Instead, they were early enrollees at Florida and going through spring practice as true freshmen quarterbacks.
Trask outperformed Franks in the spring game. During the 2016 season, however, Franks established himself as the backup to Austin Appleby after the injuries to Luke Del Rio.
Franks and Trask both redshirted last year. Now they take center stage this spring as they battle for the starting job with Del Rio (shoulder) sidelined and Appleby graduated.
Franks is practicing with the first team and made strides over the past year. It has been well documented that he didn’t have a position coach, offensive coordinator or quarterback trainer in high school.
“A lot more confidence, a lot better understanding of just the passing game overall in general,” offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said of Franks. “There are high expectations on these kids when they come out of high school with the stars and rankings and those types of things. Some of them, depending of where they come from, (have) understanding of the concepts and the things that you’re trying to do in the passing game.
“Others have been coached by quarterback coaches since they were young, others are athletes. There’s a different learning curve for each and Feleipe has done a great job of buying into what we’ve asked him to do and really improved in the classroom side of things.”
There’s never been a doubt about his physical tools. At 6-foot-6, Franks is Florida’s tallest quarterback and also has the strongest arm on the team. Sometimes, however, that can backfire.
“A lot. Everything,” Nussmeier said when asked what Franks needs to improve. “He’s still a young player, he’s still a redshirt freshman. So, there’s all different kinds of things. He’s got great belief in his arm strength. At times, we’ve got to teach him that you can’t make every throw and sometimes you can’t throw it through three guys.”
Tasks for Trask
As for Trask, making smart throws isn’t an issue. He knows where to go with the football and has a good grasp of Nussmeier’s offense, but must work on operating faster in the pocket.
“The thing about Kyle is he’s deadly accurate,” Nussmeier said. “The biggest thing with Kyle is just getting repetition, getting in the game and playing. He still thinks at times, he may over-analyze a little bit.
“It was our second practice he threw a couple balls in the dirt. It’s uncharacteristic of him because he is so accurate and you go, ‘Whoa, whoa.’ It’s about letting it flow, letting it play and that’s just repetition.”
“He put a couple on the ground and made me kind of angry,” McElwain said. “And yet, nothing that is earth shattering from that standpoint. His understanding of where to go with the ball, that’s what I’m impressed with. His cerebral approach. And the big thing is, we’ve got to cut it loose a little quicker. You can’t see it. You’ve got to anticipate it.
“Every young quarterback, it’s something they kind of go through. You can see him mentally going through where he needs to go. His eyes are in the right place on the initial pre-snap reads. All that kind of stuff is really good. Now we just need to cut it loose a little faster.”