A former Ohio State commitment and four-star recruit, quarterback Emory Jones brought a lot of talent with him to Gainesville last year, but very little patience.
“Obviously, I came in here thinking I was going to play early,” Jones said.
It didn’t happen. He competed for the starting job last spring, but finished third on the depth chart behind Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask. Then last fall, he saw minimal playing time in four games and redshirted.
So, it was not the start Jones was anticipating when he first arrived in Gainesville.
But over the course of the last year, Jones has learned to be patient. Because he’s seen first-hand how coach Dan Mullen develops quarterbacks and gets them ready to play when their time comes.
Jones is being patient with the process.
“Oh, yeah,” he said after Saturday’s spring game. “Just whenever my time comes, that’s when it is. I see coach Mullen developing Feleipe. I see how Feleipe has grown over the last year. It’s just crazy. I mean, you got a baller now.”
Jones expects to become one, too, and he appears to be headed in that direction with his development. He’s come a long way in his one year under Mullen and quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson.
Jones had a strong spring and concluded it with a positive performance in the spring game, showing his ability to make plays with his arm and his legs. He threw for 117 yards and two touchdowns and also led the Orange in rushing with 38 yards, including a 26-yard burst.
Jones says he’s grown comfortable in the offense.
“Me, Kyle, and Feleipe, this is our second time going through the offense in the spring, so we felt more comfortable in the system,” Jones said. “We were all getting better the whole spring.”
Jones was asked what he’s been doing to improve as a passer.
“Just being quicker with my reads,” he said. “Just making faster decisions, tucking the ball down when I need to.”
Looking back to a year ago, Jones said he now realizes he wasn’t in a position to play much as a true freshman. But he appears to be putting himself in that position as a redshirt freshman.
“When I first got here … it’s a different level of football,” he said. “I had a lot to learn. This is my first time ever playing college football, so it was kind of hard. But I sat a year to get ready and do all that stuff, so I feel really confident now.”