Dual threat: Florida plans to use Trask, Jones vs. Vols

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Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) is expected to get the start Saturday against Tennessee. Emory Jones will also see action, UF coach Dan Mullen said. [The Associated Press]

Florida quarterback Kyle Trask will make his first collegiate start Saturday against Tennessee, something he’s earned with his performance in rallying the Gators to a victory at Kentucky last Saturday night.

But it won’t necessarily be his game. Or, rather, his complete game. Because Trask will be sharing playing time with redshirt freshman Emory Jones. That was the word from UF coach Dan Mullen on Monday. He plans to play two quarterbacks against the Vols.

“I expect us to play both guys, in combination, for several different reasons,” Mullen said. “They both bring something different to the table. How they run certain plays, you get a little different weapon.

“Now, you went from having two experienced backups to two inexperienced starters. So, we’ve got to get those guys in the game, get them reps, get them comfortable. But every time both have been in the game they’ve performed at a pretty high level for us. You’re comfortable with that, but now it’s a little different role and you’ve got to get them both ready to go.”

When starting quarterback Feleipe Franks went down late in the third quarter against Kentucky with a dislocated ankle that has ended his season, Trask got the call and the redshirt junior responded in a big, positive way.

He entered the game in the fourth quarter with the Gators trailing 21-10, and quickly got the offense moving, leading UF to a touchdown in his first series, starting the drive with four consecutive completions totaling 54 yards.

Later in the quarter, he led the Gators on another touchdown drive that gave UF the lead for good with 4:11 to play.

In his one quarter of work, Trask completed nine of 13 passes for 126 yards and the Gators outscored the Wildcats 19-0 to pull out a 29-21 victory.

Heading into the second half, Mullen had planned to play Jones at some point. But the way the third quarter was playing out, with the Wildcats building a 21-10 lead, there was no ideal time to insert Jones. Then Franks got hurt in the closing minutes of the quarter and Mullen had a decision to make: Jones or Trask.

He went with the more experienced Trask, with the plan to also use Jones at some point.

“I just think, in the situation we were in, we were going to let (Trask) take the first snap,” Mullen said. “We were planning on playing both guys at that point. Actually, I had a couple of plays that we were going to call for Emory coming out in the second half, didn’t get them called and then Feleipe goes down.

“So you’re going to put Trask in at first just to get everybody settled down, he has a little more experience. And he came in and he was hot, and how we were moving the ball, it was going to fit with what he was doing. We just never got to the other plays at that point. We were kind of moving it and we just stuck with what we were calling.”

Now, as the Gators move forward without Franks, both former backups are going to be in the game plan, starting with Saturday’s game.

Trask and Jones both have some game playing experience and have gotten extensive reps in practice during their time at UF. Trask is probably known as the better passer, while Jones is a legitimate dual-threat quarterback capable of making some dynamic things happen with his legs, scrambling out of the pocket and on designed QB runs.

Both are ready for the moment, Mullen said.

“I sat down with Kyle and Emory this morning and I said, ‘Here is the great thing, you guys have gotten enough reps to be prepared for this,’ ” Mullen said. “It’s not like, ‘OK, we really need to load up now because you’re the guy. You’ve gotten a lot of reps. I know you guys are prepared for this moment.’

“We’re not going to change the offense around completely around them. Our job is putting them in position and do what they do well and let them be successful out there on the field. I think they know the team and the coaches have confidence (in them).

“Kyle’s been in the huddle with the ones a ton. Emory’s been in the huddle with the ones. Those guys have gotten with the guys that they’re going to be playing with. So there’s already that comfort level when we’re actually on the field.”

Mullen and the offensive coaches will spend the week working on a plan on how to best use the two quarterbacks so that the offense can run with maximum efficiency.

The two QB system will be effective, senior wide receiver Josh Hammond said.

“It will work out well,” he said. “Both guys will be prepared. Emory obviously brings a different aspect to the game with his running ability and that will be something big for our offense just to have that dynamic and causing the defense to have to adapt to different things within a game.

“It will be a lot harder for a team to game plan against the two of them than just to prepare for one of them. We will be able to play both of those guys this weekend and they’ll both be prepared and ready to make plays for us on offense.”

Trask hasn’t started a game since his freshman year of high school. Now that he’s finally getting his opportunity to start, he’s going to end up sharing some playing time. But he seems OK with that.

“We’re here to do what’s best for the team,” Trask said. “Whatever we need to do, we’ll do whatever the coaches ask. When our number is called, I’m sure we’ll produce.”


Up next

Who: Tennessee (1-2, 0-0 SEC) vs. Florida (3-0, 1-0)

When: Noon Saturday

Where: Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium

TV: ESPN

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850

12 COMMENTS

    • You know, that was the first thing that came to my mind too, GI. Not a bad thing, with them both having unique skill sets…..should keep defenses off balance and might give the OL a chance to mature a little more before we really get to the tough games that are going to make or break us this season. I for one am excited about it!

