Saturday’s Orange and Blue game was fun and brought a lot of excitement back to the Florida Gators football program, but fun time is over.
There is a lot of work to be done over the next three and a half months before the Gators reconvene for fall camp, especially at the quarterback position.
The ongoing battle for the starting job between redshirt sophomores Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask continued in the game. And freshman Emory Jones may have put himself in the race, or at least in a good position to get some playing time this fall.
All three did some really good things, but also some poor things.
Trask finished 12-of-24, passing for 178 yards and a touchdown, Franks completed 8 of his 12 attempts for 117 yards and tacked on a couple rushing touchdowns for 63 yards and Jones showed flashes of his potential, completing 3-of-7 passes for 93 yards and rushing for 18 yards on two carries.
It’s hard to take a lot away from the stats, considering both Franks and Trask threw long touchdown passes on trick plays to former players as a part of the fun and lighthearted spirit of the game, and neither played in the second half. That, along with the fact that Franks likely would have been murdered by a defender on his 60-yard touchdown run had it been a real game.
Head coach Dan Mullen had some praise for his quarterbacks following the game, but was mostly focused on what needs to happen next for them.
“I’ll be honest, there’s no more important position during the summer than for those guys to work on their own, every day, muscle-memory, taking steps, footwork, throwing motion,” Mullen said. “I don’t care if they’re even throwing to receivers. Everything over and over and over again, so that they’re much better players August 4th than they were today.”
The summer is important now more than ever for Florida’s quarterbacks as they continue to learn how to run a completely new offense.
Franks said he is focused on entrenching himself in what to do, how to do it and most importantly, why it is being done.
Both quarterbacks seem to be focused on the right things coming out of spring, but the one who puts in the most time and effort could set himself up for the best shot at the job.
“My mindset is just to continue to get better,” Trask said. “Like I said, the coaches aren’t going to be around, so we have to take it upon ourselves to get our timing down, keep our head in the playbook and just keep getting better.”
While Mullen and his coaching staff can’t physically be with the quarterbacks during this time, he has a plan to keep them on track.
Mullen has quite the track record with quarterbacks and a pretty extensive contact list that he can take advantage of. He said he plans to utilize players like Dak Prescott to give his quarterbacks advice over the summer.
He’s also invited other former players to be as involved with them as possible while he has to stay away.
“We’re limited in how we can be around them,” Mullen said. “I can’t be out there while they’re throwing. We’ll talk to them about it: ‘This is what you need to do to be great.’ I’ll have other people talk to them about it … Just keep hammering so they understand the sense of urgency and how hard they have to work to be successful.”
These quarterbacks are in the best position any quarterbacks have been in at Florida in a long time, and right now, it seems as though this battle is far from over. It would be a great disservice to themselves not to take advantage of every resource at their fingertips over the next few months.