I agree with Ms. Whitaker's column to an extent. There are some Gator fans that have gone too far in voicing their opinions of our current starting quarterback, Feleipe Franks. These fans sadly give many of us a bad name.
However, the base of their point is valid. Franks is a consistently inconsistent quarterback.
I've been a Gator fan since 1995. I was 4 and picked them to root for over my father's Tennessee Volunteers. I've followed football since then. I played the game competitively from ages 10 to 17. I've coached it and studied it. I know this game from various angles.
Franks was given a slight pass for last season. It was his first year starting for us. We knew at the start of the season it would be rough at first. The trend of any redshirt freshman quarterback is that they get better as their first season moves forward, especially if they have the same staff from the previous year. Franks had the entire 2016 season to sit down and know the offense inside and out. He had that whole season and 2017 to form relationships with the offensive players. He had that entire time and this season to establish himself as the leader of this football team.
Feleipe Franks has clearly failed to do any of these. Yes, he has a different coaching staff this year. He should've been better by or after the Kentucky game though. If he was truly the leader of the offense, his relationship with the offensive players would've helped. Linemen would want to block for him, and receivers would help their quarterback out by coming back to him so he can get them the ball.
Instead, it's taken him almost the entire season to at least become subpar at best. Sadly, such quarterback play does not fly at UF. Gator fans are disgruntled and frustrated. We haven't had a definitive quarterback since Tebow. Grier looked to be that but we all know how that turned out.
I've been tolerating Franks this season about as much as I tolerate a mosquito bite. I deal with it because I know there's better coming. I'm still going to be critical and analyze his play. I love the Gators. I want them to always win. That doesn't always happen. It doesn't get fans behind their quarterback when he says in summer practice that he doesn't care about winning the starting job.
The criticism of Franks is justified. Sadly, some fans have blown it far out of proportion and made their impatience obviously known.
This anonymous reader writes in response to a column titled “Stop being mean to Feleipe Franks,” by Hannah Whitaker appearing on page 7 of the Nov. 19 issue of The Alligator.