There is a consensus around the SEC that Florida QB Feleipe Franks has the opportunity to be one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but he’s not there yet. With Dan Mullen coaching him, Franks’ chances of improving, especially in a second season, improve dramatically. But where does that stand entering the season opener against Miami?

At a press conference on Monday, Mullen said Franks has improved more in the offseason than he did all of last season. Mullen said he hoped to extend the streak of quarterbacks he’s coached who have excelled in their second year under his tutelage.

“They understand it,” Mullen said of the system. “It’s a very quarterback-friendly, quarterback-based offense. But as those guys get more confident in how to use the offense, they can have bigger years.”

With that confidence comes more freedom to change a play at the line of scrimmage.

“He just needs to know why and if he can tell me why, he’ll get more leeway,” Mullen said, and added that Franks had the freedom last year, but didn’t know do it much. “They understand how the offense works and why we’re calling it. They’ve got to learn what to do, how to do it and why we do it, and once they understand the why we do it, then they really get involved in the scheme of the game plan and can really adjust things and control things on the field by themselves.”

As a leader, Mullen hesitated, and then said, “we’ll see” when asked if the quarterback could get to the high standard the coach expects. The coach has said that he’s looking for “alpha dogs” among his players, but has been slow to identify many.

Franks has taken “huge strides” in decision making and mental and physical toughness since last year, Mullen said.

“I think he’s already improved more during the offseason than he did last season on the field, in his performance and understanding the system and decision making and making plays,” Mullen said. “But it is the big picture of the quarterback and every intangible that comes with that.”

The first glimpse of this improvement comes on Saturday in Orlando against Miami.