Shortly after the Gators wrapped up the spring game Mullen made it clear what he expected from his quarterbacks.
NCAA rules limit how much coaches can be around the team in the offseason. He impressed upon the room that he and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson wouldn’t be by their side, holding their hands during the summer. That they needed to be proactive in their progression and take initiative to throw on their own, with other coaches and with their teammates. He even offered the phone number of some of his former quarterbacks, guys that know what it takes, for his current quarterbacks to learn from.
After four days of spring camp, that simply hasn’t happened yet.
“I’m seeing flashes here and there, but it’s really about consistency of performance. I think they … I think one of the ones that is hard is how much work you have to put in at the QB position to be successful,” said Mullen. “I think they are young guys and they’re still learning that. That just takes time because there are so many little intricacies of it.”
That’s not to say that the quarterbacks won’t get there. It’s a process for Mullen and the entire quarterback room to get to where they’re going. The expectations that he has for not only for the team but also for his quarterbacks in particular were laid out in the spring but the gravity and depth of those expectations are still sinking in.
“To be a big-time quarterback, I don’t think they even think they’d know how hard that is,” Mullen said Monday. “They should understand it by hopefully next summer. I was hoping maybe with just one of them it would really click, but I didn’t see that happen. But that doesn’t shock me. It might not even be next summer, it might be the summer after that. A lot of guys it takes two or three years of really working. They work one summer and realize ‘Boy, I wasn’t close.’ They work the next summer and they think they’ve really got it and then it’s, they come out and they’re like ‘I worked a lot harder, I thought I’d be ready, but I should be even further ahead than this.’ A lot of times as they get older it really clicks.”
Mullen has praised his quarterbacks this spring. He thought Kyle Trask had the best play after the first scrimmage when he correctly checked down. He’s noted that Feleipe Franks and Emory Jones have both had their moments as well but accuracy, across the board, has been an issue. The Gators are still weeks away from their first game so Mullen isn’t worried yet. He definitely didn’t sound happy with his quarterbacks after the fourth practice of fall camp, but he isn’t throwing in the towel.
“This year, we’ll get them right,” he said. “We’ll keep putting them in situations, finding out what they’re most comfortable with right now as we go through installation.”