"I don't ever say it's my offense until Coach [Jimbo] Fisher tells me it's my offense," Francois said. "I'll just continue to do what he tells me to do and continue to practice hard every day."
Francois, a redshirt freshman, is the clear leader to start Sept. 5 against Ole Miss in Orlando, Florida, after senior quarterback Sean Maguire suffered a broken bone in his right foot that will sideline him for four weeks. Maguire will undergo surgery Monday.
An Orlando native and elite high school quarterback, Francois said he isn't worried about making his first start in his hometown or facing Ole Miss, which ended 2015 ranked No. 10, on Labor Day.
"I don't think the lights will be too bright. I believe in my preparation, and everything Coach Fisher has taught me is to stay humble and continue to trust the process," he said. "If I prepare well and I continue to do everything I need to do and everything he tells me to do, I feel like I'll be fine."
Francois said it was tough to hear that Maguire would miss four weeks after they worked out together throughout the offseason. Despite competing against each other for the starting position, Francois said the fifth-year senior routinely helped him grasp the offense.
Maguire broke the bone on the second day of practice but tried to play on it the next few days. Following an MRI, the team doctor told Maguire the injury would get progressively worse without surgery.
"I worked my tail off this summer. I didn't go home for spring break or in May when we were off. I was here rehabbing this foot, and when this [left] one got healthy, I got up every morning at 6 a.m. with the linemen," Maguire said. "These past few days have went pretty bad.
"... That's the most disappointing because of what I went through this whole offseason as far as rehab and working out and watching Ole Miss tape. I've never felt more ready for a season."
Expected to be the starter in 2015, Maguire lost the job to transfer Everett Golson the week of the season opener. Maguire would be shuffled in and out of the lineup during the second half of the season before being named the starter after leading a comeback win off the bench. He suffered a broken left ankle in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl but returned to the game. He missed spring practice recovering from surgery.
The expectation is Maguire will be ready for the second or third week of the season.
"After the surgery," he said, "it's all hands on deck to be back to full strength."