Notebook: Florida offense developing along with Franks

Florida linemen block for quarterback Feleipe Franks during the Sept. 15 against Colorado State at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. [Cyndi Chambers/Correspondent]

Even though he has shown improvement from game to game, Feleipe Franks probably still has his doubters out there. But it might be hard to find any among his teammates, based on the positive comments that have been made dating back to camp and throughout the early part of the season.

The latest pro-Franks comments come from junior wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland.

“I feel like he’s playing faster, he’s playing with more confidence,” Cleveland said of Franks. “That’s the big thing, he’s playing with a lot of confidence. And when he plays with confidence, nobody can stop him. He plays with confidence, he’s the best quarterback in the SEC.”

Cleveland said he’s seen tremendous growth in Franks, and that the team is growing with him.

“Oh he’s grown tremendously,” Cleveland said. “Just him being able to pick up Coach Mullen’s offense very fast, very quick. And being a leader, he’s being more of a leader on the team. He’s just telling us to keep working, keep fighting and get open, and just trust him. And that’s key, trusting him.

“He’s bringing us along. The team’s got his back at all

times. When he makes a bad play, we’re all there patting him on the

back telling him to move onto the next play. So, we all rally around

him, because he’s the leader. He’s the engine to the car.”

O-line developing

Franks isn’t the only one on offense starting to show some improvement from game to game. The same can be said of the offensive line, which had its best game of the season against the Vols.

The Gators rushed for 201 yards and Franks had enough time to throw for 172 yards and three touchdowns.

“Yeah, we did (take a step forward), we got a little better,” offensive line coach John Hevesy said. “You see it. There’s a play at the end of the game with Pierce’s (touchdown) run, the run Jordan (Scarlett) had (for a TD) on the first play of the second half. Two as clean executed plays as you’ll see. Even the (65-yard TD pass) to Freddie Swain. Things broke down, but we did our job, six seconds, eight seconds, whatever it needed to be to protect and get it out, throw the ball, score a touchdown.

“So, it comes down to us executing what we’re supposed to do. Two of the most well-executed plays we’ve had. And when you see that and go, ‘Hey, when we do our job and execute, it doesn’t matter what they do. We do our job and execute to perfection we’re going to have success doing it.’ “

Raymond’s special moment

Senior tight end/fullback R.J. Raymond’s first college touchdown is one he’ll never forget. It was a touchdown pass against Tennessee on Saturday night in the same end zone near where his parents were sitting.

“Oh man, when we had that play called and I was sitting there, of course I was nervous,” he said. “Everyone is going to be nervous their first time the play is designed for you. But it felt great finally getting my first reception, especially in one of my least favorite places and making those 102,000 fans be quiet.

“That was just an unreal feeling. And my parents were sitting right up there in the corner. I saw them right after I caught it, and that was a pretty surreal moment.”

Hearing from Horschel

PGA Tour star and former Gator golfer Billy Horschel addressed the team at Tuesday’s practice.

Football players might have a hard time relating to a golfer, but not to the message Horschel delivered.

“Basically you have to go out every day and be ready to prepare at a high level, don’t take practice for granted,” running back Jordan Scarlett said. “He said it’s really important and gotten him to where he is now. So every day at practice just give it our all. That’s basically what Coach Mullen has been preaching the whole time.”


  1. Dr. Mullen is leading this Entourage like a well oiled machine that we knew he would. 9-3 maybe even 10 and 2. Is the direction these group of young men are headed. Student Felipe Elway Frank’s is now being mentioned in the same breath as the Hawaii 5 O phenom from Alabama. With his 12 passing touchdowns already. Hold onto your hat Gator fans Lsu in the Swamp next week will reach new heights in relation to Crowd Noise.

    • If we beat LSU and Miss St. I could see 10-2 or 9-3. UGA game is going to be very tough to win. They are playing on a different level than anyone else in East now. Way more talent to boot. I’m actually feeling better about Miss St game now that UK seems to be playing at a level much higher than most thought possible.

      • Mississippi State has probably the best defensive line in the country. Kentucky has the backfield and O line to keep Wilson upright and open holes for Snell. Just don’t see the Gators there quite yet. DM is moving this team along at a great clip, and we can see a brighter future. 7-5 is a gift, and 6-6 more likely. But…..DM is the guy that has certainly injected some much needed energy in this program. My hope is the UAA and the AD do the same for the program.

