VIDEO: QB Emory Jones Discusses His Opportunities and Future at Florida
After scoring a career-high three touchdowns against Vanderbilt during Florida's 56-0 victory on Saturday, Gators backup quarterback Emory Jones was naturally excited.
"I mean, definitely excited for me to go out there, and score a touchdown in The Swamp, let alone three," Jones told the media on Tuesday night. "So I feel excited, you know, I took advantage of my opportunities so I feel good."
It's important for Jones to take advantage of those opportunities. The emergence of Kyle Trask after starting quarterback Feleipe Franks has limited Jones' ability to take the field, so every snap Jones takes is crucial.
"I just want to focus on taking advantage of my opportunities," Jones said. "Because I know they are limited, so when I get in there, I have to make something happen."
The second-year quarterback had completed 61.3% of his 31 passes this season for 172 yards and two touchdowns, and has added 152 yards and four scores on 25 rushes, averaging 6.1 yards per rush. In a pass-heavy offense, Jones has been used on occasion to get the run game going, but he's flashed his throwing skills on limited attempts as well.
Despite a strong finish to his 2018 season, Franks had to fight to maintain his starting role in Florida's offense this past spring. That's just the nature of a Dan Mullen-led team: Competition.
And in today's world of college football, the loser of a position battle or falling out of favor often find themselves in the NCAA transfer portal. Given Jones' lack of playing time through his second year in the program while the starter has been injured, many have wondered if Jones would be the next name in the portal, and if his patience was wearing thin.
That doesn't appear to be the case, thanks to head coach Dan Mullen's relationship with Jones.
"Yeah I mean, patience it's kind of hard for anybody, especially in my position," the redshirt freshman continued. "So I mean, but having him [Mullen] around, I mean he always comes and pulls me to the side, tells me 'It's a process', tells me 'Just patience', and tells me one thing I need to work on. So I just focus on those things more... I feel like when I get that spot, eventually, like it just be crazy like, we can do a lot of things."
Provided that Mullen sticks with his competitor philosophy, it's safe to assume there will be a QB battle for the ages in Gainesville this upcoming spring, between the former starter in Franks should he return to full health in time, Trask who has commanded the offense en route to a 6-2 record as a starter, or the young dual-threat in Jones, arguably the best fit for Mullen's smashmouth-spread system.
The 6-2, 202 lb. quarterback (with aspirations of getting to 215 lbs.) looks forward to progressing as a signal-caller when that competition comes, as he fights to earn the starting role.
"I approach like any spring," said Jones. "Just going there and trying to be better and finding little things that we need to work on before getting into camp. I am focused on getting better myself and just staying focus on the next step in the process."