Notebook: Jones will have opportunity in bowl

Florida coach Dan Mullen said Friday freshman QB Emory Jones (5) is seeing a lot of work during bowl practice. [Cyndi Chambers/ Correspondent]

True freshman quarterback Emory Jones has been getting extended snaps in practice and likely will have a package of plays for the Peach Bowl. But his exact role for the game has yet to be determined, UF coach Dan Mullen said Friday.

“He’s getting a lot of reps in practice right now,” he said. “We haven’t really started putting the game plan together when you are on the road flying from one place to the next (recruiting). You’re watching a bunch of film within the game plan.

“We haven’t set the game plan for what his role will be coming into the game. At the practices, he’s certainly getting a lot of reps and a lot of extra time. Getting him ready for the spring.”

Jones played more than half the game against Idaho on Nov. 17. That appearance left him with the opportunity to play in one more game and still redshirt this season.

As the backup quarterback going into the FSU game, Jones was an injury away from becoming the starter. But Feleipe Franks did not get hurt and the mop-up duty late in the game went to walk-on quarterback Nick Sproles.

So, Jones now will have an opportunity in Atlanta.

“We didn’t put in a package for him in that (FSU) game,” Mullen said. “He was the backup quarterback in that game. It was one of those deals, where if Feleipe was injured he would go play.

“Within the FSU game that was the plan. If a helmet popped off, he wouldn’t have gone in. You saw at the end of the game he didn’t go in in that situation. That was kind of the plan going into it, if he was going to play he was going to play because there was an injury and he had to go in.”

Practices open again

After Friday’s practice was closed to the public due to inclement weather, Mullen announced the Saturday and Sunday practices will be open. The Gators practiced in the indoor practice facility Friday, but will go back outdoors the next two days.

“This weekend, we’ll use those as a little bit more developmental, basic fundamental practices,” Mullen said. “Then Monday we’ll get in the game plan. On the game plan practice we’ll go back to closing practice at that stage.”

Healthy Gators

With the bowl practices about to ramp up, there are no new significant injuries to report, Mullen said.

“I don’t have a whole new injury-wise,” he said. “We’re healthy and ready to go. If anything it’s little bumps and bruises on guys as they’re getting ready to go.

“But we expect the guys that have been out will still be out for the bowl game. The only guy will be (quarterback) Kyle Trask that has been out that has a good shot to be available for the bowl game.”

Trask sustained a broken foot in practice the week of the South Carolina game.

Gators vs. Knights?

Mullen, who has conversations with athletic director Scott Stricklin about scheduling, said UF may have offered UCF a chance to play the Gators at some point in the future.

The state schools would play one game in Orlando and two in Gainesville.

“I think we offered them a two-for-one like we do with most schools in their position, which is actually really a good deal,” Mullen said. “They have the opportunity to have an SEC school play at their place. It would potentially be a big deal for them.

“I know I’ve done it that way. When I was at Mississippi State we did it, we played some two-for-ones with schools in smaller conference like them. Getting the opportunity to have an SEC school is a big plus for them. Scott brought it up to them. If they want to try and toughen their schedule, that would be great, a good opportunity for them if they want to take it. It’s up to them.”


      • NO, strength and conditioning has a hand in it, in fact it is the reason that this year we have had so few injuries as opposed to the past many years. Funny how people can have facts right in their face and ignore them.
        UCF probably wont want the games as it would mess up their perfect seasons with a loss and expose them!

          • Well, UCF is really in a no-win situation. If LSU wins, the Knights will be “exposed” as an also-ran who doesn’t deserve to play with the big boys. If they win, their victory will be dismissed by many who’ll say LSU wasn’t motivated, since they didn’t make the playoff. The only way UCF will be able to prove itself is by making the playoff and being competitive in the game. If they take the 2 for 1 offer from UF and beat the Gators in the midst of another undefeated season, that should get them in. If they play well, then they’ll get the respect they’re looking for.

          • Beggars can’t be choosers!

            If UCF wants to be taken seriously by the CFP committee, they NEED to accept the Gators’ offer, then schedule a 2nd game vs. a Power 5 team in the same seasons, beat the Gators in the Swamp, beat the other Power 5 team and then go undefeated. THAT was the Canes’ formula for rising out of nowhere to NC prominence in the 80s.

            Of course, THAT isn’t likely to happen now, mainly because UCF’s AD appears not to have the vision, or courage, to accept the Gators’ 2 for 1 offer. Everything else they, or their fans, say after THAT refusal will be no more than hot air!

            Go Gators!!!

