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Gators to Watch

Florida QB Feleipe Franks (Photo by Tim Casey)
Florida QB Feleipe Franks
(Photo by Tim Casey)

Who are the Gators to watch down in Jacksonville for the annual Georgia-Florida game?



With injury-plagued junior starter Luke Del Rio sustaining a broken collarbone against Vanderbilt, this 6-5, 227-pound redshirt freshman has taken charge of the Gator offensive attack. Franks, in Florida’s six games, has passed for 794 yards and three touchdowns including the winning 63-yard pass to Tyrie Cleveland in the final seconds that lifted the Gators to a 26-20 win over Tennessee. Franks, who has completed 63.8 percent of his passes, is also a capable runner as he had a scrambling 79-yard run in the 2-point loss to Texas A&M. The Bulldogs will need to get pressure on this guy throughout Saturday’s game.


It seems like the Florida Gators have fielded outstanding cornerbacks forever and 2017 is no exception, what with Dawson and fellow corner Chauncey Gardner (23) patrolling the secondary. Dawson, a 5-10, 202-pound senior, is the Gator leader as he has recorded two interceptions and seven pass breakups this season. Clearly, freshman quarterback Jake Fromm and the Bulldog receivers will need to be at the top of their game against these cover guys.

Florida Head Coach Jim McElwain (Photo by Tim Casey)
Florida Head Coach Jim McElwain
(Photo by Tim Casey)



His first two years at the Gator helm, McElwain compiled a 19-8 overall record, which tied Steve Spurrier for the second-most victories by a UF head coach through his first two seasons. Most importantly, though, McElwain guided the Gators to back-to-back SEC East Division championships. Yet, there has been some rumblings of discontent in Gainesville due to consecutive losses to Alabama in the SEC title game (last season by 54-16) and a Florida offense that has sputtered quite a bit the last two seasons. The Gators, in McElwain’s third season, enter Saturday’s game at 3-3 and need a lifeline in the division race after consecutive tough defeats to LSU (17-16) and Texas A&M (19-17). So, without question, McElwain will have his Gators pumped and ready to continue their mastery of the Georgia Bulldogs come Saturday afternoon.


Recent Articles by Murray Poole

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Murray Poole is a 1965 graduate of the University of Georgia Journalism School. He served as sports editor of The Brunswick News for 40 years and has written for Bulldawg Illustrated the past 16 years. He has covered the Georgia Bulldogs for 53 years.