Florida Gators quarterback saga continues with Zaire day-to-day

The Florida Gators’ quarterback situation seems to get a little messier with each passing week.

Things have been strange at quarterback for nearly a decade, but this season may take the cake, and it’s not over yet.

It started with redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks winning the job coming into the season before losing it to redshirt junior, and last year’s starter, Luke Del Rio. That was until Del Rio got hurt before making it all the way through single game.

With that, Franks took back over and graduate transfer Malik Zaire was nearly forgotten about. Franks continued to prove he did not have what it took to be a starter in the SEC as the Gators lost three consecutive games, so once interim head coach Randy Shannon took over for Jim McElwain, he made the change to Zaire.

Zaire did not impress much either, but still got the start at South Carolina. Then, once Florida finally started to make some play calls to match his skillset and started driving on the Gamecocks, Zaire went down with an injury and returned a play later only to go down again and leave the game for good.

Franks once again came in and nearly led the Gators back, but fell just short and poetically threw an interception on Florida’s final possession (as he did in two other games this season) to seal the deal. He finished 10-for-25 passing for 174 yards, while Zaire was 7-or-14 for 49 yards.

Shannon took the podium for his weekly press conference on Monday and did not disclose many specifics on Zaire’s injury, but for now he is day to day, which means Franks is the guy, at least for the time being. If he decides he is good to go come Saturday, it is anybody’s guess who will be out there.

“I don’t know,” Shannon said. “I can’t predict the future. It’s just day-to-day. Whenever we feel like Malik is ready he’ll be ready. If not, Feleipe is going to be the guy. Right at this point in time, if we played a game, Feleipe would be the guy. That’s what we have to go with today.”

With Zaire possibly out and redshirt freshman Kyle Trask and freshman Jake Allen still injured, there are not many options for a backup. In the case that Florida wants to switch things up or Franks goes down, redshirt junior wide receiver Dre Massey would be the next guy up.

Freshman Kadarius Toney took some snaps in the wildcat early in the season and had some success there before separating his shoulder, but he is still not 100 percent healthy and has not taken many reps in recent weeks. That leaves very few options for Shannon and his staff.

It could finally be a chance for Massey to show off the legendary abilities that have been talked about, but rarely seen since he arrived.

“We have to develop somebody else,” Shannon said. The last two to three weeks Dre Massey had taken snaps at quarterback. He was a quarterback in high school and some 7-on-7 and snap counts, we just have to water down a little bit what we’re trying to get done on offense.”

It doesn’t seem possible to water down this offense any more than it already is, but it will be interesting to see what the Gators draw up on Saturday as the quarterback struggle continues.

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Bailiegh Williams
Growing up the daughter of a baseball coach in a household that revolved around Gators sports, Bailiegh’s future working in sports was her destiny. She played four years of varsity softball at Suwannee High School and one year on softball scholarship at Gulf Coast State College. In her first year she discovered a love for journalism so she packed her bags and moved to Gainesville to finish her A.A. and begin interning for Gator Country. She is now on track to graduate from the University of Florida in 2019. In her free time, Bailiegh enjoys binge watching her favorite TV shows and spending time with her family and her two fur babies.