Five questions with UF offensive coordinator Brian Johnson
Q: How much pressure is on the offense to be almost perfect in this game after the way Missouri controlled the ball so effectively in a win over Kentucky last week, limiting the Wildcats to only 36 plays on offense?
A: I think we have to do a great job of understanding that each game takes on its own identity. They beat LSU 45-41 and they played Kentucky and it was 20-10. Games will be won many different ways. The biggest thing for us is to control what we can control, focusing in on each and every possession. I think generally in offensive football you never want to waste a possession to begin with. You go out there on every drive with the mindset to score a touchdown.
Q: No. 2 quarterback Emory Jones has been out. Any difference in his preparation this week?
A: I don’t think so. Emory’s great. I really enjoy coaching him. He’s got a great temperament, great demeanor, works really hard, studies his tail off with the game plan and he’s always ready to play. So, I’m excited to get out there and watch him contribute.
Q: What was the reaction of the players when they returned to practice earlier this week?
A: I think they were excited to get back to playing football and have some sense of normalcy. 2020 has been a strange year for everyone. For those guys to get a chance to do what they love is something that obviously can’t be taken for granted. It was good to get them out there and see everybody.
Q: Do you worry about your guys keeping balance in life and staying mentally focused?
A: Absolutely. I love everybody in my position group. I treat those guys as if they are my family. I know from experience that having a great relationship with your players is bigger than football. These relationships last longer than the four or five years that they’re here. You have to obviously understand they’re people first and they’re dealing with 2020 just like everybody else. Certainly, there is a human element to that and I think it’s wise to acknowledge it, make sure that your door is always open and ready to serve.
Q: What did quarterback Kyle Trask and the offensive players do during the time off to maintain?
A: I think the biggest thing was just us, with our Zoom meetings, starting to go over a little bit of Missouri and introduce what they do defensively. I think that was probably the best thing we could have done for them. Obviously, their bodies got a chance to rest and get healthy and do some of those things, but they were able to meet virtually and do some football as well.