FOOTBALL

Mullen more concerned with which Gators QB will finish — not start — UGA game

Zach Abolverdi
Gator Sports
Florida coach Dan Mullen said both quarterbacks, Emory Jones (5) and Anthony Richardson (15), will play as usual against Georgia on Saturday. He just hasn't named a starter.

Florida coach Dan Mullen was again peppered with questions Monday about who his starting quarterback will be against No. 1 Georgia this weekend.

Mullen is more interested with the Bulldogs’ QB situation, which is the bigger storyline in his eyes. 

“Have they named a starting quarterback? I’m sure that’s got to be … that’s shocking,” Mullen quipped. “That’s their No. 1 deal, right? Who their starter is. Much bigger than ours. They’re the No. 1 team. So, I’m shocked how anybody’s even looking at our situation.” 

Of course, Gators fans and UF media members certainly have more vested interest in the “situation” between Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson than that of Georgia’s Stetson Bennett IV and JT Daniels. Bennett has started the last three games and four overall this season, while Daniels has been recovering from a lat strain after making three starts. 

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UGA coach Kirby Smart doesn’t know which quarterback he’ll start against the Gators.

“I think it's going to be based on practice. No decision has been made whatsoever,” Smart said Monday. “I’d like to see practice to know a little better about, OK, well where is [Daniels] at? Based on Wednesday and Thursday, he was able to throw without pain. That's step one. The next step is can I move, can I throw with accuracy, can I do all the things required to play quarterback? I don't know if he can do those things just yet. We’ll see by how we practice this week."

While Smart’s plan is still to be determined, Mullen knows at least one thing: Jones and Richardson will both play against the Bulldogs. 

More specifically, Mullen said there will be no change at the position in terms of their rep counts with the first-team offense.

"Not really. We're going to keep playing them the same way. We plan on playing both of the guys like we have,” he said. 

Mullen added that he will split reps between Jones and Richardson this week based on how they practice and prepare, as well as who gives the team the best chance to win Saturday. 

However, once the game begins, Mullen is willing to go with the hot hand like he did with Richardson in the second half at LSU. 

“Well it certainly fell into it last week,” he said. “Every game is so unique in how it plays out, you know? So we’ll have to see how the game plays itself out.” 

Will Jones or Richardson take the first snap vs. UGA?

Mullen hasn’t made that decision yet, but also said it’s not a big deal to him. He’s more concerned with who will finish the game. 

“I think people get so caught up in the starter,” Mullen said. “OK, and the starter’s defined, if I'm correct, as who plays the first play of the game. Yeah, so I don't get us caught up because I can't tell you. I haven't decided on what play I'm going to run on the first play of the game yet. 

“Hey, we might come out in the wishbone on Saturday. All three tailbacks then started and no receiver started. So then, all of a sudden, that becomes a weird deal, right? Even if we ran that for one play, that defines then who the starter was. So I don't get caught up in all that stuff — starting the game — as the flow of the game, who plays the most plays. A good question everybody should do is who finishes the game.”

Up next

Who: Florida (4-3, 2-3 SEC) vs. No. 1 Georgia (7-0, 5-0)

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville

TV: CBS

Radio: 103.7-FM, AM-850