    • My, aren’t you the optimistic one. And while there’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t see Florida beating MSU on the road after an MSU loss. 10 and 2? Give me a break.

      My Realistic/I hope I’m wrong.

        • Bobby — I think there’s a chance that Albert is being sarcastic. I do agree with you tho on the odds against a 10-2 season, although beating MSU at his point in time is a pretty good bet. I think they have been over-rated thus far by a biased ranking that was way too premature.

      • Its still early to know how good each team really is. I do believe we are good enough to win this game (and will win it). LSU and Georgia and 9 or 10 wins, lets see when the time comes, but I see us having a good chance in every game. Breaks can affect the outcomes, and both teams this week are still adjusting to new coaching staffs.
        I am a Franks supporter, I really am, but I don’t think he is the top qb in the SEC right now, and I don’t think the offense is really going to hum this year, but it will improve imo. Defense and SPecial teams will be the real engine for this program for a while. I like CDM being an offensive coach, as we most years have a good defense….what I’m saying is a defensive coach like champ depends on the offensive assistants, and that is harder to sustain success with. I know everyone will argue about Saban, but I think saban has become a good offensive coach. its been years since he ran a defense; I don’t think any offense at Alabama is going to be anything other than what Saban wants. People will also say Smart is another example, but hes in his third year. he had a good second year, same as champ. lets see what time does to his program.

    • Come on Albert you sound silly comparing Franks to Tua. As silly as the team from Orlando claiming to be national champs. Actually a lot sillier than that.
      I am a Franks doubter. Yes he has improved but man does he have a long ways to go.
      You know who is sillier than you? Tyrie Cleveland. Best QB in the SEC? Come on man, get real, may be the 5th best QB in the East. You can be a fan but also be realistic.

        • Did you compare that once in a decade rare QB’s stats to Franks? Tua has thrown for 1033 yds and 12 tds, while Franks has thrown for 742 yds and 12 TDs. For a once in a decade Qb with the insane amount of talent he has around him, you’d expect his stats to completely dwarf a QB, who 85% of his fan base thinks should be benched in favor of an unproven QB who hasn’t started since middle school.

          • Joe, it could have something to do with the fact that Tua has yet to play in the fourth quarter of any game this season. Whether he’s a generational player or not, he’s a special talent. That said, I’ll take the improvement Franks has shown and hope for more as the season progresses.

        • Some stats are not a fair comparison. Level of competition etc. Completion%, td’s to number of passes, yards per play, and yes qtrs played. If Franks in Tua class? No. Tua has the developed (coaching, teaching as a youth)natural instinct that Franks doesn’t yet have. He will improve but may never get there. And there is Tua’s younger brother some say is better.

      • Maybe so, and I’m certainly not as brilliant as those who might be a so called expert-on-everything on here, but after spring was said and done I did put a lot of thought into an 8-4 season + a decent bowl win. Regrettably, I drank a lot of hype laced Kool Aid later and revised that considerably higher. Having come back now to reality, I’m pretty damn confident in an 8-4 regular season!

        If CDM continues to get player buy-in and if the team continues to show the gumption required, who knows? Go Gators!

        • Keep the faith 6. It’s when no one respects you, you show them who you are. Still feel we are solid 8+. Think maturity is going to get us. Like a win@ MSU lose to LSU don’t know why I still have a gut feeling these guys are better than their stats. My guts been wrong more lately. Could be all the meds I take. Used to be aspirin now a boat load of this will make you feel worse before you feel better.

          • Well, don’t rule out gas, 65! But I have to say, whatever it is, it doesn’t seem to have contaminated your football acumen.

  2. Not looking ahead to LSU but focusing on MSU – a well prepared and talented team developed/coached by our Coach Mullen. The MSU defense knows Coach Mullen’s play book, so the Gators will need to do a few things differently to keep MSU guessing. We will find out whether the Gators can compete at the next level if they can beat MSU at Starkeville. Hoping our special teams can create a few turnovers like they did against the much weaker Volunteers (MSU is definitely a much better team this year than UT). GO GATORS!!!

        • I think you’re misinterpreting what I mean when I say switch up the plan. I don’t mean run a completely different offense. I mean disguise plays by lining up differently, using different signals to call plays etc. I’m sure they’ll recognize basic formations, but it’s not a guarantee they’ll know for sure which play will be run from that formation.

