The Palm Beach Post - - SPORTS - SEC Coun­try

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.

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