Welcome to Chomp Chat, SEC Country’s daily Florida podcast with reporter Zach Abolverdi and Gators broadcaster Jeff Cardozo.
Former Florida and NFL quarterback Doug Johnson was one of several ex-players who returned to The Swamp in April for the Orange & Blue Game.
Johnson played for the Gators from 1996-99 and finished his college career with 7,114 passing yards and 62 touchdowns.
In the latest edition of Chomp Chat, Johnson gives his thoughts on first-year coach Dan Mullen, Florida’s quarterback competition and the struggles at the position during the last decade.
Here are Johnson’s comments on the lack of separation this spring between Feleipe Franks, Kyle Trask and Emory Jones.
“My humble opinion,” Johnson said, “is that if you have a guy that played the majority of the snaps the year before in a competitive situation the following spring with other guys that never saw the field — so the experience factor is obviously working against them — and you take those guys and compare them to the guy who took the majority of the snaps and you don’t have a clear-cut winner, that tells me that it’s 100 percent open competition, No. 1. No. 2, I would not be surprised if Trask gets the nod.
“Because if I’m the coach and I don’t see a clear winner — and I didn’t see a clear winner — I would probably lean toward Trask because of the fact, to me, that he processes the field better. … Worst-case [scenario], it’s a dead-even heat with a guy who hasn’t even gained the game experience that the guy he’s competing against has. So, what’s he going to do when he gains that game experience?”
Johnson called Florida’s QB woes “shocking” given the program’s rich history at the position, but he expressed confidence that Mullen can turn it around with his ability to recruit and develop quarterbacks. The Gators have fallen off in those areas, Johnson said.
“We’ve had some guys here that look the part. But for some reason, and it’s not always their issue and 100 percent of the blame is on them, the product of the actual atmosphere, the [coaching] instructions and the talent around [the quarterback] just didn’t fit that guy,” Johnson said. “Any time you try to take a quarterback and just fit him in your system instead of going to get a quarterback that already fits your system, it’s just a totally different dynamic.
“A lot of times we see coaches try to fit a square peg in a round hole and try to take a kid just off a whim because other colleges are offering him and he’s highly touted. That doesn’t mean he’s going to fit in your actual system, in your dynamic, in your culture, in a sense. I think that is what’s happened here. We’ve had some guys that just did not get developed, and it’s unfortunate. It’s surprising because we should always have a guy behind center that is the strength of our program, and we’ve missed it for a number of years.”
For more comments from Johnson on Franks, Jones and Florida’s quarterback recruiting, check out the podcast below.
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