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Gators redshirt freshman QB Richardson competing in first full Spring

Graham Hall
Special to The Sun
Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is working on becoming a more accurate thrower.

Florida’s redshirt freshman quarterback Anthony Richardson is ready — for what that is, however, remains to be seen. 

He could win the starting quarterback job — it’s not over until it’s over, and Richardson continues to state his case with each spring practice. 

“Of course, definitely,” Richardson, when asked if he was “ready”, replied. “Just because I know what I’m capable of doing. I like football a lot — I actually love it. Football’s always going to be a game of football. So just learning what I’m learning now and what he’s teaching us, I feel like I’m ready.”

But he also understands the reality of the situation, that the starting quarterback role is ultimately Emory Jones’ job to lose.

In his first real spring practice, Richardson knows both his place and why he should compete as if it’s his job to win. 

“I have more confidence coming into this spring than I did last year. Last year I didn't really get a spring, so it was just a lot to process trying to get through it all within the time limit that we had in the fall. But this spring I feel like I have a lot more confidence to be able to compete and do what I have to do,” Richardson said. "I feel like my role on the team is just to be a good teammate to Emory. He's been here for a long time. I know I just got here, but it's still going to be a competition. But all over competing, I try to be a good teammate just to keep him going, keep pushing, just keep the team going forward."

To compete takes progression, and Richardson also understands he has much to learn when it comes to his football acumen, although there’s no doubt he’s made plenty of strides in his atypical year on campus. 

No disrespect whatsoever to Eastside High, where Richardson starred, but the collegiate level is an entirely different beast when it comes to the mental aspect of the quarterback position. Richardson credited Florida’s offensive coordinator, Garrick McGee, with teaching him the nuances of reading opposing defenses when McGee first arrived as an analyst on UF’s campus just prior to the 2020 season. 

"I met him last fall and I was just like, OK, he's a cool guy, he knows what he's talking about and he teaches us a lot. As a quarterback, you want to be able to learn a lot and take in a lot, so I like the way he teaches things,” Richardson said. “Just how to read the defense. I never really knew how to, like, comprehend and understand a defense and the way everything flows, he's teaching us the basics of everything and how everything falls in line.”

He also learned a lot about the details of the position from who he’s competing with on a daily basis, Jones, as well as from last season’s record-setting quarterback, Kyle Trask. 

Trask’s accuracy? That’s Richardson’s current goal. 

“Really, I’m working on trying to become a more accurate passer,” he said. “Everyone knows I can run, so I’m just trying to become more of a passer and I’m just trying to understand defenses more so passing can become easier.”

Trask’s pocket presence? On the list. 

“Just his poise and the way he processes things. As a quarterback, you can’t be too tempted. You can’t move too quick, because if you do you might make the wrong read or a bad decision,” Richardson continued. “You don’t need that as a quarterback, because basically you’re the leader of the team, so making smart decisions and being poised and being patient.”

Though perhaps the most important lesson is one head coach Dan Mullen continues to preach as well: make sure you’re prepared for your moment when it comes. 

"Just be ready, because you never know when your name is called, when your number is called. So just being ready to step on the field when the time comes,” Richardson said. “(Mullen) definitely does, he lets everybody know: whatever role you have, just always be ready whenever your name or number is called."