My good friend and senior by credits, Alanis Thames, wrote in her column on Tuesday that Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks doesn’t deserve all of the blame for the team’s record-breaking loss to the Kentucky Wildcats.
And she’s right.
The offensive and defensive lines were atrocious, the running game was nonexistent until the fourth quarter and his receivers dropped several easy catches.
But Alanis is also wrong. She wrote in her column that whether Florida fans like it or not, they are stuck with Feleipe Franks. That simply just isn’t true.
Dan Mullen should bench Franks from the starting spot for one very important, overarching reason: He cannot play under pressure.
It really is just that simple.
He just does not know how to lead a team when the team needs him to. We saw him crush the dismal Charleston Southern defense. Wow, how worthy of praise. He tore up an FCS team.
Then he faced an actual SEC defense, and he looked as lost as Brock Lovett looking for the Heart of the Ocean in Titanic.
And that SEC defense was Kentucky. Kentucky! Not a team you normally associate atop the SEC East.
He looked average in the first half, sure; just ran the offense, no problem.
But when Florida went down a score and more was asked of him, he completely fell apart.
Franks only logged one interception, but there should have been at least four, if not five, by my count.
We saw him completely misread the defense and throw ball after ball right into the UK defenders’ hands, only to watch it slip away because they were so shocked it was right to them.
Furthermore, he has absolutely no touch on his throws whatsoever.
There was a UF drive in the second half against the Wildcats in which there were three straight pass plays deep down the right side of the field.
Now, there was good coverage on the plays, but Franks gave his receiver no chance on each throw.
He made several mistakes instead of lofting it far down the sideline and leading his receiver deep into the end zone.
He launched a bullet that hit the defender in the back on the first throw. The second, he threw way short, and wide receiver Van Jefferson put on an acting job worthy of an Oscar to draw a pass interference. Finally, on the subsequent play, he threw a ball way out of bounds.
What’s so important about those three plays? It shows that Franks has no idea how to adjust. If he does, then he simply doesn’t execute. He needs to be benched if that’s the case.
Florida needed him badly at the time, as momentum was all Kentucky.
But under pressure, he cracks.
He’s like the Last Airbender – when he’s needed most, he disappears.
Should he have had the pressure heaped on him last game? No, definitely not. But it was, and it’s the quarterback’s job to handle it. That’s what Tebow did. That’s what Will Grier does. But it most certainly is what Feleipe does not.
At what point can Florida fans tolerate this mediocrity no more? Honestly, Dan Mullen, why don’t you just trot Kyle Trask out there? He’s been working with the first team all spring and summer, and you’re about to face Colorado State. You’ve already lost to Kentucky.
Nothing to lose.
You can follow Chris O'Brien on Twitter @THEChrisOB or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.