          • On the other hand, LSU is then also in a no-win situation. They win…they were supposed to. They lose…they look bad. It’s just really tough to tell anything from these kinds of bowl games. We should just enjoy them but not try to take away too much in terms of who is the better team, program, or conference. Motivations are way different in the post season…unless you are in the playoff.

          • StL and Rog, all good points, although I do think LSU is in the better situation. If they lose, they’ll have the built-in excuse of being disappointed and unmotivated by failing to make the playoff. We’ve already seen that play out when UCF beat Auburn last bowl season. It wasn’t necessarily Auburn players, coaches, or fans making the excuse, but rather skeptics of UCF specifically and Group of 5 schools in general. I do think the way for UCF and others to gain respect and put themselves more firmly in the NC conversation is to step up their schedule with Power 5 teams, as StL says. Also agree with Rog that we shouldn’t try to make too much out of who wins any of the non-playoff bowls.

          • Joe S…IF UCF beats LSU, that would give them two victories over SEC teams…which would give them a load of cred regardless of any excuses put forth by naysayers. I doubt anybody listened to excuses when David took Goliath down. Notice the IF is a giant IF.

        • Daz – you are spot on about the strength and conditioning being the reason for lower injuries. The players bodies were more ready to play in the SEC this year. Now as for UCF – don’t forget that they beat Auburn last year and were supposed to lose to them. Also with so much time between games, you never know what might transpire during any game at any time. I am personally going to bet a C-note on UCF as I am sure I will have the odds ever in my favor. GO GATORS!!!

  1. Florida Q.B. ”Jones will have opportunity in bowl game.” Well, I sure hope so, considering what Pat Dooley said in article on Dec 4th, ”There also is this — despite that blowout loss to Ohio State, Michigan’s defense was pretty salty all season, allowing only 13.5 points a game (that is to anyone not wearing an Ohio State uniform). And still finishing second in the nation in pass defense. Michigan doesn’t take a lot of chances on offense, and that’s one reason it only turned the ball over 10 times all season.”
    So, if Franks struggles, let lose the Emory era in this bowl game. And the defense for the Gators will have to get the ball. Because turn-overs have to be a part of this game for this Gator ‘D’, whose defense once was near the top in the nation in T/O’s earlier this 2018 season. Go Gators! Work me silly!

    • “Box-of-Rocks” Franks better bring his A game to the Peach Bowl. Otherwise, it may just turn into a coming out party for Emory Jones!

      That would be a fitting way for Mullen to wrap up a great come-back first season as HBC, while giving Gator Nation a sneak peek at what the New Year will bring us.

      Go Gators!!!

    • gatorgi490 – all you need to do is proof read your statement before hitting the reply button. That is how I do it and I even use a dictionary if I am not positive how to spell certain words…LOL. I may still mess up from time to time, but then I can blame it of the “human factor” involved with my responses. Also getting older is a good reason aw well. GO GATORS!!!

  2. I hope they will give him a chance to really run the offense and lead some drives as opposed to the gimmicky thing where they send a guy in the middle of a drive, he runs one or two oddball plays from a “special package” and then goes and sits on the bench having learned nothing about running the actual offense.

    Not only does the player learn not much, but it breaks up the tempo of the drive and almost never seems to result in the big plays people imagine.

  3. I seriously doubt UCF can continue this level of success, even at their level of competition, for too much longer. They will start losing games and go back to being an afterthought in college football. I remember being wrong that one time so maybe this will be the second.

    Instead of everyone in the country rooting for underdog UCF they’ve acted like a bunch of self entitled brats and have everyone rooting against them. I might have rooted for them but after all the negative publicity and ludicrous comments from White, I’ll be hoping LSU beats them so badly they consider dropping down to the FBS level like Idaho.

    • And YOU are right, Dallas. One or two really good seasons does not make a Group of Five school suddenly a Power Five school. Hell, it doesn’t even make them a “Power Six” school — which their AD recently claimed they are — because there is no such thing. In your second paragraph, you hit the nail on the head….White apparently has a lot in common with LSU’s AD…..both Oliva and he consistently shoot themselves, and their schools, in the foot every time one of them lets his butt overload his mouth.

    • I read elsewhere that UCF’s long-term strategy may be to continue to play like a P5 team trapped in a G5 conference until the Big 12’s TV contract runs out. Then they’ll lobby them for admission the same way TCU did, by being able to offer the Big 12 a large new TV market (Orlando) and access to a very talented recruiting area (Florida.)

      Their very real competition in that endeavor will be USF, who already beat them once to the Big East before it fell apart. It’s doubtful the Big 12 will take on two G5 Florida teams, if and when they decide to expand.

