There’s no way around it.
Kyle Trask looked good. Really good.
The redshirt junior quarterback got his shot on Saturday night after starter Feleipe Franks exited the game with a season-ending ankle injury. He took full advantage, leading the Gators to an 11-point comeback over Kentucky in the fourth quarter.
Trask completed nine of his 13 passes for 126 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown on the ground.
It’s hard not to be impressed by all of that.
But the sentiment from the Gators fan base seems to be that Trask looked better than Franks. Within the context of the game against the Wildcats, that’s true. But those fans have quickly forgotten how Franks marched into Doak Campbell Stadium and put up 41 points on the Seminoles. They’ve forgotten that, a month later, he did it again — this time in a New Year’s Six Bowl against a Michigan team ranked in the top 10.
Franks was far from perfect in his 11 quarters of 2019 play, but coach Dan Mullen named him the starter for a reason: He thought Franks gave the team the best chance to win.
Mullen said after Saturday’s game that he feels comfortable with Trask running the offense. The thing is, he also said the same about redshirt freshman Emory Jones.
Jones didn’t see any reps against Kentucky, but Mullen said they had packages for him they didn’t get to because they didn’t want to take Trask out and interrupt the momentum.
That tells me that, despite what Mullen says, he doesn’t have the same confidence in Trask he had in Franks.
I won’t deny that Trask was the catalyst for UF’s comeback. But assuming that Trask was actually Florida’s best passer this whole time because a quarterback change sparked the offense seems a tad reactionary. Especially considering it followed a gruesome and emotional injury to the unit’s outspoken leader, as well as the fact that Kentucky ran a prevent defense (for some reason) throughout the fourth quarter.
Now, does losing Franks mean the Gators’ season is derailed? Most definitely not.
But the team’s problems outside of the quarterback spot still remain. The offensive line is decent in pass protection but abysmal in run blocking. Running back Lamical Perine is averaging 3.5 yards per carry, a stark contrast from his average of 6.2 in 2018. Unless the blocking improves, running the ball won’t be a reliable option.
That put a lot of pressure on Franks, and it will put even more on the inexperienced Trask.
He will likely replicate his solid performance against floundering Tennessee and FCS opponent Towson. But against Auburn — who likely has the best defensive line in the nation — on Oct. 5? That game could be an entirely different story.
Tyler Nettuno is the sports editor of The Alligator. Follow him on Twitter @TylerNettuno or contact him at [email protected]