How Florida QB Feleipe Franks’ growth was showcased in one drive vs. Miami

By Michael Phillips
September 2, 2019
How Florida QB Feleipe Franks’ growth was showcased in one drive vs. Miami

Image Credit: SEC Network

No. 8 Florida Gators quarterback Feleipe Franks has built a career off inconsistent performances, and once again in the Gators’ Week 0 matchup against Miami, he showcased some good with some bad. However, the redshirt junior signal caller had a moment — one drive in particular, actually — that showed why we may be in for a different Franks for the duration of the 2019 season. 

After Canes took a 20-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, Franks dropped back on a second-and-11 trying to hit senior wide receiver Freddie Swain over the middle. As Florida fans well know by now, the ball sailed a bit, bounced off Swain’s fingers and got intercepted. UF was fortunate that UM missed a field goal, keeping it a three-point game.

The next time the Gators touched the ball, Franks threw his best pass of the night on a 65-yard go route up the seam to senior WR Josh Hammond.  Franks finished that possession as a four-play, 80-yard drive, capping it with a 3-yard QB keeper up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown. 

“I think what gets missed is he threw a pick that could have been, in the fourth quarter of the game, that could have been the deciding factor of the play,” head coach Dan Mullen said last week. “The next time we got the ball, he accounted for every yard on that drive that we scored, that touchdown, the game-winning touchdown drive. He accounted for every yard, either running or throwing, on the game-winning touchdown drive. 

“I don’t know if Feleipe Franks could have done that last year. I think that pick might have affected him, instead of him coming back in not even the blink of an eye, he accounted for every play on the scoring drive.”

Franks finished the game 17-of-27 passing for 254 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble. He had plenty of mishaps throughout the night, but his ability to forget about his mistakes, not give up hope and go lead an important scoring drive immediately following an interception is something we haven’t seen from Franks.

 “Yeah, obviously threw a pick to Freddie,” Franks said. “The play before that. Then our guys just come back. Coach Mullen called that play [to Hammond]. He wants to keep slinging the rock around. There wasn’t one time in that game where I lost hope that I couldn’t sling the ball around. You just keep on slinging it around, have a big drive that ultimately helped us win the game. It’s very important to have short-term memory and just respond to pressure.”

Franks has struggled shaking off his mistakes in the past, and it has cost the team wins. He brought Florida back last season against South Carolina, but outside of that game, he hasn’t led a fourth-quarter game-winning drive before the Miami game.

There is obviously still plenty for Franks to clean up, as evidenced by his second interception against the Canes, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince anybody that Franks leads that 80-yard drive last season. And the signal-caller loved being able to come through for his team.

“It’s fun,” Franks said of his game-winning drive. “That’s what you play for. I play for those pressure moments, and these guys we come out and work every single day. When the fourth quarter’s on the line, you have to be able to tap into another one of yourselves and continue to fight, continue to fight and never up. 

“Not at one point in that game I thought there was a person, ‘Ah, I think we might lose here.’ There wasn’t one point in the game somebody did that. We always had confidence, and like I said, when it mattered most we got the job done defensively and offensively. So I think that was a great ultimate team win.”


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