          • No, I got you the first time Joe, and I thought it a damn good point. I didn’t mean the play book either — I was referring to what we call in the Army “the deception plan”. Part of every successful Operations Plan, and I’m just saying if our players are 100% read in and able to execute it — well, it was you saying it, I was just concurring — it should work and work well.

  3. Win or lose, I do see the progress this team is making with this staff. Actually see Frank’s growing and I’ll admit I did not think he was capable after last year. This team is coming together. Just wanna see them play tough on D and continue to get better on offense in this 1st yr. They got a shot to make some noise. Make the Gators great Again! GO Gators!!

  4. Copeland’s been injured all year. Not sure where you’ve been Ricky.
    9-3 or 10-2. That’s definitely more than what we’ve seen so far. Aside from special teams we haven’t seen a single unit of this team that is consistent enough for that yet. Maybe we’ll see more progress this week and next, and there will be some legitimate hope for that type of year, but as it stands right now it was only 18 days ago that we stunk it up against Kentucky (even if they are a playing well).

    • The thing is, the mistakes that were made in that game were easily correctable. If they could’ve just wrapped up and tackled, then I think they win that game. Who knows what would’ve happened had Reese and Jefferson played. This is certainly a much different defense than the one that played against UK.

      • I agree about Reese and Jefferson. It’s fair to believe that they are difference makers, especially Reese because his production is in a whole different level than our other Lb’s. Beyond that I’m not so sure I buy the “easily correctable” theory. Other than Henderson, the back end of the defense hasn’t been great. Other than Reese, nobody has really broken out in terms of the new lb’s. The d line did look so much better against UT, but it’s only 1 game, and honestly, they were a surprise disappointment before that. On offense – well I think we’ve all seen it. Franks improving, but still miles to go. O-line is just reaching passable status. So not surprising that the running game hasn’t been that great. Receivers have dropped quite a few balls. The beneficiary of great field position. — don’t get me wrong, I’m excited about Mullen and where this is all going, but this is our current situation. Go Gators!

  5. Still don’t know if Gators have an offense. I do know that field goals should be reviewable (the Kentucky game, remember the FG that everyone but the refs saw was good. That might have changed the game but thaT’S over now). I keep hearing about “Franks’ improvement, but completing 50 percent of your passes in the SEC is not really improvement. I keep hearing about his running ability. But I haven’t seen it. And for those who think this is a 10-2 team, you need to stop drinking the Kool-Aid and switch back to beer. 8-4 will be acceptable for a first-year coach. Now if Pierce and Toney start getting more touches, the D stays healthy and the O-line, well, if the O-line at least doesn’t get worse, things could be different.

    • Lets see, Wins, CSU,CSU,Tn,MsST,Vandy Idaho, Fsu=7 Possible, Mo,Sc Probably not, LSU, Ga NOT, UK
      So 7-9 wins! We got lucky and got a very easy schedule due to some teams being down. We will know more about SC after sat when they play UK. How Mo plays SC and UK before us will tell how we match up against him. Theres alot of betting for MO so take the points and bet UF for an easy cash-in!

    • Cattrick, if you’re only basing your comparison on completion percentage then you’re right, there’s not much improvement, but you have to consider a hell of a lot more than just one stat. He’s no longer running out of bounds for a 5 yd loss instead of throwing it away. He’s no longer losing his mind and taking sacks the moment his 1st option is covered. He’s clearly going through progressions and hitting secondary options. He’s not throwing multiple interceptions a game. In 4 games he’s thrown for 2 more TDs than he did all of last season, which he also happens to be tied for the lead in the SEC in that category. He’s on pace for 2,300 yds and 36 TDs, which 2 months ago anyone would’ve said you’re crazy if you think he’d have that kind’ve season. He no longer has a deer in the headlights look on his face and is playing with confidence and he’s not solely responsible for losing games like he was a lot last season. All those things considered he’s vastly improved. This type of improvement is what everyone should’ve expected instead of thinking he’d morph into an All SEC QB his first season in a new offense. The guy didn’t come to college with the private QB coaching and great technique most of the top recruits come in with.

        • I agree with both of these comments. All you need to do is watch Franks play. Very obvious and visible improvement. I’m not saying he’s a world beater, but the improvement is crystal clear. A lot of people have now fallen back to “but his ceiling” is low. There is no way to combat that comment because it’s an unknown, but the truth is one of us know what his ceiling is now that he’s on an upward trajectory. If he doesn’t continue on that path, the team is limited. If he does, well…let’s see.

