If you were watching Florida’s 35-31 comeback win over South Carolina, one that means little besides bowl placement, you probably saw what everyone viewing from home saw: A quarterback fed up with fans not supporting him. If you were at the stadium, you were probably too busy booing UF starting quarterback Feleipe Franks to notice his gesture.
Following his first-half rushing touchdown that knotted the game at 14-14, Franks popped up off the ground, mouthed something angrily and shushed the crowd — only this wasn’t an away game. Yes, Franks was shushing his own fans — the orange and blue faithful — at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, presumably for the all the boos they’ve been giving him over the past two games.
As 247sports’ Thomas Goldkamp noted, it appeared Franks yelled to the crowd, “Shut the f*** up!” just before putting his finger near his mouth.
Yeah, not exactly a great visual. Franks doesn’t might to realize that this is how things work at Florida. If you overthrow receivers, take sacks, make bad decisions and lead your team to consecutive losses, as he did, fans won’t be happy. And when his team was down 14-0 in the first quarter to the Gamecocks, the boo birds let him have it. That’s just how it goes.
“In all kinds of weather” is a nice phrase, but no one actually adheres to it. Fans pay too much money and invest too much time to support a losing team. And the Will Muschamp/Jim McElwain eras didn’t exactly instill a ton of confidence in them. Besides, does Franks expect fans to cheer when the Gators are down two scores?
Clearly the negativity lit a fire under Franks. If so, good! Franks rushed for another score and threw for one as well. Sixty yards on the ground, 161 in the air and zero turnovers was good enough to squeak past South Carolina.
Still, I think hushing his own fans shows Franks has too thin of skin for the spotlight at Florida. And part of Dan Mullen’s job is to prepare him for that, even though Franks was scrutinized last year as well under McElwain.
At least Franks apologized for the shushing, for what it’s worth.
But another example of his thin skin? This response.
Luke Del Rio, a former teammate of Franks, went on to clarify that he thought Florida fans felt that way, not him. But still, why even respond like that if you’re Franks? Either ignore that or just stay off Twitter. I can guarantee you every other SEC quarterback outside of maybe Tua Tagovailoa has been badmouthed on Twitter.
Some fans may say, “booing him does no good, why not support him when he struggles?” Because Gator fans aren’t used to this. They’re used to Tim Tebow and national championships. They expect winning and nothing less. They’re starved for a quarterback who can take them to the College Football Playoff, and if you show any signs you’re not that guy, they have no problem letting you hear it.
Sorry, Feleipe, that’s how it works here. You better get used to it.