By now, Feleipe Franks’ performance in Florida’s season opener has been picked apart and analyzed by people — qualified or not — across the country.
Franks’ three touchdowns coupled with a trio of turnovers suggest a quarterback still in the midst of progressing — although the box score hardly tells the full story, per usual.
With the Gators unable to develop a rushing attack against the Hurricanes, UF’s offensive hopes rested on the arm and legs of Franks. His 63 percent completion percentage, coupled with a 254-yard performance through the air, ensured the Gators didn’t depart Orlando with a season-opening setback.
While there were several impressive aspects outside of Franks’ performance, the Gators are well aware of the need to establish the ground game after registering just 52 yards on 27 attempts — regardless of the yardage.
“It’s what we got to do to win the game. If we get 2 yards and we win the game or we get 400 yards, what we have to do to win the game’s the biggest thing we’re going to do,” said UF offensive line coach John Hevesy. “Did we do what we had to do to win the game? You can take a lot of things to say we can run the ball, but at times where we didn’t have a lot of possessions. We had the one long possession, I think the 12-play possession. Otherwise, turning the ball over doesn’t help the cause.”
After running just 54 offensive plays against the ’Canes, it was clear Florida’s turnovers on running plays proved costly both from a momentum and production standpoint.
The Gators fumbled twice in Miami territory and couldn’t recover either, the first coming early in the second quarter on a run-pass option and the second on the ensuing drive on a pitch to Malik Davis.
In his last Wednesday news conference, UF coach Dan Mullen, perhaps adding insult to injury, acknowledged each play could have resulted in six points for the Gators — and an entirely different fourth quarter, too.
Yet Florida’s primary concerns don’t rest with the fourth-year quarterback and a redshirt sophomore running back, however; with the turnovers unlikely to become a habit, UF’s focus remains on coaching up the relatively inexperienced protection up front.
Plus, with Hevesy in charge, there’s no shortage of improvements to be made.
“I’m never satisfied with anything. But, to me, I think the biggest thing is, just that there were things that they did they got to go back and watch the film and trust that. Go back to your fundamentals and what you do. You don’t need to do something different than we’ve done in practice and what you’ve done to get yourself there and put yourself in a starting role to go out and play,” Hevesy said. “I think part of the little things here and there were just not trusting technique in their first game, that they’ve got to do something different. So, I think the biggest thing for them is now seeing on film, correcting themselves and seeing, you know what, I didn’t need to do that. So, I think that’s just the biggest thing. We’ve got to get better from game one to game two.”
Who: Tennessee-Martin (1-0) vs. Florida (1-0)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium
Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850