          • Excellent observations all. Gator1. Smith, and Joe — I think to deny his improvement so far is hard to do, let alone default to a vague notion of what his “ceiling” might be. I can’t remember who said it now — been a week or two — but one of our more savvy posters mentioned the concept of “feel for the position”. I think as Franks develops that, the result may indeed be startling. For example, speed of the thrown ball in terms of dropped passes……development of the “softer” ball, as appropriate.

            I’m in this kid’s corner 100%, and I trust Dan Mullen and equal amount…….still, I sure would like to get a little more than a peek at Trask whenever we can!

        • I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve gone back and re-evaluated my positions, cattrick…..sometimes changing my opinion and other times becoming more firm in them. That’s what happens when we have a good exchange of ideas on here, rather than simply lectures from another party or name calling.

  6. All I know is there are a lot of Bandwagon Gator fans out there. Who packed it in after the Kentucky game. Hopefully they went and joined Bama”s fan base. God knows they have enough Bandwagon fans who can’t name five players on their team. It’s embarrassing listening to the Soap Opera of people whining all the time. Support the Gators or go find someone else to root for; all it does is tear down the program. Them playing away from the Swamp for a couple of weeks. Was the best thing that could happen to this team. Getting away from the constant Peyton place nonsense.

  7. Stop whining about our “bad fans”. The only bad Gators fan is a troll and they aren’t Gator fans. Everybody is entitled to their opinion it doesn’t have to be the same as yours. I seriously doubt you’ll see a single Gator posting on this site that doesn’t know 5 players on the team.

    • Agreed Tuna. It is a bit tiresome to have some folks constantly complaining about the bad, negative fans on this site or in Gator Nation. Sure there are a few (and most of them are probably just trolls) but for the most part the fans on this site are knowledgeable and have good discussions. Being “realistic” and calling things as you actually see them does not make you negative or a bad fan. Being a cheerleader and ignoring the bad things does not make you a “good” fan. We should strive to be balanced and positive and discuss what we are seeing. But everyone, other than the Nole Trolls, want to see the Gators win. Go Gators!

  8. Funny thing-anyone else notice that when the OLine protects better and blocks better, Franks looks better.
    This game will be won on D, however. The D needs to stuff the run and make Fitzgerald one dimensional and pass-happy. Then DBU kicks into high gear with the picks. Look for Henderson, Reese and Jefferson to lead the way. The Gator O continues to improve on their technique. The RB’s and Pierce have a big day. Gators 27- 21.

  9. I still see a low ceiling to Franks due to his built-in limitations, and hence a ceiling to the Gator offense with him under center. Still hoping for Trask to get a shot somehow. As far as the overall outlook, I’m definitely in what I consider the “realistic” camp, or even somewhat pessimistic due to my being hyper critical, and would not bet money on UF beating Miss St., unless UF can stay focused after a lopsided win that was largely due to all the TN unforced errors. That said, once kick-off starts, I fully EXPECT the Gators to win, as they hopefully do also… whoever the opponent is.

    • OK, if you’re not willing to bet your money on UF beating MSU, let me hold some of it ’till payday and I’ll bet it for you! 😂

      All kidding aside, keep on posting your opinions….I don’t agree with all of them, but like our pal Rog says, it doesn’t make you a bad Gator. Now, as to the notion of “TN unforced errors”………………….

      • I’m with you on the “unforced errors”, 6, especially if alum84 (also my graduation year) is referring to the turnovers. I’m willing to give him the fumble on the Henderson rundown and tackle on Austin Pope, because that tackle was a dive at the legs that shouldn’t have caused a fumble. On the other hand, it was a great effort on Henderson’s part to save a sure TD. The other turnovers were all great plays by the Gator D and special teams.

  10. Any chance the KY game can be replayed starting at the point where the FG WAS GOOD? Well, I guess bad calls are part of sports but isn’t that what replay is supposed to be about? I need to get over that game. I’ll start by throwing out all my Kentucky bourbon and stick with the Tennessee stuff.

  11. Tua isn’t that great.. All teams hes played have been unranked pretty much.. Let’s see him do that against a LSU or Ga and I’ll be a believer although I hate Alabama and cant even watch a game ever, I’ll be a believer.. go gators

  12. I believe this is a season where we are reserved to just sit back and enjoy watching the team continue to develop, go to our “what ever” bowl and ride that momentum into next season, knowing we appear to be in good hands with Mullen.