Josh Hammond explains why Gators fought so hard to rally for Feleipe Franks, credits Dan Mullen for preparing Kyle Trask
The Gators could have easily folded when Feleipe Franks went down Saturday night in Lexington. Losing your starting quarterback is never easy but doing it on the road, down 11 with a fired up home fan base cheering against you would make any team question whether a fourth-quarter comeback was realistic.
However, instead of folding, Florida answered the call and responded with a 19-point quarter to survive Lexington and beat Kentucky 29-21 Saturday night.
How tough was it to keep going after Franks went down? According to receiver Josh Hammond, seeing the team’s leader go down was initially devastating.
“Feleipe is definitely the leader for our offense, he works so hard for our team, tries to be the best he can every single day… Seeing him go down was definitely devasting for our team,” Hammond said during a recent appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show. “Guys were just ready to rally and guys were just ready to play for him at that point and tried to go get a win for him.”
Despite the emotions of that moment, the Gators did everything they could to fight back and rally for their fallen quarterback. Hammonds said Franks deserved that effort after all he has put in for the Florida program.
“Just knowing he didn’t take that last play for granted, Feleipe comes to work and gives his hardest every single day on every single play,” Hammonds continued. “From a player perspective, just knowing he is giving that effort for us, and going as hard as he can to make plays for our team for us to be successful, we would try to do the same thing for him and give that same feedback to him.”
Once Franks went down, backup Kyle Trask saved the day with a heroic performance that will join the list of impressive single-game performances in Florida history. While most viewers were likely surprised by Trask’s performance, Hammond said he wasn’t surprised by the quarterback’s performance, despite the difficult circumstances.
“No, I wasn’t. I knew he would be prepared. Coach Mullen does a good job rotating all three of those guys throughout practice, Feleipe, Kyle and Emory, just to make sure they get the reps just in case, you never know what could happen,” Hammonds added. “We were comfortable once Kyle got in and Coach Mullen did a good job playcalling and throwing the hitch early to Van [Jefferson] to get him comfortable in the game and he was able to make plays for us and help lead us to the win.”
Leave it to Dan Mullen to have his backup ready to win the day on the road in the fourth quarter. If Florida is going to win the SEC East this season, they will have to do so without Franks under center but it sounds like the team was prepared for that unforeseen situation all along, based on Hammonds comments.