Updated: Nov 16, 2019
Emory Jones has become a lesson in patience.
The No. 11 Florida Gators redshirt freshman quarterback is the prototypical Dan Mullen quarterback, a running passer with open field elusiveness that helps open up his passing game.
He harkens back to Mullen quarterbacks of old: Tim Tebow, Dak Prescott, Nick Fitzgerald. As such, the anticipation for his full implementation into this offense has always simmered and reached a fever pitch at other times. So when starter Feleipe Franks went down with a season ending injury versus Kentucky, the question that had been whispered on the wind for a year was suddenly being yelled from the mountain tops. What does this mean for Emory Jones?
For his part, Emory Jones admits he had an idea of what would become of the quarterback position between he and Kyle Trask following Franks’ injury.
“I kind of like knew how it was already. [Mullen] just told us, told both of us you know, 'Just stay ready', like exactly when he went down he came to both of us, like 'both of y'all are probably going to play the rest of this game', Kyle went in, he was hot.”
Trask was hot, and took over the reins to the starting role, a position in which he has flourished since. Jones has seen his role increase as well, compared to his redshirt season in 2018 at least.
Not long after Franks’ injury, Dan Mullen sat down with Jones and Trask and outlined his vision for the two of them moving forward. He talked about Chris Leak, Tim Tebow and the two quarterback system that changed the game. He talked about the duo that worked together, selflessly sharing snaps within a game and with Trask and Jones “how we can be something similar to that sometimes.”
When Mullen was the Gators offensive coordinator in 2006, he shucked the restricting rule that having two quarterbacks means having none and instead won a National Championship with the two sharing the role. As such, the rotating passers has become a romanticized concept that other schools have tried to emulate and the Florida fan base has been hoping to replicate since. When Trask—the pocket passer—and Jones—the duel threat—took over for Franks’, fans thought it would finally happen again.
In the games since, Jones hasn’t received a bulk share of snaps in any game. He’s been used for plays here and there, typically only playing for extended drives when the score was firmly in hand.
It’s never easy for a competitor, having to stand on the sideline while those around you are playing. As Mullen has pointed out more than once, every other position on the field can have multiple guys play the entire game. The scope for quarterback is much more limited. Jones has elected to use the experience from which to learn.
“I feel like, like me getting better is like the biggest thing to me anyways, just getting better day by day, so I mean if I'm playing or not, I'm still bettering myself… patience it's kind of hard for anybody, especially in my position. So I mean, but having [Mullen] around, I mean he always comes and pulls me to the side, tells me 'It's a process', tells me 'Just patience', and tell me one thing I need to work on. So I just focus on those things more.”
Perhaps, we look back at that 2006 season with rose colored glasses; we remember the jump pass and think the entire season was made up of moments like that and that the two quarterbacks took an exactly equal number of snaps.
To better understand how Dan Mullen has used Emory Jones along with Kyle Trask this season, we revisited that 2006 season to see exactly how the coach used Leak and Tebow and examined just how much it might or might not mirror Trask and Jones.
Statistically, Tebow had a more productive freshman season within the two quarterback system than Emory has been so far this season. Granted, we are accounting for all 14 of the games in Tebow’s 2006 season whereas Jones’ season with the Gators thus far has only been 11 games.
Tebow was used for 18% of Florida’s offensive plays the 2006 season. Comparatively, Jones’ has been used for 15% of the Gators offensive plays so far this 2019 season.
The Breakdown 2006:
Total offensive plays: 875
Total plays Tebow was on the field for as quarterback: 155
Total Tebow passing stats: 22-33-1, 339 yards, 5TD
Total Tebow rushing stats: 89 rushes, 474 yards, 8TD
The Breakdown 2019:
Total offensive plays: 719
Total plays Emory was on the field for as quarterback: 105
Total Emory passing stats: 20-31, 220 yards, 2TD
Total Emory rushing stats: 34 rushes, 191 yards, 4TD
First appearances in each game (+ any notable appearances)
2006 vs Southern Miss: 3rd quarter, up 21-7…had five plays total
2019 vs. Miami: no Emory plays
2006 vs. UCF: 2nd quarter, up 13-0, took over completely in the 3rd quarter up 42-0...had 29 plays total
2019 vs. UT Martin: 3rd quarter, up 24-0, came in mid drive on a 1st-and-10. Had two plays, then Feleipe Franks came back…had 14 plays total
2006 vs. Tennessee: 1st quarter on the second drive, all snaps taken essentially as a wildcat...had seven plays total
2019 vs. Kentucky: no Emory plays
2006 vs. Kentucky: 3rd quarter, up 19-7…had nine plays total
2019 vs. Tennessee: 1st quarter, second drive, up 7-0. Had a handoff which was fumbled by Malik Davis. Came back in the 2nd quarter up 10-0…had 16 plays total
2006 vs. Alabama: 2nd quarter, down 10-0. The first scoring drive was 12 plays; nine-Leak, three-Tebow. Tebow came in when the drive was on the 2-yard line and rushed for a touchdown…had 10 plays total
2019 vs. Towson: 4th quarter, up 31-0, came in for first drive of the quarter and played the remainder of the game
2006 vs. LSU: 1st quarter, 3rd drive, down 7-0. The scoring drive was 11 plays; eight-Leak, three-Tebow. This was the jump pass…had 14 plays total
2019 vs. Auburn: 1st quarter, up 7-6, started the drive for two plays then Trask came back...15 plays total, 13 of which were why Trask was hurt
2006 vs. Auburn: 2nd quarter, up 10-8. Entered in the middle of the drive for one play. Rushed for a 16-yard touchdown…had three plays total
2019 vs. LSU: 1st quarter, second drive, came in mid drive on 1st down, rushed for 12 yards…the first scoring drive of 2nd quarter was 13 plays; eight-Trask, five-Jones...had 17 plays total
2006 vs. Georgia: 1st quarter, first drive, midway through the drive and ran one play in that drive, a rush for 20 yards…had seven plays total
2019 vs. South Carolina: 2nd quarter, down 10-3, came in mid drive for a rush...had 1 play total
2006 vs. Vanderbilt: 2nd quarter, up 15-6 and was given all three plays in the drive…had 10 plays total
2019 vs. Georgia: 2nd quarter, down 10-0, came in mid drive for a rush...had 1 play total
2006 vs. South Carolina: 1st quarter, first drive, seventh play; a one-yard run…had seven plays total
2019 vs. Vanderbilt: 1st quarter, second drive, 0-0. Came in mid drive on 2nd and 4 for a handoff then rush. In 4th quarter, Trask took drive down to 1-yard line, then Emory came in for the touchdown...had 14 plays total
2006 vs. Western Carolina: 2nd quarter, up 27-0…had 30 plays total
2019 vs. Missouri: 1st quarter, 3rd drive, up 3-0. Rotated Emory with Kadarius Toney at quarterback for four plays then brought Trask in for 3rd down. Also let Emory throw deep to Toney for a 48 yard completion...had seven plays total
2006 vs. Florida State: 1st quarter, first drive, play nullified with a flag, then returned the next drive for one play, a quarterback sneak…had five plays total
2006 vs. Arkansas (SEC Championship): 2nd quarter, came in for a rush…had eight plays total
2006 vs. Ohio State (National Championship: 1st quarter, first offensive drive, down 0-7 came in for a rush…had 11 plays total
The Gators still have at least three more games this season (two regular season, one bowl game) which leaves more possibilities for Emory Jones to take advantage of each and any opportunity. And if you ask him, he’ll be more than ready.
“Rest of the season I just want to focus on taking advantage of my opportunities because I know they are limited, so when I get in there, I have to make something happen.”