On December 6, 2014, new Florida head coach Jim McElwain was introduced with his initial press conference. Unfortunately, McElwain made a statement that he should regret.
When asked about Florida’s quarterback situation and whether he thought he could win with a QB on the current roster McElwain uttered this:
“You gotta understand this, I think I can win with my dog Clarabelle.”
And to his credit, Mac started his Florida career 6-0 with a win over #3 Mississippi.
Then came the Will Grier suspension for PEDs, and all of a sudden, Clarabelle seemed like a better option than what Mac kept putting on the field.
What makes the offensive struggles so egregious is the fact that for McElwain’s first two seasons, he had the benefit of a championship level defense. Not an SEC championship caliber defense, a national championship caliber defense!
Florida sits at 3-3 for the first time since 2003, and much of that has to do with the coaching. Will Muschamp’s defense has graduated to the NFL, and Mac has failed to replace them with elite playmakers, resulting in an average (at best) defense.
But the offense is atrocious, starting with quarterback play.
Clearly Feleipe Franks is in over his head at the SEC level right now. Franks was a four-star prospect based largely on his big arm.
The majority of the routes that Franks completed were passes behind the line of scrimmage or within a few yards of it. Franks locks in on his primary route and never reads through his progressions. He also looks incapable of throwing the ball over the middle of the field, as we saw on the final play against Texas A&M.
Far too often a receiver is running wide open and Franks never sees it. It cost Florida at least two touchdowns on Saturday. But something happened on Saturday that I hadn’t noticed before, the open receivers were visibly upset. First it was Brandon Powell. Then it was De’Andre Goolsby.
It doesn’t look good to recruits and it didn’t look good to fans.
It also leads to the question: why didn’t McElwain make the move to Malik Zaire or Jake Allen? Could it possibly be worse?
Why can Georgia, South Carolina, Texas A&M, and Alabama all have success with freshmen quarterbacks, but Florida can’t?
Florida faces a difficult remaining schedule with Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, and Florida State all looming.
Fact of the matter is, even UAB looks daunting if this is the offense that McElwain is trotting out.
Maybe it’s time to enroll Clarabelle into some classes. That may be our only hope to salvage this season.
But until then, McElwain deserves to be on the coaching hot seat, and it could get warmer every week until Florida has a real QB.
*I don’t have a problem with play calling. I do believe that coaches are calling plays that they think Franks is capable of making. And open receivers mean good play calling, QB just missing them.