GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Redshirt freshman quarterback Kyle Trask is not a very excitable guy, and that can work to his benefit at times.
Sure, the Gators might like him to be more assertive and fiery on the field. Teammates have acknowledged that fellow redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks is more vocal in the huddle, which is an important quality for quarterbacks.
But Trask’s even keel also buoyed him Friday night after Florida’s spring game revealed that Franks had clearly seized the No. 1 spot on the depth chart while working exclusively with the first-team offense his entire time on the field.
Trask, who mostly worked with the second-team offense aside from a late series with the 1s, didn’t seem fazed afterward. Nor did he indicate anything has changed for him.
“I think just keeping my head low and just keep grinding,” he said of what he needs to do moving forward. “It’s going to be a dogfight until the very end. So all I’ve got to do is keep working my tail off.”
One had to feel bad for Trask, though. Playing behind the backup offensive line, he was under frequent duress and not really set up for success Friday night.
He finished 6-of-15 for 66 yards, 0 touchdowns and an interception on an ill-advised pass that cornerback Duke Dawson tipped in the air and linebacker Vosean Joseph corralled for the pick.
“I definitely felt like (defensive tackle) Khairi Clark, he was in my face just about every play. That’s what it felt like,” Trask acknowledged.
For what it’s worth, he was 2-for-2 for 35 yards in his limited opportunity with the 1s later in the game, but that the coaches didn’t give him more chances to work in with that group earlier in the evening was a clear statement as to the separation between the Gators’ two young QBs.
“All I can do is control what I can control, so I’m just going to keep working and do what I can do,” he said. “… It was tough at times going against the best defense in the country, but like I said, I made it a big emphasis just taking what the defense gives me.”
Gators coach Jim McElwain has no tolerance for interceptions and Trask’s turnover indeed came on a poor decision. He had another pass nearly picked off and also fumbled on a sack, but he was able to recover the loose ball himself.
On the flip side, he later had a chance for a highlight on a long throw down the right sideline that Tyrie Cleveland made an attempt to come back for, but the wide receiver couldn’t hold on to it.
In the end his longest completion came on a 21-yard screen pass to Mark Thompson, but Trask did lead a touchdown drive in that lone series with the 1s. He opened it with a 15-yard pass to Brandon Powell and hit Antonio Callaway on a screen for 20 yards. He later tacked on an 8-yard run to move the Gators closer to an eventual touchdown.
“Kyle took that drive down pretty good,” McElwain said.
Franks, meanwhile, finished the spring game 8-of-14 for 119 yards, 1 touchdown and 0 interceptions while furthering the separation between the young QBs.
“With me, you have a quarterback that’s not going to get frustrated with little things and not going to get too high or too low, just level (headed),” Trask said afterward. “… I think I just need to keep my head low and keep working my tail off, control what I can control.”