For the first time, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask feels the weight of expectation — however, don’t expect his approach to change. If anything, Florida’s incumbent starter is more comfortable heading into his fifth year with the program and his third in coach Dan Mullen’s system.
“It definitely helps having a lot more experience under my belt and going into my fifth year,” said Trask, “but really nothing’s changing for me. I’m still going to compete every day and try to get better every day, find something new I can work on and just continue to go from there.”
When it comes to Florida’s passing game, there’s plenty of new for Trask to familiarize himself with.
Although the Manvel, Texas, native has clearly established camaraderie with his pass-catching teammates, much of the focus will be replacing the production left in the wake of departing wide receivers Tyrie Cleveland, Josh Hammond, Van Jefferson and Freddie Swain. Factor in the loss of Lamical Perine and the Gators will look to replace five of their top-eight leading receivers from 2019.
No small task, yet one Trask is anticipating.
“Those guys were incredible. They were great leaders, on and off the field. They’ll be missed. But at the same time, it’s next man up. I think these young receivers have done a great job of really just working their tails off. All the quarterbacks have been working a lot with them, just on throwing and timing. We’ll be ready when the time comes,” Trask said. “We’ll just continue to work on our timing. We’ve been throwing a lot off the field, trying to always improve and stay sharp. It’s going to take a lot of hard work from all of us. I think we’ve done a great job of that so far.”
With spring practice set to commence Monday, the time is nigh for fine-tuning said timing. Although the offseason workouts, position-group meetings and last season’s production do factor heavily into Florida’s rotations, the spring offers everyone on the roster an opportunity to ascend on the depth chart and simultaneously further the rapport among passer and receiver.
Capitalizing on said opportunities is another story entirely.
“Coach Mullen’s always done that, ever since we’ve gotten here, especially in the spring. Everyone’s going to get their opportunity,” Trask said. “We just have to take it upon ourselves to compete every day and make sure we just keep getting better.”
Trask knows that starts with himself. Despite throwing for nearly 3,000 yards, Trask knows he can continue improving, particularly when it comes to his mechanics and decision-making.
“The biggest thing for me, now that I kinda have a good gist of the offense,” he said, “I just really want to make sure I’m getting the ball out quick and really focus on making quick decisions, because that’s an important part of my game, and really that’s what Coach Mullen wants to see.”
After such an unexpected yet affirming ascension, it hasn’t been all work for Trask. Many thought he’d never be in this position — others publicly grumbled he should set his sights slightly lower and take advantage of the transfer portal. The seven years of preparation and patience is undoubtedly part of Trask’s story to this point, but the narrative remains unfinished. With high expectations heading into his first camp as the returning starter, Trask remains focused on ensuring the next chapter is just as enthralling and unpredictable.
“When you have that time, I think it’s important to reflect and just kind of take it all in for a little bit. We have done that. We had a great season,” Trask said. “But at this point, it’s a completely new team and we’re just focused on 2020 and how we can get better.”