Kyle Trask’s debut might get Dan Mullen into trouble with some of the fan base. Why wasn’t the redshirt junior from Manvel, Texas starting this whole time?
Trask started the game by completing 13-of-15 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown in the first half. He finished the game 20-28, 293 yards and with two touchdowns.
Trask was nearly perfect on the Gators’ first scripted drive of the game. His first pass was slightly underthrown to a wide-open Trevon Grimes but completed for a 43-yard gain, nonetheless. His second pass was a little high but it hit Kyle Pitts in the hands and went for six.
It was Trask’s first start since he was 14 years old back in 2011. That season he was leading the Manvel Maverick’s “Freshman A” team. They didn’t go undefeated, according to Trask, but had a good year.
“I thought he played solid,” Mullen said after the game.
This game has been a long time coming for Trask. He’s worked his tail off for the last four years at Florida without ever starting a game. He came close in 2018 when Dan Mullen reopened the quarterback competition after back-to-back losses. A broken foot on Monday of that game week ended Trask’s season but it never hindered his resolve or work ethic. When Trask took the field Monday before the Tennessee game it wasn’t a drill anymore. He was the starting quarterback. It was his team and this would be his biggest test.
How would he respond?
“I don’t think he did anything in practice. Just came the same way as he always comes; he comes ready to work with a hard hat on,” senior receiver Freddie Swain said. “I think he’s got an opportunity now and it’s, you know, kind of paying off.”
“I just tried to stay positive about the whole situation,” Trask said. “I’ve always been preparing like I’m a starter and at the end of the day I’m just trying to do what’s best for this team. Once my number was called I understood that it was go time and time to go our and help win the game for my team.”
His day wasn’t perfect. Trask was sacked and fumbled and he threw two second half interceptions. The nearly perfect first half couldn’t be sustained but his head coach thinks there were a lot of positives to extract from his performance, even in the mistakes.
“It wasn’t like he threw to a guy and hit a defender in the chest,” Mullen said. “He took a shot on two plays, gave receivers a chance, and you have to make good decision when taking those chances. I thought he managed the game well. I thought he was sharp and made good decisions all day long.”
The first one is out of the way now. Trask threw for 293 yards, the most a UF quarterback has thrown for since Austin Appleby torched the Vols for 296 in 2016. Trask will get another week to build his confidence when Towson comes to town next week. Then the schedule gets real in a hurry with Auburn, LSU, South Carolina and Georgia waiting in the wings.
For now he’s just soaking up this win and the moment. It’s been eight long years since he’s been the starting quarterback of a team and he wants to live in this moment a little longer.
“It’s pretty surreal,” he said.
Surreal indeed. This is the kind of story they turn into a movie.