Notebook: Which game will UF’s freshman quarterback play in?

Florida freshman quarterback Emory Jones (5) hands off to freshman running back Dameon Pierce in the game against Charleston Southern on Sept. 1 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. The Gators beat Charleston Southern 53-6. [Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun Correspondent]

True freshman Florida quarterback Emory Jones can play one more game this season and still redshirt.

The question now is which game will it be? Florida State on Saturday? Or Florida’s bowl game?

No decision has been made yet, UF coach Dan Mullen said.

“At some point during the game (there will be a decision),” Mullen said. “A lot of it, in my deal, we’ve got to prepare for him to play, right? Because first off he’s a snap away from being our starter. So we’re going to prepare for him to play. Then during the game we’ll make the decision whether or not he goes in or not. But we’re going to prepare for him to play all week.”

Under the new redshirt rule, Jones can play in four games this season and still redshirt. He played in his third game, against Idaho, last Saturday. He came into the game late in the first half and played most of the rest of the game, completing 12 of 16 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

With Kyle Trask out for the season with a knee injury, Jones and starter Feleipe Franks are the only healthy scholarship quarterbacks on the roster.

Those blocking WRs

Florida’s wide receivers not only are making plays in the passing game, they’re also making a major contribution in the ground game with their blocking on the edge and downfield.

Wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales said you can’t play wide receiver if you can’t block.

Well, they’re all playing — and blocking.

“They do a great job,” Mullen said. “You look at what Billy does with his group, how much time they spend on it, the pride that they take in being great blocking receivers. It’s really important to them.

“You watch how they practice, the physicalness in practice, how they treat it and the unselfishness of the guys that play that position. A lot of receivers, they’re worried about the catches, and I’ve never seen one of them worry about that.

“They’re worried about, did they grade a champion? Did they grade out a winning performance? That’s what they’re worried about, and that has more to do with blocking than it does with catching.”

Junior wide receiver Josh Hammond said the receivers work on blocking every day in practice.

“Whether it’s blocking for bubble (screens), whether it’s blocking for runs with (Jordan) Scarlett, it’s something that we really work on,” Hammond said. “Just having that individual time has definitely added up. You’ve seen the success we’ve had running and it’s been big for us, especially at receiver, just being able to block on the perimeter to help those guys sprint out those runs.”

Early scouting report

There has been growing speculation that the Gators could end up playing Central Florida in a bowl game. With that possibility looming, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was asked about the Knights after practice Monday.

He offered a mini-scouting report.

“I’ve watched them in spurts a little bit because as you know they’ve played on Thursday nights, Friday nights and last Saturday,” Grantham said. “I think they’re a really talented team. I think they have an excellent quarterback (McKenzie Milton). They do a good job on offense, and they’ve got some weapons.

“I haven’t studied (Milton), but when you watch him he makes some throws that are in tight windows and in places that only the receiver can get them. There’s a reason they’re winning. They’ve got good players and they do a good job. They’re doing well.”

Stiner seeks silence

The Gators have been practicing to the mind-numbing beat of the FSU warchant this week. Sophomore safety Donovan Stiner has already grown tired of it, with much more of it to come Saturday in Tallahassee

“I don’t really like it very much,” Stiner said. “We’re going to have to make them stop playing it (Saturday).”

Stiner said he doesn’t like cowbells or the song “Rocky Top” either. The Gators heard plenty of both earlier this season

“I hate that one (cowbells),” he said. “I don’t like any of them, so I don’t want to hear any of them.”


  1. If Franks is playing well and it isn’t a blowout, keep Franks in and let Jones play in the bowl game. The UF-FSU game is a rivalry game and a regular season game. The Bowl game which will most likely be against a top 10 team, would be much better for Jones to get his experience in. The bowl game, while a big game is really meaningless unless you are in the top 4.

  2. I would start Jones in the FSU game to make it more difficult on their defense. With the RPO, Jones could make their defense look like a Highschool team. Or use Toney in the Wild Gator packages a lot with Franks starting. Either way we must beat FSU this year to make the Universe right again. There is a lot of very good players that will be heading for the draft this year. So, I hope that some of our Juniors decide to return for one more year. They will get better and be drafted higher the following year. Oh well…we just have to wait and see. GO GATORS!!!

  3. So earlier in the season, I thought there was a comment that we basically HAD to play Jones in the bowl game so that he would get the extra 2 weeks of practice that non-bowl teams ( FSU after Saturday) won’t get. However the entire team gets the extra 2 weeks, so he would still get the practice time, right?

    Now, if he plays against FSU and then our bowl game IS a new year’s 6 bowl, then he would be playing in the year 2019. Does that count as this season or next season?

    I realize that if the bowl game counted against his 1st season, and he had used his last of 4 redshirt games against FSU, then his practice would not have the same meaning because the plan would be to Not play him unless absolutely necessary.

    I hope that we leave him on the sideline for FSU, and he plays (a lot) in the bowl game. If Frank’s looks like he did against Mizzou, then we might have to burn the last redshirt game against FSU, but I hope not.

