FAYETTEVILLE — Quarterback Feleipe Franks is making the most of his one year in Fayetteville providing the Razorbacks with everything they could have expected and more.
Franks has led Arkansas to three wins in the SEC this season. The Hogs had one SEC win the previous three years combined. They still have at least two games and likely three remaining this season.
Franks has completed 155 of 228 passes for 2,017 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions.He also has rushed 92 times for 229 yards and a touchdown. How does Franks feel he has played?
“Good question,” Franks said. “The numbers I mean….I wanted to obviously personally first and foremost help get wins. Help Arkansas just get wins in the first place. My personal goals was obviously not a number, just always be at the top. So, as of right now, I’m short of that. But, I think it’s good. and I’m just gonna continue to play and continue to get better that’s what it’s about.
“Just being the best version of me I can be. Best version of me whether I step on the field, off the field, just always competing in whatever I’m doing. Just continuing to get better. I think really that’s what it’s all about. I thought it has been good so far, but there’s always room to improve. Always room for me to go out there and get more wins and help contribute to get more wins. It can get better. That’s just me being hard on myself, critical and stuff. But it’s been good so far.”
Arkansas will play Missouri on Saturday, exactly one week after they were originally slated to play them. The extra week combined with the Thanksgiving holiday allowed the players to get a little extra rest.
“It’ll be good,” Franks said. “I think we’ve had a chance to get a lot of guys back. We’re just getting to that stretch, especially the last couple games, where people get banged up. That’s part of the sport, part of the game. Just having a week, or so, for guys to get their bodies back… it’s not a very long period of time, a week. But, getting their bodies back, it was important. It was good, and we’re all excited to get back out there and compete again. Continue being able to go out there to prove that we can do it and get wins week in and week out. Just another opportunity, we’re excited for it.”
Any extra advantage getting to see the extra tape of Missouri since they faced Vanderbilt last Saturday when the Hogs were unable to play because of COVID issues?
“I think just using that tape to add it to your notes,” Franks said. “Add it to however you do when you watch film. Just another kind of stepping stone to get film study in and seeing tendencies and stuff like that. Like I said, they are a very well coached team, really good team especially on defense. We’ve got to go out there and bring our A-game. We’ve got to have a really good week of practice. Those things don’t change and we’ve got to have those things going out there expecting to win. Got to have those things and have a great week of practice. Go out there and compete it will be a really good game.”
Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz knows his team will have its hands full with Franks.
“I don’t really have a basis of comparison because I wasn’t around what they had done in the past at that position there,” Drinkwitz said. “When you watch the tape, you see a guy who obviously has a command of the offense, who gets them in the right situations, makes the right decisions, does a really nice job of adding an extra dimension to the offense with his feet. He’s throwing accurate balls down the field, putting them in tight windows. And RPOs. He’s a tremendous challenge to contain.
“I said yesterday, or whatever day, that I felt like he was playing as good as anybody in the SEC, except for maybe Mac (Jones) and Kyle Trask. But he’s right up there. I’m definitely impressed and we’re going to have our hands full because of the weapons that he has at the wide receiver position. Obviously they’ve got the run game going and the weapon that he is using his feet.”
The Tigers shutout Vanderbilt last week and have a very strong defense.
“I think that Missouri is a very talented defense,” Franks said. “They’re very good up front on the D-line, and they’ve got good players on the back end as well. I don’t think we’re worried about making it a good game, but I think more about just winning the game. Obviously, that’s always the main goal. Not necessarily making it a good game or try to do things like that. I think our main objective is just to win the game, and we don’t waver from that at all.”
While Franks is concerned with the defense he will go against Saturday, he isn’t worried about the 11 a.m. kickoff.
“The best thing that I’ve ever been told in life is you don’t want to worry about things you can’t control,” Franks said. “Like getting mad it’s raining outside. We can’t control an 11 o’clock kickoff. Just go out there, show up and put the ball down and play ball. I think that’s important. You can’t have the mindset of, ‘oh it’s raining’ or ‘oh it’s cold outside’. You’ve got to go out there and compete. That’s what is most important to me. Always having that mindset going into a game no matter what the situation is your presented just go out there and compete. It will be fun 11 am game.”
Running back Trelon Smith has complete confidence in Franks. The two of them will be among the keys against a very good Missouri defense.
“Aw man, I feel like when it’s time for me and Feleipe to step out there on the field this coming Saturday, we’ll be clicking on all levels,” Smith said. “Me and Feleipe we’ve got a real good connection. WE do a good job of communicating in the backfield. I feel like it should be smooth. It should be a smooth game for me and Feleipe.”
The game will be televised on the SEC Network. Arkansas (3-5) is trying to break a two-game losing streak and Missouri is 4-3. The Tigers have won their last two games. Arkansas hasn’t beaten Missouri since 2015.