Florida is out of the running for an SEC title or College Football Playoff berth, but that doesn’t mean the games don’t matter. Head coach Dan Mullen has at least three games to evaluate his three quarterbacks, which will ultimately play into his decision on a starter in 2019.
The contestants looking for the final rose from Mullen: Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones. Each brings a slightly different skill set and ability to the table and each have seen game action this season. So who gets the keys to the convertible next season? Florida’s next game against South Carolina might be an indicator. Feleipe Franks seems to be the answer — even after back-to-back subpar performances — for now.
The Gators tweeted out their official depth chart against the Gamecocks on Monday, and Franks is listed ahead of Trask on it. It’s important to note that Florida did not place an “or” between the two names, which points to Franks getting the start.
Of course, plenty of fans voiced their displeasure with Franks.
This is probably more of Mullen not wanting to tip off Will Muschamp or simply not having his full quarterback game plan than anything. However, Franks will likely start. And if he struggles, he’ll be on a short leash with Trask in the wings.
That’ll be Mullen’s move, but it’s not the right one.
Franks just played his worst game of the season — a 17-38 loss to Missouri in which he posted a season-low 73 passer rating. Fans left early in disgust. UF has lost back-to-back games for the first time since dropping five straight between October and November last season.
Behind Franks is Trask, who in the same Missouri game tallied a 132.7 passer rating and threw for 42 more yards than Franks and a touchdown. By the numbers and the eye test, Trask outplayed his teammate. Why, then, would Mullen reward Franks with another start?
Give Trask the start. He earned it. On what planet, except maybe the one the Buffalo Bills play on (*cough* Nathan Peterman), does a team continue to start someone playing poorly? If he struggles, you have Franks to fall back on.
Freshman Emory Jones is an idea, but he’s probably not ready to start. The Gators will deploy him in packages in two more games, so he’s able to keep his red shirt. And, as Mullen mentioned in his Monday press conference, “there’s an injustice to put guys on the field before they are completely ready to go play.”
Another reason for Trask: We know what Franks is by now. He’s had 20 games to show us. If we’ve already seen his ceiling in, say, this year’s Tennessee win, we know it’s not Heisman-worthy.
But Trask? Who knows? The redshirt sophomore has three games and just 22 career pass attempts under his belt. The Texas native was also a back-up at Manvel High School, so he basically has a full stack of Pringles on his shoulder. Mullen might need to alter the offense a bit when Trask is in to consider his abilities, but I say it’s worth it.
The Trask Train has left the station, and it’s time to hop on board. At least for now.