It’s April. The guy has never taken a snap in a real live game. And we’ve heard this before.
But folks, we really, truly may have found our quarterback.
After a rough start to his collegiate practice career, redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks has put the pieces together and now continues to impress in the Gators’ spring practices. He looks poised, calm, and confident, a complete 180 from where he was last spring when he developed a reputation of being extremely talented yet careless and sometimes downright foolish with his decision making. He has separated himself from the competition in the Gators’ QB race, and now it appears the only thing standing between Franks and the starting QB job of the Florida Gators is time.
Perhaps most noteworthy about Franks’ performance this past week is his consistency. He overthrew one ball yesterday and two on Monday; that means that every other pass he threw this week ranged from catchable to on the money. Not only is he accurate with the ball, he’s making good decisions on where to throw it, too. After hitting Tyrie Cleveland- through traffic, I might add- on a deep post pattern Monday, another deep pass play was called and you can bet Franks was thinking of going deep again. Instead, he threw underneath to Brandon Powell and Jordan Scarlett on consecutive plays, who each picked up ten yards. He followed those check downs up with a zinger to Antonio Callaway on a slugo route, just over the hands of Chauncey Gardner.
Another thing that has me excited to see is his ability to vary the type of ball he throws. A few occasions will call for you to fling a 120 mph fastball, a few others will call for you to put up a rainbow, and the remaining occasions will call for you to throw some kind of in between ball, sitting on different parts of the scale depending on the situation. Franks appears to have really gripped this concept, most notably demonstrated by a beautiful 75% rainbow ball to Antonio Callaway- while being pursued by Cece Jefferson and Jabari Zuniga, I might add- in the back left corner of the end zone. This was a throw he made while scrambling left, which means that he had to square up and make this throw across his body into tight coverage. And he did.
Perhaps even more impressive is the chemistry Franks is developing with his wideouts. Whereas before, back shoulder and timing routes were being misfired all over Alachua County, Franks is now looking very good on those routes. They look simple and easy when they work, but they can make the QB look embarrassingly lost if they don’t, and that’s part of the improvement Franks has made. But his receivers deserve some credit, too, mainly for being good enough at what they do that Franks can trust them to make a catch in coverage and on timing routes. Other than a ball thrown slightly behind Powell on a hitch route, Franks hasn’t really missed any of these balls all week.
So essentially, Franks is hitting all different types of throws at similarly high clips, which is something he wasn’t doing even a week or two ago. His improved composure and mechanics were noted last week, not just by me but by pretty much everybody who saw any reps on videos posted to twitter. It’s his continued efficiency that’s starting to make me a believer, and that he’s stringing together consecutive practices that pop open the eyes as opposed to having a stray impressive outing is reason to have hope that he’s really the guy.
Now, we wait for the spring game…