      • Yep, 6! Great minds… lol… And if you really think about it, 6, only Urban and Dan successfully coached 2 rotating QBs to a National Championship (2006) at Florida.
        I know the HBC beat (then #1) ranked FSU with rotating QBs (Johnson & Brindise), but that was just 1 game. So there really isn’t a better Head Coach than Coach Mullen to try to pull this off with long term success. However, I’m not expecting a Natty for this team, but still, they control their own destiny, so… Go Gators!

  1. I am hoping that we become a pass first team to set up the run. I think Trask has the ability to make quick decision and get the ball out quick. We need to use the short passing game as running plays. Starting the Tennessee game like we played the fourth quarter would bring back the Fun & Gun. Use the strength of this team. Start fast and make it a track meet. Become one dimensional and use that experience and talent of the receiving corp.

  2. Sounds like Mullen has the situation under control. Makes sense to have both ready and plan to use both. I’m sure if the situation dictates, he won’t hesitate to play one or the other more than anticipated to give the Gators the best opportunity to win. Although he won’t alter the offensive scheme completely, Mullen will call plays based on the strengths of each player. Given the opportunity, Trask may be able to surprise some with his running ability, and hopefully Jones can throw the ball well enough to keep the D from being able to sell out to contain his running. You certainly don’t want a situation where you’re telegraphing plays based on which QB is in the game. But CDM obviously knows all that and will plan appropriately and adjust as necessary.

    • Joe, I’m going to introduce something a tad controversial here — tmcurvel above got me thinking about the Fun n’ Gun, you know what I mean, starts with one neuron wiggling around a little, next thing you know another one does it too, which eventually turns into a synapse and before you know it you’re actually having a thought. Or else you fall back asleep, it can go either way at that juncture. Now, we know CDM is his own OC, calling all the plays. But what if he were to suddenly get a wild hair and decide to actually hire an OC?
      Say, Kerwin Bell for instance.

      Just for gits and shiggles, whatcha think would be the outcome of that little venture?

      • Wow, 6! I didn’t see that coming. That takes some thought to work through. I don’t think he’s likely to do it, but I understand you’re asking the hypothetical “what if?”.

        I know the “Kerwin experiment” at USF is struggling now, but I think that’s a problem of less than adequate talent and not a problem with Kerwin’s coaching or scheme. I think that given more talent and time, Kerwin will turn it around at USF. I think he could be great, given the talent at UF, but he’d still need to get improved OL play to be truly successful.

        Having said that, I think the HBC’s demise at USCe was brought about in large part by him letting Steve, Jr. call plays. Just like with Bobby and Jeff at FSU, a father’s love for his son clouded his judgement and accelerated the end of his career. As long as CDM is successful calling plays for himself, I’m not sure it’s wise to hand off that duty to anyone else.

  3. CDM has demonstrated he can handle a two QB situation. He did just fine with Chris Leak and Tim Tebow. He now needs to judiciously get Emory Jones real playing time in order to prepare him to step in if, God forbid, we lose Trask the way we lost Franks. Based on what I saw in the spring game and vs. UTM, Jones needs more seasoning as a passer. He seems to have difficulties reading defenses and throwing accurately to secondary receivers.

    That said, two points became very evident in the 4th quarter vs. Kentucky. First, Kyle Trask takes less time to find open receivers and get rid of the ball than Franks does. Second, the Gator OL is much better at pass blocking than run blocking at this time. Going forward, both of those points argue for more Trask and less Jones, at least until Jones demonstrates better pocket passing skills than he has to date. Those same two points also argue for more passing and less running, at least until opposing defenses adjust and drop safeties back into pass coverage on first down and second and medium yardage.

  4. I would be surprised if Mullen play EJ for more than a couple of series. He’ll do it just to keep the opposition honest to prepare for both QBs. I don’t expect Trask on any designed runs, not that he can’t or isn’t a willing runner. For short yardage situations, I would put EJ in but only after thinking long and hard about using him. It’s not because EJ isn’t a good runner or not ready for the job. The problem Mullen faces is that he is down to two quarterbacks. He can’t afford to lose another or we will become one dimensional, if we aren’t already there. With two QBs, at least he can roll the dice on a few designed runs with EJ to keep the defense honest.

    We are 3-0 but my outlook for the rest of the season is trending down. It’s not because Trask wasn’t great against UK or going to great the rest of the way. It’s because the mounting injuries and lack of depth in a few position groups is a big concern. Losing Henderson was big and really hurt. The safeties are going to have to play safety because he’s not going to put Dean, Elam, or whoever on an island. I know Mullen holds out hope that Henderson could be back this week but I doubt we will see him back before Auburn at the earliest. Speaking of mounting injuries, I still believe there is no correlation between it and the Savage or any other strength of conditioning program. It’s just the nature of the game and some years are worse than others.