      If that’s UCF’s strategy, then they’ll turn down 2 for 1 deals, like the one USF just signed with the Gators as being “beneath their dignity” and play for access to the payouts of NY-6 bowl invitations after most seasons and 2nd tier bowl invitations after less successful seasons. All they’ll have to do is continue to recruit well, keep beating cupcakes and keep whining about being ignored by the CFP committee every year they go undefeated.

      Not a bad strategy at all when you think about it.

      Go Gators!!!

      • Remembering that the Big East was actually considered a major conference at the time of its demise, I’m surprised that I hadn’t thought of that strategy. Not bad….but I’m agin it StL! Damnit, college football is all about geography, and UCF does not belong in the Big 12 anymore that West Virginia does. Next thing you know, Boise State will be joining the Atlantic Coast Conference!

        • 6, the geography thing sadly died when the Big 10 took on Nebraska, the PAC 12 took on Colorado and the Big 12 took on West Virginia. The chase for the almighty dollar killed it.

          Boise State won’t be joining the ACC anytime soon, but Louisville already has and Notre Dame may join them soon. That’ll bring its membership total to the magic number of 16, where at least 4 of the Power 5 conferences will eventually top out.

          The Big 12 MUST expand to at least 12 and sign a new long-term TV deal, or risk being “on the menu” AGAIN when the other 3 Power 5 conferences decide to expand to 16. Texas and Oklahoma gave serious consideration to joining the PAC 12 back when Nebraska, Colorado, Missouri and Texas A&M bailed out, before the Big 12 was saved by TCU and West Virginia.

          The Big 12’s desperation to expand or go the way of the Big East, coupled with its own lucrative location and TV market, are what UCF is counting on to break into a Power 5 conference.

          Go Gators!!!

          • Roger that. I know the history, living out here in Texas, but I’m still agin it!

            The Big 12 has nearly blown its chances by not striking while the iron was hot. Or, at least luke warm. The loss of Nebraska, Colorado, Mizzou, and Texas A&M was likely too much to overcome in any event. The only school I realistically see coming “back” into the conference is Houston (since they were a member of the old SWC). Not SMU and not Rice, but if Houston came back and BYU came in — that might do it.

            I could see sending Mizzou back to the Big 12 and bringing West Virginia into the SEC before any of that stuff would come about. Damn, I’m already losing interest in the Bi…..zzzzzzzz

          • I can see the Big 12 adding Houston to the conference, along with UCF. The Cougars are an excellent G5 program who also bring access to the Houston TV market, in addition to UCF bringing access to Orlando.

            BYU and Memphis are additional possibilities. They also have good programs and would add Salt Lake City and Memphis to the TV markets the Big 12 would boast access to in a new TV contract negotiation.

            There’s no way the SEC would part with Mizzou now. They have a lock on the St. Louis and KC TV markets, which is huge. Besides, Mizzou wouldn’t return to the Big 12 after paying big $$$ to leave in a huff when they joined the SEC.

            I hate to dwell on TV markets and TV contracts, but they’re the mother’s milk of college football today. The NCAA has no power at all over regular season TV contracts. It’s ALL with the conferences… and 😇😈 Notre Dame!

            Go Gators!!!

  4. California and texas have 4 and 5 or more power five schools, i think florida has as much talent and has room for another power 5 team, so im in disagreement about the ucf assessment. who knows with any of these bowl games what you are going to get or what the results mean. the key with jones is seeing what he does after his first 2 options are taken away from him. first, if he has a different third option than franks (running against elite teams as opposed to check down), then we have an alabama deal going forward, always a second guy ready if needed and a pain to prepare for. if he leaps past franks, then we better find a backup since franks has a lot of the attributes athletically as jeff driskel who is making a decent living in the nfl, so franks may move on to get more playing time. no matter what, this is looking like an improving situation, maybe headed to stability.

    • Tall guys with strong arms will always be well received by the NFL. Franks is one of those. So, NFL coaches won’t be able to resist trying to “coach him up.”

      The problem with Franks is the same as with Jeff Driskel and Ryan Tannehill in Miami. He is congenitally incapable of looking off his primary receiver at the snap of the ball and equally incapable of making a quick decision of where to go with the ball when he finds that receiver covered. Too often, he ends up holding the ball too long, then dumping it to a back, or scrambling and taking a sack, or throwing the ball away, or trying to force it to the covered receiver and getting an incompletion, or interception.

      He was born with that deficiency and no amount of coaching will improve it beyond mediocrity. After the bowl game (or maybe in it), it’ll be time to see what Jones can do.

      Go Gators!!!

  5. btw twitter says that thibodeaux guy went to oregon, not sure he has the same nfl odds there he would in gainesville but i wouldnt think any team in his conference can beat ucf right now, maybe washington state in a shootout.