Florida Team News

New Florida coach Dan Mullen has some issues he needs to take care of this spring

Dan Mullen begins his first spring practice as Florida’s coach on March 16. As is the case with basically every new coach, there are many more questions than answers regarding the 2018 Gators roster.

The hope is some of those questions will begin to get answered during spring drills.

The Gators kick off spring practice with open-to-the-public workouts on March 16 and 17.

Here are five concerns about the Gators as they prepare for spring practice.

Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback

There is no question that the biggest priority for Florida this spring is to begin to find some clarity in the quarterback situation.

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The Gators return sophomore Feleipe Franks, who threw for 1,438 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions last season; he also showed an ability to pick up yardage on the ground at times, which is vital in Mullen’s offense. Franks made arguably the play of the year for Gators in 2017 when he hit wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland for the game-winning, 63-yard touchdown pass as time expired to beat Tennessee in September. But Franks struggled for most of the season, completing just over 54 percent of his throws and looking overwhelmed at times in Jim McElwain’s offense.

Along with Franks, the Gators also return sophomore Kyle Trask and redshirt freshman Jake Allen. There’s also true freshman Emory Jones, who was a recruiting coup of sorts for Mullen and his staff because he never really considered UF until Mullen arrived. Jones enrolled in January and will go through spring ball. His skill set would seem to be a good match for Mullen’s offense, and his running ability, especially, would seem to set him apart from the other candidates.

While we have seen a recent trend of true freshman quarterbacks contribute right away in the SEC (Jalen Hurts, Jake Bentley, Jake Fromm and Jacob Eason in the past two years), it remains difficult for an 18-year-old to come in and take over the keys to a program. It’s unlikely a concrete decision is made on the starting job during the spring, but it’s imperative that at least two of the participants show an ability to run this offense.

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