Mullen building offense around dual-threat ability of Jones, a 'mobile pocket passer'

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Emory Jones, Florida's likely starter, is more of a dual threat than Kyle Trask was in seasons past.

More than six years after receiving a scholarship offer from Dan Mullen, Florida’s Emory Jones is set to become the Quarterback Whisperer’s next starter this season.  

The redshirt junior will look to showcase the skill set Mullen first recognized in May 2015. He was coaching at Mississippi State and Jones had yet to be discovered as a recruit. 

“That goes back a long time ago now. I think he was like a sophomore in high school,” Mullen recalled. “I guess the first thing with him is seeing a guy where the ball just jumps off his hands and a guy that has ability to improvise.”

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Emory Jones aimed to be Mullen’s QB

Mullen gave Jones his first scholarship that spring, and then re-offered him after taking the UF job in late 2017. Committed to Ohio State at the time, Jones sent a text to Mullen telling him, “I want to be your quarterback.”

He flipped to the Gators on signing day. 

“I’m the guy he chose to go with when he first got here,” Jones said, “but I did not know it was going to take this long. But I’ve been getting better every day and developing, and that’s all he preached to me. And we’re here now.”

Here instead of leaving. 

When Mullen turned to two-star Kyle Trask instead of his top-100 QB signee following Feleipe Franks’ season-ending injury, Jones could’ve seen the writing on the wall with Trask — like Franks did — and bolted after the 2019 season. 

Jones stayed the course. 

"I just have so much admiration for Emory and his patience,” tight ends coach Tim Brewster said of Jones. “Kids today, the first thing they want to do is jump in the portal and they’re not happy. 

“He has persevered, and he has really outstanding quarterback training with Coach Mullen and Garrick McGee and what he had with Brian Johnson. He's very well-prepared for this moment.”

Emory Jones ready for his chance

Jones has done all he can to capitalize on his long-awaited opportunity. He created a group chat in January with the running backs, receivers and tight ends to organize player-run workouts throughout the offseason. 

He would text all of them a time to meet at the indoor practice facility, and they trained together six days a week. 

“I think for him, being a mature guy helps,” Mullen said, “knowing how to prepare for different situations, how he gets himself ready for the season. I think there’s a lot to that within the maturity of knowing how to prepare and how to do things. And then the expectations that come along with it and all the responsibility when everybody’s looking at you. 

“He’s got to go win the job still, but I think everybody looks at you as the guy who’s going to be the guy. There’s certain different levels of expectations for you within the good and the bad, and I think the maturing certainly helps him be able to handle all that.”

Though Jones still hasn’t officially been named the starter, he was asked Monday about the biggest challenge that comes with the job. 

Emory Jones is at the forefront of coach Dan Mullen's offense. Anthony Richardson is preparing when his turn comes.

 “Going into this fall camp I’ve just been taking the mental approach, just trying to get this team ready,” Jones said. “Just mentally, just trying to make myself more comfortable in different situations and be able to just make things work in different situations when everything isn’t going the way it’s supposed to. 

“And leadership-wise, we’re going to face adversity. You don’t know when. You’re going to face adversity in a game this year. I’ve been trying to find different ways to bring the team together and get us back on track whenever that time comes. ... We’ve been making big strides as a team, so I’m very excited.”

Jones said the offense is “looking pretty good right now” and Mullen is building the system around his playing style and strengths. Jones said he brings a different skill set to the quarterback position and feels like he can do anything on the field with his ability to throw and run. 

Just don’t label him as a dual-threat QB, according to running back Dameon Pierce. 

“I don't like to call Emory a dual-threat, because most people like to see Emory break and see him run,” Pierce said. “I call Emory a mobile pocket passer. Because, this guy, he can launch that ball. That's probably the most underrated aspect of his game. 

“Like, he can launch the ball. He wants to throw the ball first. He only runs when, you know, there's absolutely nothing there or pressure comes and he’s gotta get out of the pocket. But, I feel like Emory brings a lot to the table this year.”