for him to “run his mouth” at anyone. He is an exceptionally likable and nice person.

    • The first of the two 15-yard penalties was not for running his mouth. It was for going over to the stands and high-fiving some of the fans after he had scored a touchdown. Perhaps the NCAA has a rule against this, but if so it’s a pretty bad rule.

  9. QB’s get all the credit when a team is good and all the blame when it is not. That is just how it is and how fans will ultimately judge Franks. I think he gives a 110% relentless effort as Mullen asks for which is a major issue with some of the kids on the team. I’m fine with Franks leading the team as long as he shows the improvement that Mullen is talking about. GO GATORS! I think we have a good chance this year to beat FSU but it’s still early. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  10. I’m all for giving a guy time and being positive for him but some people on here just aren’t being honest with themselves. Franks is NOT playing well at all. And yesterday was a chance to put up big numbers against a weak opponent and he couldn’t do it. The O line needs to play better but the honest truth is that Franks totally doesn’t see open receivers. On TV, you only see part of the field and rarely does the announcers go back and show open receivers that don’t get the ball thrown to them. When you watch this guy play in person where you can see the entire field at all times, there are open receivers everywhere that he isn’t getting the ball to. His qbr yesterday was 23. That abysmal especially against a team like CSU. His completion percentage is below 50% against fbs opponents and that’s even with Mullen dumbing things down for him to begin with. The competition is about to ramp up and it isn’t going to be pretty. That’s just being honest. Brace yourselves.

    • After missing on his first six throws, Franks went 8 for 9, for an overall completion percentage of just over 50%. His percentage for the year is 53%. This is not a particularly good percentage, but it is higher than you state. I’m not sure where you found the stat about qbr for this game, but the SEC lists his season qbr as 148.81 ( He is, of course, sometimes missing open receivers (though I’m not sure that fans always see enough to know for certain that a receiver is covered), but no one is claiming he is perfect. The question is whether he is improving and whether any of the other options would be better. Mullen says yes to the first and no to the second. His opinion is the one that will determine who plays. Gator fans have to hope he is right.

      • All true, and of course once you get beyond who we think LT is, some truth there as well. Thing is, Dan Mullen wants him as the starter and for me, regardless of how I feel about Trask, is good enough. I’ve got a hunch Mullen is a lot smarter than we may think.

      • Sometimes missing open recievers?, hey Frank lovers i don’t dislike the guy, don’t even no him just reminds me of wayne peace if anyone remembers him, the guy(Franks) just does not have it Imho, Fred Johnson missed a block on a kentucky lineman Franks still had time to wind up like a baseball pitcher and hit one of his recievers over the middle for a score, yes he should have yelled at the guy but he should have completed that pass also then the hit wouldn’t have hurt so much mullens the coach and I know he wouldn’t listen to any of us still believe Franks is not the guy

    • Tell me ’bout it LT, but his completion percentage would have been higher if several decent throws had been caught instead of dropped in the first half. But there’s a lot more hay to be made if he quit overlooking wide-open targets. And let’s hope he learns how to better get the offense running in a rhythm. That’s a big deal in itself against better SEC defenses.

    • Man, I don’t know. Sounds like it sometimes, other times very reasonable. The leader of the pack who says he is, is quite certain to the extent of case closed. Of course, LT could clear it up in a heartbeat, but I guess he’s enjoying all the ambiguity? Thing is, Prairie, we’ve all got other more important things on our plates right now than to be flushing out a troll, alleged or not. Like, for instance, Knoxville next Saturday!

  11. I understand people are done with Franks I get it sometimes he looks like he reverts back to last years Franks.

    But in Franks defense Mullen is really high on him to give him as much lead way as he seems to have and Mullen also knows how that this O-Line is bad ( I’m sorry a work in process hopefully very hard work in process trying to be nice) but he has look better than last year makes checks see the field a little better he is making progress and that is what I want to see hopefully every week they will keep improving this is going to a the least a 2 year process it is going to take longer then we all thought it would take.

    I trust this staff ( except for Grantham since the choke sign game when he was at Georgia to our kicker no less I just have not liked him since) but he is a gator now so trying my best but back to the trust I have with Mullen is much more then I had with mac and nuss. As long as we improve from game one to game 12 that is all want to see is the improvement if that is the case and we are 6 and 6 or 7 and 5 I’ll be happy

  12. Mullen has to go with the best talent he has and going all in with Franks speaks volumes. Come on knowledgeable Gators fans… we know where this is heading. If the schedule was all CSU cupcakes than ok… but real teams await. Sorry but Franks has shown all he’s got. Hail Mary against Tennessee last year is the highlight. Hope I’m wrong.