          • Yeah, I’m pretty sure it is, 6. That’s the way the article reads, so unless Robbie is misinformed, the bowl game counts. I think Sparky’s right; it’s best to get by FSU without playing him, in case you have to have him for the bowl game. Otherwise, if Franks is injured or ineffective in the bowl game, Jones’ redshirt would be burned.

          • Yeah, pretty sure of it too, Joe….dang it. After that prolonged glimpse of him tho, I’m thinking about joining the “to hell with the red shirt” crowd myself!

            Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, bud…..may God continue to bless us all.

          • I know what you mean, 6. Some guys on here make convincing arguments about the redshirt not making much difference. I’d like to see what Jones can do throwing the ball with more opportunities against a quality opponent, because I think it’s his arm, not his legs, that’s needed to take the Gators to the next level.

            Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, and Amen!

    • mv, you are correct about this being a game UF could lose… Actually, every game Franks plays in…he is capable of losing the game with his inaccuracy throwing the ball to open RW’s, fumbles and throwing into double coverage…at critical times …fact is…you just never know what Franks will show up for the game…if you swap QB’s in our last two loses…with the UG and Missouri QB’s ,,,,UF wins both of those games…Franks really needs to improve on his accuracy and decision making to improve, in his development…he really has trouble making third downs when he has to throw the ball. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed and he has a good game…Jones looked really good last Saturday throwing the ball…the best he has looked all season…before last weeks game he looked fairly good throwing the ball in practice…this is really encouraging because all during the fall and the season… he has struggled throwing the ball in practice…Mullen’s lease on Franks has shorten a bit…If Franks struggles, I do believe Jones will come in…last year Franks lost that game with all his interceptions, fumbles and key 3rd downs incomplete passes…It appears, Trask will be available for the bowl game…so, Jones will be able to keep his red shirt.

      • the article says that trask is out for the season, but if he will be available for the bowl game, then what you are suggesting, that jones play against FSU if we are not winning, i do think mullen lets the play on the field make the decision, particularly at this point of the year

        • It does say Trask is out, but it also says it’s a knee injury, and I thought it was a fractured foot. I also read something the other day that suggested he might be available for the bowl game, so I don’t know what to believe.

          • I believe CDM said in his Mon presser that Trask would or should be back for the bowl game, I remember thinking that it must be a minor bone break in his foot and those usually take about 6 weeks to heal. Of course you still have to worry about the rust of not practicing for that long with timing, etc. Some guys its not an issue with, other really struggle, but I get the sense that He would jump at the opportunity to show what he can do in a bowl game, rust be darned..

          • Thanks, Pappagator. After I posted above I found that it was an article from Zach Albolverdi that I had read about Trask being back for the bowl game. You’re right about the rust, but just the prospect of having him back for the bowl might make CDM more likely to use Jones against FSU. I’m sure Trask would love the opportunity to show his skills, and I’d love to see it.

          • Me too, he looks to me like he see’s the field better and is more able to work the middle and intermediate routes that Franks struggles with so much.

  4. My guess is that Emory Jones does not play against the Noles unless Franks gets hurt or his performance is so bad that Mullen yanks him out of the game. I don’t see the latter happening, but this game is critical to the early recruiting period and overall recruiting. Mullen could use the extra practice time before a bowl game to put in a package for Jones similar to the Georgia game.

  5. Florida went from a 3 to 6 / 6.5 favorite over FSWho. Money coming in increased the spread. FSWho’s record is a dismal 5 – 6 with some blowout losses to quality teams, but they have a lot of motivation to put out maximum effort, bowl game streak, rivalry game and being a 6 point dog in a series in which you have won 5 straight. They are getting no respect. Expect Taggert to play the no respect card.

    • Let him play it Mexi…..just as long as he doesn’t try to count all those mail-in-points after the game is over.

      By the way, thanks for doing the special topic on the elite program question — very interesting.

  6. Logically, it makes no sense to play Emory against FSU unless Feleipe is absolutely flat and commits, say, a third turnover. At minimum, we need two quarterbacks for the bowl game.

    That said, I agree with others that this is the most important game of the year. Whatever it takes to win. I’m expecting a virtuoso play-calling performance by Mullen, and a ton of blitzing by Grantham.

    Gators have been tough on the road this year, which I suspect is a big factor in the spread.

  7. Welcome to Gator Nation Donovan, yes the cowbells ARE annoying, and yes ” Rocky Top ” is a cool song the first 3000 times you hear it and after that its just annoying also, but that stupid Ya-Ya warchant you will soon learn to hate if you haven’t already. I’d rather listen to a dog vomit !
    I haven’t been this nervous about a game in a LONG time, in fact, I can’t remember the last time a Gator game had me this anxious. I feel kind of like a kid on Christmas eve, REALLY hoping my present is going to be a good one. ( and I think it is ). Been a long time since we have had a game that had this much on the line that we had a realistic chance of winning, much less favored in.. Go Gators!

  8. I can’t speak for all of Gator Nation of course, but for me, this one makes or breaks the season in a big way. Win, and we are way ahead of schedule on the Dan train to a natty, recruiting is back on track, we are State Champs again and all is right with the world. Lose, and a REALLY good season that exceeded expectations, just becomes an ok one for me. I am sick of losing to those bums. GO Gators !