Florida’s Jones picked to play dual roles

Florida quarterback Emory Jones throws under the watch of QB coach Brian Johnson at practice. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

 Even though his appearances were brief in four games last season, Florida quarterback Emory Jones managed to show uncommon poise, leadership and maturity for a true freshman.

 Maybe that helps explain his latest accomplishment: his teammates voting for him to serve on the leadership council that serves as a conduit between the players and the coaching staff.

 The fact he’s in such an important role as just redshirt freshman speaks volumes about the kind of player, person and teammate he is, quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson said after Wednesday’s practice.

  “He’s very, very likable and does a great job,” Johnson said. “He’s very relatable. It says a lot that his teammates and peers thought enough of him to put him in that role. That’s always great. 

 “Quarterback is a natural position of leadership. That’s one of the prerequisites that we require for our guys to go ahead and play that position. He’s done a good job of stepping in and taking care of that.”

 Jones’ role and responsibilities off the field have expanded. They may be about to do the same on the field.

 Like a year ago, Jones is expected to get a package of plays to run in games, maybe even every game. And that package will have more in it because Jones is further along in his development in year two under Johnson and head coach Dan Mullen.

 “He’s getting more confident and comfortable by the day,” Johnson said. “He’s got a unique skill set. He can make some dynamic plays once the play breaks down. He has some rare ability both from an arm talent perspective and obviously using his legs where he can make some special and exciting stuff happen.

 “One of the things we talk about is him now consistently making the common play. Everything is not going to be a highlight play, nor does it have to be. Sometimes a four-yard gain is OK. Sometimes punting is OK in certain situations.”

 It’s all part of Jones’ development, which is an ongoing process. So far, he has taken a mature and patient approach to it.

 “The biggest thing is not necessarily stressing patience but stressing development and you worry about becoming a better player every single day,” Johnson said. “I tell these guys all the time, ‘If you want to play this position for a really long time and play the position beyond here, those guys continually get better well into their 30s.’ It’s not a fast journey by any stretch of the imagination to be a big-time quarterback.

 “There’s constant learning involved. There’s constant ebbs and flows, peaks and valleys. You’ve got to manage that stuff. In terms of reps and getting those guys comfortable and giving them reps with the ones and getting them confident in what they’re doing goes a long way.”

 Johnson and Mullen are not going to rush Jones. They’re going to bring him along at a pace that he can handle. He’s been making sure and steady progress, Johnson said.

  “He’s coming along,” he said. “He understands now exactly what’s required of him in terms of the intensity that he needs to prepare with and make sure that he’s always ready to go. He’s done a fantastic job of handling the install, of doing everything we’ve asked him to do over the course of the summer. 

 “Now, it’s just about how consistent can we be each and every day. That’s really with all the guys, that’s what we harp on, consistency of performance. Can we go out there and execute at a high level every trip?”



  1. the only thing surprising to me is his election by his teammates for one of the positions of go between of players and coaches. as a player you can see he is talented. for me its hard to read into this beyond what it says, except that we have a good group at qb. any difficulties being mentioned in a police report last offseason look like a thing of the past. who knows, maybe he has the talents of the oklahoma qb of last year, who had heisman ability along with the previous years qb who also was an elite talent!

      • thats all i remember….btw hernandez, i just dont know about sociopaths, it is said they can be saved, and there are even productive roles they can perform in the medical space, but its hard to figure how he or winston would have found a better path. maybe.

        • Not being a mental illness per se, sociopathy (psychopathy) cannot really be cured. I only know of one who was actually saved since their personality liabilities would prevent such a thing, that of course being Sol when he became Paul after his encounter on the road to Damascus. Sad to say, but Hernandez met a predictable fate.

          • I know a sociopath in the Army who controls it extremely well. He has had several killers in his ancestry and I know he doesn’t quite feel things like everyone else — but he’s simply chosen to do life the way he knows society expects people to. There were moments when I would forget and then I’d see that quizzical look on his face that came up when he didn’t understand something that was completely normal to normal people.

            He is a flight medic of all things.

  2. My experience with leadership is alpha types recognize natural leaders. If one has that natural gift of good leadership they can do some amazing things if given good guidance and advice in the use of those talents. Combine that with ask athlete it can be what a team needs to take that next step.

    • I’m thinking people like Aaron Hernandez and Jameis Winston. Imagine the kind of leaders and men they could have developed into if they landed with people who cared about more than just winning. Especially Winston — you cannot deny the charisma that oozes from that guy. I wonder how different the world would be if Winston would have landed with Mack Brown (who refused to recruit him). Was Brown known as a disciplinarian?

  3. Looks like our future is in good hands because of the quality of coaching, HC & Qb’s. Instead of blowing smoke they tell and teach a player reality. Great Qb’s are developed over time, get them to buy into that and develop for a few years to be a college starter; its a rare player that can start and excel as a freshman.

    • One thing I like about Mullen is that he seems to know EXACTLY what he wants out of each offensive position. I am sure you can say that about a lot of coaches but I honestly think Mullen has a better grasp of what he needs in his system than the majority. That, and a great player development philosophy, is why I am very confident that Mullen will be able to replace positions like OL and QB year in and year out no matter what kind of stars he lands. The stars are a bit more important in the skill positions though. If you look at Mullen’s offensive recruits, I bet the stars are concentrated in the skill positions and the “high upside” is concentrated at QB and the line.

  4. With Jones’s ability to play QB as well as all the other skill positions makes me believe his packages will include some plays for him with Franks at QB. That should keep defenses off balance and highly susceptible to trickeration! Man, I am jonesing for this season to begin already!