Feleipe Franks has gone from late-game hero to backup quarterback in just over a week.
Florida coach Jim McElwain told Paul Finebaum on Monday morning that Luke Del Rio will be the Gators starting quarterback against Vanderbilt this week. Del Rio came on in relief of Franks during Florida's comeback win against Kentucky on Saturday night.
Del Rio replaced Franks late in the third quarter with Florida trailing 24-14. His numbers weren't exactly the kind they build statues for -- 9-for-14 for 74 yards, a touchdown and an interception -- but he was in charge of the offense during the two fourth-quarter touchdown drives to get the Gators the win, and he threw the touchdown pass to Freddie Swain with 43 seconds left. Apparently, that's enough to earn him the starting gig next week against the Commodores.
Personally, I'm not sure he should be. It's nothing against Del Rio; I just think McElwain is a bit too quick with the hook for his young quarterback. I thought McElwain pulled Franks too early in Florida's loss to Michigan and then stuck with Malik Zaire too long before putting Franks back in.
I'm not trying to say that Franks has been transcendent or anything, but I have a hard time blaming him for Florida's offensive struggles to this point. He played well against Tennessee and threw the game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game, and it's not as if he's killing the Gators with turnovers. He's thrown one interception through three games, and all three of his starts have come against tough defenses.
For a freshman quarterback, I feel as though Franks is playing well and it's not his fault Florida's offense has been hurt by suspensions this early in the season.
But apparently McElwain feels differently, and he's the one that gets to decide who Florida's quarterback is, not me.