University of Florida

Feleipe Franks looks the part against second-team defense in UF’s spring game

Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) helps to signal in a play from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against North Texas in Gainesville on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016.
Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) helps to signal in a play from the sideline during the first half of an NCAA college football game against North Texas in Gainesville on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. AP

The statistics can be misleading from Florida’s spring game, a scrimmage in which third-year UF coach Jim McElwain pitted the first-team against the second-team

As a result, the Orange team (the starters) dominated the Blue team (the backups) 31-0 in front of an announced estimated crowd of 48,000 on Friday night.

The main point to take away from this intrasquad scrimmage that put a cap on Florida’s spring season: Feleipe Franks, the frontrunner in Florida’s quarterback battle, a took the bulk of the reps at quarterback with the starting offense and more or less had a solid outing while facing the second-team defense.

The redshirt freshman led the Orange team to three scores in his four possessions and completed 8 of his 14 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Four of his eight completions went for at least 15 yards.

It was a marked improvement from Franks’ first spring game last year, when he completed just five of his 11 pass attempts and tossed three interceptions.

The 6-foot-6 gunslinger wasn’t necessarily flashy for all of Florida’s two-hour “made for television” spring game, but he held his own with the limited playbook McElwain opted to use.

He showed off his arm strength on the first drive. After a pair of check-down passes to open the spring game, Franks dropped back five steps, looked to his right and floated a pass through the crisp Friday-night air and down the right sideline into wide receiver Josh Hammond for a 46-yard completion to bring the Orange team to the red zone and an eventual touchdown.

Franks looked mature and poised in the pocket, carefully observing his options before making a throw. In addition to the deep bomb on the first drive, Franks made a lot of the short, quick plays.

There were the check downs to C’yontai Lewis and Brandon Powell in the middle of the field when he first option wasn’t open.

There was a crossing pass to Antonio Callaway that was taken 15 yards, capped by Callaway hurdling over walk-on cornerback Eddie Giles.

And there was the 16-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Callaway in the left corner of the end zone for his last play of the scrimmage.

Fellow redshirt freshman Kyle Trask, on the other hand, struggled with the second-team offense going up against the first-team offense. Praised all spring for his accuracy, Trask went 4-for-13 and recorded just 31 passing yards while playing with the second-team unit. He was “sacked” twice (the quarterbacks were wearing white non-contact jerseys), threw an interception in the third quarter and nearly had a second pass intercepted earlier in the game. His highlight play was a check-down pass to Mark Thompson in the third quarter that went for 21 yards.

Trask faced constant pressure in the backfield with his offensive line struggling to contain a veteran defensive line.

However, on the one drive where he led the first-team, Trask completed both of his passes for 35 yards. The possession ended with a 2-yard rushing touchdown from Lamical Perine before the Gators closed out the scrimmage with the second team going against the third team.

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