Photo: Anthony Richardson; Credit: Alex Shepherd
Perhaps coaches know best in regards to who their starting quarterback should be, or how ready the backup - typically the most popular player on the team - is to suit up on gamedays, playing valuable snaps.
That's been some of the talk surrounding the Florida Gators' quarterback situation as it pertains to redshirt junior QB Emory Jones and redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson. The two have both played during the team's two games thus far this season, and many fans and observers have come away impressed with one: Richardson.
However, the sophomore QB hasn't received the bulk of the snaps, in fact, he's played much less than Jones, the team's primary starting QB. Florida head coach Dan Mullen has stated numerous times that the position is much more complex, and just because a big play is made, doesn't mean the correct decision was.
On Monday, Mullen finally gave an example that shed some clarity as to why Richardson might need some more time to be ready for his moment as the Gators' starting QB.
Mullen gave one example quite plainly:
“An easy one would be if you go back a couple games he drops back, misses a protection check, then misses the hot throw, then misses the primary read, and then scrambles around and runs and everybody thinks, ‘What a spectacular play!’”
While Mullen didn't specify which run that occurred on, there was at least one instance in which the blitz didn't get picked up, forcing Richardson out of the pocket and scrambling for 18 yards against Florida Atlantic.
Those types of mistakes likely can't occur against a more seasoned team, especially one such as Alabama.
One could argue that Richardson does deserve more repetitions despite his mistakes that have gone unseen to the naked eye thus far this season. Over the past two games, Richardson has completed 6 out of 11 of his passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 275 yards and two touchdowns on 11 attempts.
He's been the most explosive offensive player for Florida thus far this season and has excited the UF fanbase so much so that they've constantly commented on social media, giving their opinion of who should start at QB.
Meanwhile, Jones' performance has left something to be desired, with the starting QB completing 31 out of 49 of his passes for 264 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions, including two picks during the team's victory over South Florida on Saturday.
Jones has also rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown on 23 attempts thus far this season.
Mullen feels that making the right reads and checks is something that both QBs need to a better job of, something that they'll grow into.
“They always do. Both our guys do," Mullen said. "I thought in the first half both quarterbacks played really well, made good decisions and I thought in the second half we made a couple poor decisions, missed reads, missed checks, you know, things that you gotta do.
"Taking care of the mental part of the game for both our quarterbacks. I think that’s a big part of it as they continue to grow.”
Even with all of the various opinions of who should or shouldn't start at QB for Florida, Mullen cares not of outside opinions, in fact, he doesn't listen to the opinions at all.
"If you’re in our staff meeting I’m going to listen to your suggestion. I don’t know, I don’t run down to Shands Hospital and say, ‘Boy, I think you should really do that procedure this way,’" Mullen explained.
"I think those guys probably got that under control, you know? So, they’re the people, they’re the experts who are doing it.”
For now, Jones remains the team's starting QB, and Richardson the backup. Whether or not that changes in the future this season remains to be seen, but Mullen clearly wants to see more out of his young signal-caller in order to make that decision.
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