QB FRANKS READY FOR FRESH START
GAINESVILLE — There has been speculation quarterback Feleipe Franks’ poor performance last season was partly due to the previous coaching staff.
Which begs the question — will Franks bounce back under new coach Dan Mullen? No one will know the answer for a couple years. It all depends on how Franks develops under Mullen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson.
If he wins the starting job this season and puts together a respectable career, that poor performance in 2017 will be an aberration.
It’s difficult to judge Franks or the previous staff based on results from last season. The suspensions to running back Jordan Scarlett and wide receiver Antonio Callaway — along with myriad injuries — crippled the offense and took away help for Florida’s young quarterback.
With a year under his belt to learn the offense, many argue Franks should have been more developed last season as a redshirt freshman. But given his lack of coaching at Wakulla High School — no position coach, no offensive coordinator, no private trainer at the small Panhandle school — it’s tough to put an expectation on where he should be in his progression. His 2017 numbers — 11 games, eight starts, 1,438 passing yards with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions — were average at best, but his learning curve was a lot steeper coming into college than most quarterback recruits of his caliber.
Franks met with reporters Tuesday for the first time since the end of last season, and he sounded a lot like the same guy who stood at the podium after that final loss to Florida State.
“I’m always a positive person. No matter how many people are talking about me, I’ve always kept a smile on my face,” he said. “My game’s only going to go up from here. You know, I hit the all-time low, it’s only going to go up.
“Like I said, it goes back to the people in general not trusting the process. You know they want the results right away. Sometimes it doesn’t always work like that. That’s just me trusting the process, not really caring about what anybody else thinks about me.”
The tone Tuesday was decidedly positive. The excitement Mullen has brought to the program has made it easy for everyone to move on from a 4-7 season, but Franks clearly still carries the scars of that experience.
Franks says he took a little “reflection period” after it was all over, but he only allowed himself a week and a half or so to look backward before “closing the book.”
Franks does get a fresh start in 2018, but it comes in a different offense with a different coaching staff than the one that recruited him to Florida and worked with him through his first two years.
Franks joked he likes the new offense because it’s the offense he’s going to have to embrace, but he does think Mullen’s spread offense is a system in which he can succeed.
“It’s something different than what we had with (former offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier). But at the same time, it really breaks it down toward super simple. It’s easy for the quarterback to understand,” he said. “I think, me personally, I think I can thrive in it.
“Like I said, it’s just the way he does it, the way he breaks it down for us and the way he makes it simple. Things of that sort. It’s really easy for the receivers to start picking up and then especially the quarterbacks and me personally to pick up and know to run with it.”
Franks will compete with early enrollee Emory Jones, a highly touted dual-threat quarterback who chose the Gators over Alabama, FSU and Ohio State. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Trask and redshirt freshman Jake Allen are also in the mix.
Florida QB Feleipe Franks had 1,438 passing yards, nine TDs and eight interceptions in 11 games (eight starts) last season.