Florida Gators quarterbacks take different perspectives to competition

The final days of the Florida Gators quarterback competition are finally dwindling down.

Head coach Dan Mullen wants to have a definitive starter before Charleston Southern comes to town in just over a week. He said on Monday that there is no chance all of the quarterbacks will play in the first game, so that means an announcement should come any day.

Emory Jones has not worked much with the first-team offense in fall camp, while Kyle Trask and Feleipe Franks have been splitting reps with the ones, so it is pretty safe to say that while Jones may earn some playing time as a freshman, this is a two-man battle.

Now, it all comes down to who Mullen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson believe has shown the most promise to lead the offense in 2018.

“I think we’re getting guys ready to go play right now,” Mullen said. “And then, over the next couple of days, Brian and I will really sit down and evaluate who is going to give us the best opportunity to win games.”

Franks gave an interesting take on his mindset on Tuesday with an announcement inevitably coming soon.

“I’m not really worried about it,” he said. “I’m more worried about coming more together as a team, building bonds, getting our connections back and just getting our offense going. I’m not worried about who he names. To be honest with you, I could care less. I want to just win. It means more to me. I’m not worried about starting.”

Take that for what it’s worth. It is hard to believe that a quarterback competing to start at the University of Florida has not thought about it or does not care if it is him.

While it is likely he has thought about the outcome of this ongoing battle on more than one occasion, the message he was trying to send was one of maturity. He believes it is a sign of growth that he is more concerned with the goals of the team this season rather than his personal ambition.

“The mindset last year was more of, I’m wanting to win, I’m wanting to win, but at the same time, I want individual goals,” Franks said. “One thing I reflected on is I’ve got to get better at and I got better at it is being more of a team player, wanting our team to do good. You guys are asking me if I’m worried about starting. It doesn’t really matter. It’s more about I want our team to win. I don’t want to go through a 4-7 season again. I’m more about just winning.”

On the other side, Trask admitted that wanting to be the one to earn that starting job is on his mind.

While he tries to take the right mindset to practice every day, he and Franks are both human, and it is only natural to think about it.

“It’s in the back of our minds,” Trask said. “But at the end of the day we’re all best friends and we’re just grinding together day in and day out … It’s just a competition. You know it’s there, obviously. We’re human. You just try not to think about it and just focus on getting better every single day, go out compete with your buddies.”

It is completely normal and fine to set goals as long as the focus remains the same. Trask believes he has managed to balance that and prove he has what it takes to be the starter.

“I feel like I’ve had one of the best camps of my career here,” he said. “I’ve been locked in the whole time. Really, I feel like I’ve made little improvements every day.”

Barring injury or a simply horrible showing, Mullen plans to ride the entire season with whoever he sends out to take the first snap on September 1.

Whether Florida’s quarterbacks want to think about it or not, there is a huge decision coming—a decision that could alter their careers.

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.