Feleipe Franks Florida Starting Quarterback vs. Michigan: 3 Things That Matter
Feleipe Franks was named the Florida starting quarterback vs. Michigan. Here are three things about the move that matter.
1. Feleipe Franks is the starting quarterback? It’s the right move
It stinks in a massive way to be Malik Zaire right now, but naming Franks the starter – over last year’s starter, Luke Del Rio, too – is the right call as long as there was a three-way tie for the gig.
As several NFL teams are trying to figure out right now, if there’s no real difference between the young star-in-waiting and the boring old choice – ask the Bears and Browns about this – go with the one with the upside for the long haul.
Zaire had his choice of suitors and schools to go to where he could’ve been a rock-solid lock to play right away – he’d have been ideal for Virginia Tech, Minnesota or North Carolina – but instead he chose Florida …
As I wrote at the time, that’s fine, but was he really going to be the right guy for this team at this moment?
No. The better play was Franks.
The 6-6, 219-pound redshirt freshman was one of the prize recruits of the 2016 class, but he sat and waited his turn and, apparently, grew into the position and what head coach Jim McElwain wanted.
With the right size, the right arm, and the right skills, he seemed like the one to build the offense around for a next few years. Granted, it might mean a slight learning curve, but there’d hopefully be a massive step forward.
And now it’s his time.
It doesn’t mean that Zaire will simply be a No. 2 guy – there might be a few creative packages to utilize his marvelous all-around skill set. And, of course, if Franks stinks, it’ll be easy to move in the smart veteran who’ll be able to step in right away and shine.
McElwain has his franchise quarterback for the next few years, maybe four. But for now, he’d better be right as he hopes that …
2. It’s changing Florida’s negative narrative
To paraphrase the best line on social media when it came to Franks, it’s a great move – as long as he doesn’t get suspended in the next two days.
With ten Gators being suspended before the monster opener – but only two key starters, WR Antonio Callaway and RB Jordan Scarlett – McElwain needed to do something to shake things up a bit.
No, he didn’t name Franks over Zaire and Del Rio just because his team needed a jolt, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
And now Michigan has to do a little more work.
There’s film on Zaire. It isn’t a lot, but he’s played just enough for the Wolverine coaches to have a good read on him. There’s nothing but spring ball and a few guesses on what Franks can do and how he’ll react in live action.
Not that it matters all that much for a Michigan team that has to replace almost all the starters from the team that got to the Orange Bowl last season, but Franks becomes a wild card.
Starting Zaire wouldn’t have been a negative in any way, but starting Franks becomes a positive – he’s something to potentially build around if he plays well.
3. Does this change the prediction?
Nope. I liked Michigan before the Callaway suspension, I liked Michigan more after the Scarlett suspension, and while the curveball thrown with the decision to play Franks might make things a little murkier, I like Michigan just fine now that, at least, it knows who the starter is.
The Wolverine defense isn’t going to slip that much, if at all, starting with the fabulous defensive tackles Maurice Hurst and Rashan Gary to work around. The secondary that needs time to get its feet wet shouldn’t have a problem with Callaway gone and Franks – or Zaire – in, and the run defense should be salty as always.
But now the heat is turned up on the Florida defense.
There’s plenty of talent and a whole lot of athleticism, but it’s going to have to bail out an offense that’s almost certainly going to be inconsistent time after time.
The line changed from Michigan -3.5 to 4 to Michigan -5.5, and the over/under went from 45 to 43. While that might have as much to do with Scarlett being suspended as Franks being named the starter, no matter what, this should still be a low-scoring game.
And with a newbie starting quarterback to face, the pressure is on Michigan to get out with the win.