Former Gators QB Austin Appleby living with Feleipe Franks, offers insight on QBs’ progress

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Former Florida quarterback Austin Appleby has maintained a presence around the Gators’ practice field this spring, going through his own preparations while remaining hopeful for a chance to play professionally.

In the meantime, he’s kept an eye on Florida redshirt freshman quarterbacks Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask and has been impressed with their progress from last year.

With Franks in particular, Appleby has an even deeper connection than he did before as the second-year QB has moved in with the former Gators starter and his other roommates this spring.

“I was away. I kind of came back and said, ‘Oh, hey Feleipe,’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, I moved in,’ ” Appleby recalled.

Their other roommates are Florida punters Johnny Townsend and Tommy Townsend and walk-on Harry Gornto V.

In addition to asking him questions around the house, Appleby says Franks has made use of his presence at spring practice too.

“When I come to practice, he’ll come over to me real quick like, ‘Hey man, how do I read this? What do you think? It’s the same thing it was when we were out on the field,” Appleby said.

That being said, Appleby thinks both Franks and Trask have made considerable strides in their command of the offense and all the pre-snap responsibilities that go into playing the position.

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“(They have) all the arm talent in the world. You guys go out and see the way the ball comes out of their hands — it’s ungodly. Now they’ve got to learn to play the position,” Appleby said. “Throwing the ball 80 yards doesn’t necessarily mean you can play quarterback, and the way that they’ve grown and been able to grasp the complexity of Mac’s offense, of Nuss’ offense, through the reps, the only way to get it is doing the reps, getting that picture again and again and again and being able to figure out the things you’ve got to look at to get your eyes through the progression quick. …

“Now they’re in there with the opportunity to go with the 1s and 2s every single day. I think it’s the best thing for not only our coaching staff but for those young guys because this is their opportunity. We’re going to know where they’re at coming out of camp.”

Florida fans are hoping that outcome is a positive one as they pine for one of those young QBs to emerge as the future at the position for the Gators. They are getting every opportunity to seize that role with veteran Luke Del Rio , who split starts with Appleby last season, sidelined this spring while recovering from a pair of shoulder procedures.

Coach Jim McElwain said Franks and Trask looked good throwing the deep ball in a scrimmage last week, but there were some missed intermediate throws and an interception in the red zone.Appleby, meanwhile, says the development he’s seen from […]