Florida concludes spring practice on Saturday with its annual Orange & Blue Game. First-year coach Dan Mullen will unveil his early work to the masses as the Gators try to put last season’s 4-7 debacle behind them.
There are numerous story lines:
- What will Mullen’s offense look like?
- How deep is the running back position?
- Who will the play-making receivers be?
- Which defenders have emerged under first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham?
All are fascinating and compelling. All also pale in comparison to the real question.
Does Florida finally have a good quarterback?
The top contenders are a pair of redshirt sophomores in Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask. The wild-card is true freshman Emory Jones.
Here’s what I want to see out of each player on Saturday to feel better about Florida heading into fall camp.
FELEIPE FRANKS — MOBILITY
I can give Franks the benefit of the doubt that he was a bad fit in former coach Jim McElwain’s offense. McElwain’s philosophy demands a cerebral quarterback operating in the pocket. Mullen’s is geared more towards a simpler approach utilizing athleticism.
The 6-foot-5, 227-pound Franks seems to fit Mullen’s style better. For Florida’s sake, he better.
Franks played in 11 games last season (starting eight) and was largely dreadful. He threw nine touchdowns with eight interceptions, completing 54.6 percent of his passes. He also ran for 20 yards on 58 carries.
It’s the 20 yards rushing that Mullen will massively upgrade. Franks has running talent. He gained 228 yards on the ground, including a nifty 79-yard run against Texas A&M, but lost 208 yards in sacks.
Franks should be able to rush for 700 yards minimum in Mullen’s scheme if he’s the wire-to-wire starter. I know Franks has an NFL arm and release. I also am not expecting his feel for the passing game to be significantly better than last season. But, I do want to see his ability to tuck the ball and run. He obviously won’t be live, so the rushing yards won’t mean much, but we should get an idea of how effective Franks can be as a runner in Mullen’s system.
KYLE TRASK – FEEL
Trask has not taken a collegiate snap in his first two years in Gainesville. He redshirted and then suffered a season-ending foot injury prior to the season opener.
Trask also didn’t play much in high school, throwing 132 passes in his final two years combined.
Trask has a big arm and enviable size (6-5, 239). That’s why McElwain signed him.
The learning curve couldn’t be steeper for Trask. He’s barely played football in game situations.
I know he can sling it and he’s been billed as a decent runner. Trask needs to show a feel for the game. Can he get the offense in rhythm? Can he go through progressions? Can he get his teammates lined up right if needed?
Those are the qualities Trask needs to show.
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