  13. Gator 67,
    Franks has shown no ability to be cool, calm, collected under real pressure– the key trait of leadership. Do you think this can be taught at this level? Maybe. I hope I’m wrong but all evidence points otherwise. More worrisome is Mullen believes he has no one better to put under center.

  14. 67, QBR is an ESPN rating of total QB performance. LT is right about Franks’ QBR for yesterday’s game. Check the box score on Passer rating, the number you’re citing, is a different animal. It only takes passing stats into consideration. Of course, ESPN claims QBR is a more accurate assessment of overall QB performance. I think it maxes out at 100, so 23 isn’t very good. The UK QB, Terry Wilson, had a QBR of 9.3 against Central Michigan, which led me to believe he couldn’t lead the Cats to a win over UF. Unfortunately, his QBR against UF was 86.4 compared to 48.2 for Franks.

  15. Chris Doering had an interesting view of Franks and what his ongoing issues as a QB are. He said Franks does not anticipate well and throws too late to receivers as a result. After reading his comments, I reflected on the down the middle pass attempt to Hammond that was easily intercepted. I went back and looked at the play. After the ball was snapped to Franks, he quickly looked for the deep pass down the right sideline and then quickly checked down (a very good thing) and Hammond was just breaking open. Instead of trusting what he was immediately seeing and hit Hammond open and in stride, Franks hesitated and double pumped before deciding, way too late, to throw the ball to what seemed to be a still wide open Hammond. But, by that time, the DB had recovered and saw Franks staring down Hammond and broke over to easily intercept the ball. If Franks had immediately released the ball based on what he was immediately seeing (that innate instinct really good QBs have) instead of doubting what he saw, Gator Nation would have been up and roaring instead of groaning on that play. Innate awareness of situational football and a quick and accurate response is something Franks rarely exhibits as a college QB and is keeping him from being a good SEC QB. Not sure he will ever be a great QB because of this issue. Time will tell. But he has to get better at this if the Gators are going to have a chance against upcoming SEC competition.

    • After reading all these posts, finally Tampa gives a fair assessment. Man you get defensive. Of course it came from Doering, but appreciate the re-posting. I’ll repeat my previous sentiments like many others, that 1. Franks does seem to still have the same “issues”, that may not be fixable (hope I’m wrong). 2. Mullen does seem to be enamored by the big arm and athleticism, felt peer pressure to go with him (i.e. his QB coach, teammates, Trask being a High School 2nd stringer), 3. once Mullen made a decision, he is very stubborn to not to want to look like he made the wrong initial call, so is sticking with. 4. Trask has performed better in game situations (O&B game), and would have started last year mid-season if not injured. Lastly, there is definitely a difference between practice and game time performance for certain players. Which is why so many coaches switch QBs during games, like Spurrier, Saban, etc. Other coaches adhere to the show it in practice, and stick with same guy. Apparently Mullen is the latter. Just hope he stays flexible enough to give Trask a shot if Frank’s issues continue. Would love to see Trask given one quarter. Just one. Then I’d shut up.

  16. Geez, I thought the guys who post on Swamp247 were ruthless. Regardless of what you think of the kid he’s obviously Mullen’s choice so we all might as well cheer for the guy and hope he does well. Until Mullen plays another quarterback we should all support this one because it’s the only one we have. Go Gators!

  17. I dont think anyone on here doesnt support Franks. We all want him to succeed because if he doesn’t we LOSE! Expressing what his faults are and attempting to explain them shouldnt be viewed as not supporting him, just frustration!

  18. In case you don’t remember, in 2011, a coach named Muschchamp had a QB “problem”. Who will be #1, Jeff Driskel or Jacoby Bassett? Champ said he will give each an equal chance and each will play a complete quarter, yet Driskel ended up playing almost the entire half and Bassett never got another shot and eventually transferred to NC St and performed well. Champ said at the time he will go with the QB that gives the Gators the best chance to win. Sound familiar? Champ stubbornly stuck with Driskel and we all know how that worked out. Hey, coaches don’t always make the right decisions, duh, so let’s see what plays out in the next couple of games before taking a rigid stance.

  19. When Lt. Dan was hired to replace Mac we all knew it would take him time to get this engine hitting on all cylinders. All one has to do is take a good look at MSU to see what he can do for our program. Florida is a much more fertile recruiting ground, so it looks great for the future. That said, it can’t be stressed enough that our guys are in a new system, and only three games into the season. Coach sees something in Franks, and I’m willing to admit that he knows his business far better than I do. I like the kid, and he has a huge upside. Remember these young men are the ones getting banged around each week, then sweating in the off-season. I hope we are willing to take the heat with our team in the short term in order to reap the benefits down the road. It may seem like a long haul, but eventually hindsight will be the perspective from which we view the reality of a team that has taken its lumps and earned a loftier position. It’s gonna happen folks… just hide and watch!