Danny Wuerffel won the Heisman Trophy in 1996 and led Florida to a national championship. He was one of the best college quarterbacks of his era and remains one of the best college quarterbacks of all time.
And Florida’s Feleipe Franks, a redshirt freshman, has earned his respect.
“He’s a great young quarterback,” Wuerffel said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He is very physically gifted. He’s far better than I ever was. People thought I was joking (when) I sent out a tweet saying against Tennessee it was a good thing he was in there because if I were in at the end, I couldn’t have thrown it far enough to score on that last play. That’s not false humility; that’s just math.”
Franks threw a 63-yard Hail Mary to Tyrie Cleveland to stun Tennessee, 26-20, on Sept. 16.
That was good. Lately, though, it’s been bad. Florida started 3-1 but has dropped two in a row – to LSU and Texas A&M – by a combined three points.
Franks failed to score a touchdown in either game.
“He’s a great, great young player, but there’s so many things happening so fast, and he’s young,” Wuerffel said. “When Luke Del Rio got in there, there was a little bit of a spark, a little quicker decisions, getting rid of the ball quicker, getting to the right place a little faster. It was real unfortunate – not just for the Gators, but especially for Luke – that he got hurt so bad so quick after he got the job back.”
Del Rio, a redshirt junior, injured his shoulder in a 38-24 win over Vanderbilt on Sept. 30. He will miss the rest of the season.
“So it’s clearly Feleipe’s ball right now, and I think it’s going to be his for a long time,” Wuerffel said. “I think he’s just going through some growing pains and will continue to get better.”
It’s been an odd season for the Gators (3-3), who didn’t score an offensive touchdown in their season-opening loss to Michigan, beat Tennessee on a Hail Mary, and lost to LSU on a missed extra point.
Who are the Gators?
“It’s really hard to say,” Wuerffel said. “We’ve been scrapping in all the games and had some fortunate endings to a few and some not-so-fortunate endings to a few. So I would say at the end of the day we’re probably about where we deserve to be and have a lot of work to do.”
Florida, which has a bye this week, plays No. 3 Georgia (7-0) in Jacksonville on Oct. 28. Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. ET.