Franks may be welcoming challenge of turning things around quick for Hogs

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If you want a clearer picture of the difference between this Arkansas football staff and the last one all you really have to do is look at the graduate transfer quarterback each landed.

Kendal Briles and Sam Pittman landed a starter from an SEC team that has had success in the league and actually sounds enthusiastic about landing in Fayetteville.

The guys before brought in their previous quarterback who had never really won that much against Group of 5 teams and never over the big boys. We’re not even going to discuss letting a quarterback get away who then came back to town and embarrassed them with a Conference USA supporting cast.

Feleipe Franks sounded Friday like he’s glad to be in Fayetteville. The last quarterback sounded bored.

And it was clear pretty quick Briles’ track record at Baylor, Houston and Florida Atlantic got Franks’ attention.

“I’ve seen it work before,” Franks said of the Briles offense. “It’s been proven to work before.”

The Razorbacks’ current chaos is probably worse than things were with the Gators in 2017 when Jim McElwain stepped down as the coach as the team slipped to a 4-7 record and the coach left in the middle of the season.

Coming off a 9-4 record in 2016 and an SEC Championship game appearance that was a complete disaster in Gainesville.

But Franks was a part of how quickly things turned around.

“I’ve seen teams turn around in a year,” he said. “Just the motivation and stuff. We’re on the right track. If we approach it the right way it’ll be a blessing in the end.”

Listening to him Friday he almost seemed attracted to the challenge of turning around a team that has lost the same number of games each of the last two seasons as he won in his full season as the starter at Florida.

“It would have been easy for me to go to a top program where it’s already good, but who am I really helping there?” he said. “When I was at Florida we went 4-7 and the next we year we go and win 10 games and a New Year’s Six bowl.

“It’s about the motivation and we have that on this team. It just takes that one spark to start the turnaround, maybe a different coaching staff, a change.”

That’s what happened with the Gators as Dan Mullen came in, named Franks the starter and they made a drastic improvement.

Franks completed 58.4 percent of his passes in 2018 with 24 touchdowns and just six interceptions out of 322 attempts.

“I love being the underdog,” he said. “That’s what makes me go harder each and every day to just prove more and more people wrong. That’s a good mentality for this team … just prove people wrong.

“All it takes is a flip of a switch and it turns around quick.”

Which is exactly what the Hogs’ fans are hoping happens.

 

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