Photo: Emory Jones; Credit: Zach Goodall, AllGators.com
There won't be much of a quarterback controversy among the coaching staff and players in Gainesville just yet, as head coach Dan Mullen re-affirmed his confidence in Emory Jones despite sophomore QB Anthony Richardson putting on a show under the lights.
During Saturday night's 35-14 victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls, Florida played both Jones and Richardson, showing off just how versatile the team can be with its quarterback position.
But, Jones' performance did leave much to be desired, sparking a bit of dialogue among media and fans regarding who should ultimately be the Gators' starting signal-caller as the season goes on.
On the night, Jones completed 17 out of 27 of his passes for 113 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. One interception would occur in the end zone, with the other taking place on the right side of the field after a lobbed pass to Rick Wells Jr. hung in the air for a bit too long.
Richardson would take over for Jones late in the second half after playing sparingly throughout the night, but completed just three out of eight of his passes for 40 yards. It would be the legs of Richardson that would steal the show, however, running away from the Owl defense for a staggering 160 yards, including a long 73-yard touchdown on just seven runs on the day.
Still, Mullen doesn't feel that he needs to do anything different, neither QB was perfect, and Jones will remain the starter, and Mullen trusts that Jones will continue to be able to lead the offense. Richardson simply isn't ready to do everything just yet.
“His decision-making and getting us through every part of the game. Obviously, when you look at what happened and with Anthony coming in, did some nice things. I mean, you got to run the whole offense," Mullen said following the contest.
"And so I think and Anthony’s really growing with that and growing with situations. So I think he’ll continue to grow with situations as we move forward and Emory’s going to continue to grow, so…”
There were some mistakes made by Jones last night aside from the two turnovers. Mullen made mention of a couple of reads and checks that will need to be cleaned up during practice. There was also some miscommunication between Jones and the sideline with the redshirt junior receiving the wrong signal on a fourth-and-goal during the first half.
"In that situation, it doesn’t seem right, he’s got to take a timeout for us and say, 'This doesn’t seem right, just let me just make sure and ... fix [the] errors that come from the sideline [and] fix it on the field.'”
Mullen would later reiterate that the miscommunication isn't only on Jones, however, it's on everybody.
As for Richardson, Mullen felt the sophomore did a nice job, stating again how exciting the young QB can be with the ball in his hand. Still, Jones is the team's quarterback, and the Gators will continue to rotate and roll in Richardson when they feel it makes sense throughout the course of a game.
"Obviously, Emory is our starter and we say, but as you get the experience you roll the guys through. We did that tonight and it was great to see them both make some really explosive plays."
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