JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One of the reasons that Dan Mullen got the head coaching job at Florida is because of his reputation of developing quarterbacks. Alex Smith, Dak Prescott, Tim Tebow and Chris Leak are some of the names that Mullen has worked with leading to his track record as a QB guru.
The Gators opened spring practice last Friday and the No. 1 priority for Mullen is fixing an offense that’s been largely inept since he was last in Gainesville as the Gators offensive coordinator from 2005-08.
It’s hard to win in the SEC without solid play from under center. There is no official depth chart at the moment but on Wednesday, Mullen did provide an update on what he’s seen out of the quarterbacks so far.
“It’s going to take a lot of reps before they get comfortable, but I haven’t seen any confused looks out of any of them yet,” said Mullen. “It’s only been three days and we have another installation tomorrow. Eventually it will catch up to them and they’ll give you that deer in a headlight look. That’s the point where they’re like my brain is maxed out with all the stuff you’re throwing at me.”
Sophomore Feleipe franks is the only quarterback on the roster who’s played in a college game. As a redshirt freshman he was benched twice and completed only 54.6 percent of his passes for 1,438 yards to go along with nine touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Franks said he had a "reflection period" after the 4-7 campaign and called the coaching change "a fresh start."
"Just get a sigh of relief through the building and then to know we have a new start so that we're not dreading on last season," said Franks, who is expected to compete for the job with freshman Emory Jones. "I've never been afraid of competition. It's nothing new to me."
Franks doesn't seem to be an ideal fit in Mullen's spread offense, but he insists he can run if needed.
"If I have to, I can tote that rock," he said. "I think it's just another aspect of coach Mullen's game that I'm going to have to adapt to. I've always been a pocket passer, but I can always adapt if something breaks down or something like that. It's just something I have to adapt to. I've never been afraid to run the ball, and never will be. If I have to, I can put that head down and get rolling."
In addition to Franks and Jones the Gators also have Kyle Trask and Jake Allen on the roster.
“They’re working hard at installation and I like the work ethic that they have,” said Mullen. “They have some arm talent. Watching those guys throw the ball they definitely have some arm talent and an ability to make a lot of different throws, which is fun to coach. You can put some more things in and you can do things around their ability to throw the ball.”