It’s on QB Feleipe Franks to create opportunities for himself in Florida’s offense

Similar to the weekly “Gators Mailbag” that ran in previous weeks this season, we are tackling the best question supplied by fans to our SEC Country Florida Facebook page each day. Look for the “Question of the Day” every Monday through Friday.

Everybody has seen the big arm redshirt freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks possesses, the big plays he’s capable of making when called upon to throw downfield.

But those have been few and far between. The first completion against Michigan, the game-winner against Tennessee, the deep shot late in the second half Saturday against Vanderbilt being the highlights.

Now that Franks has been reinstalled as Florida’s starting quarterback in the wake of Luke Del Rio’s season-ending injury, some fans are clamoring to see the coaches give the young QB more chances to take those shots in the passing game.

So today’s “Question of the Day” is a common one this week.

Taboris H. asks … “Do you think the coaches will open the offense up more for Franks?”

My opinion on this has evolved over the last few weeks. I was on record early in the season advocating for offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to show more trust in his young quarterback and let him utilize his strengths with a more dynamic passing plan.

As I’ve seen more and heard more, I’ve accepted that might not all be on Nussmeier, and that Franks probably has not executed on some opportunities that have existed. That could mean simply not seeing an opportunity downfield, choosing a safer checkdown, etc.

Only the coaches and players truly know where that balance lies. I still believe Nussmeier is conservative by nature, but I also don’t think Franks is totally ready to put it all together and maximize the game plan.

There’s a reason the coaches made the switch to Del Rio. They simply trusted him more than Franks, and I agree with their assessment that Del Rio would have gotten more out of the offense.

So to answer the question, no, I don’t think the Florida passing game becomes any more dynamic anytime soon. And especially not this week with top receiver Tyrie Cleveland, the team’s only established downfield threat, likely to miss the game or be limited at best with a high-ankle sprain.

The Gators are going to get everything they can out of their ground attack to take pressure off Franks, and I would expect that will remain the plan every week moving forward, with a steady dose of screens and other safe throws mixed in for balance.

Consider that Franks’ two biggest passes this season have come at the very end of halves in low-risk, high-reward situations. Safe gambles.

It’s on Franks to take full advantage of the opportunities he gets on intermediate throws, as he did with a couple key completions to tight end Moral Stephens last week, and to convince the coaches that maybe it’s worth rolling the dice a little more.

But that’s going to take time.

The post It’s on QB Feleipe Franks to create opportunities for himself in Florida’s offense appeared first on SEC Country.

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