GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Feleipe Franks is the latest in a long line of post-Tebow quarterbacks at Florida.
Twelve, to be exact.
Perhaps it’s time to see No. 13.
Because right now, No. 13 on the Gators is just a guy — like many of the 12 starters before him. His showing in the 19-17 loss to Texas A&M confirmed what the staff first realized at Kentucky.
Franks is not ready to be future of Florida football or the savior at the QB position.
He’s a JAG, as former Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells used to say. The term refers to a player who is “just a guy” and has no “exceptional qualities to shine on the field on a consistent basis.”
Or the court. JAG is also in Billy Donovan’s vocabulary.
Jim McElwain didn’t mention it Saturday, but he can’t throw his redshirt freshman QB under the bus.
Most already have.
“He did some good things,” McElwain said when asked to evaluate Franks. “Thought he was good on third down early.
“He made some good throws and knew where he was going with it. I think the rush might have got to him a little bit.”
It did, as Franks was sacked five times. Not all were on the offensive line, which gave him a clean pocket and time to throw on multiple plays.
Doug Nussmeier had some perfect calls. He also made bad ones. The defense missed tackles. Special teams killed them.
There’s a lot of blame to go around for Florida’s 3-3 start, and it starts with suspensions and injuries. But Franks pointed the finger at himself after the loss to A&M.
“The plan was there, I agree with coach,” Franks said. “The line did a good job, the receivers did a good job of getting open, and ultimately it falls on me as the quarterback, so I have to do a better job.”
Franks is now 2-3 as the starter with an average of 122 yards passing in those five games. The Gators are ranked 103rd in third-down conversions.
This time last year, they ranked No. 1 nationally in that category with former starting quarterback Luke Del Rio, who doesn’t have many “exceptional qualities” from a physical standpoint.
What he did bring to the table was football IQ and a thorough understanding of Nussmeier’s system. Whatever Franks has on Del Rio in height and arm strength, he lacks in field vision and procedural communication.
Right now, Franks simply doesn’t know enough and doesn’t see enough. He might one day, so don’t crucify him yet.
You know who else struggles with those same issues? Graduate transfer Malik Zaire, which is why he isn’t playing.
But he needs one more shot behind the wheel — just a quick drive. The staff has to find another vehicle for QB production during the bye week.
The JAG isn’t working.