The Florida Gators will enter a new era at the quarterback position, as Emory Jones will take over for Kyle Trask, who departed for the NFL. The Gators and Dan Mullen also lose plenty more talent on offense, as only five starters are expected to return.
After the way Florida ended the season last year — a disastrous home loss to LSU followed by an SEC title game loss to Alabama and capped off by a Cotton Bowl game blowout defeat at the hands of Oklahoma — some think Mullen has a lot to prove. On Thursday night’s edition of Late Kick, Josh Pate outlined just that. He made sure to highlight what the program needs out of Emory Jones.
“Emory Jones holds a lot of the cards here, because Emory Jones, obviously for those unfamiliar, is the quarterback that’s going to start for Florida this year,” Pate said. “He’s not a true freshman, that’s a guy who’s been on campus several years now, so whatever Dan Mullen is going to do with him from a developmental standpoint, it should be done by this point and so you’re going to see it. Now, there is no substitute for in-game reps. But short of just being able to start an entire season, Dan Mullen’s got what he’s got and Emory Jones.
“I’ll tell you what could go a long way in changing the narrative here that’s just flat out Emory Jones being a lot better than you think he’s going to be, because I can tell you what the popular sentiments going to be for Florida, going into the season, outside of Gainesville, people are going to think they’re going to take a step back. production wise they’re gonna take a step back, Emory Jones is not going to be as good as Kyle Trask.
“Let’s see, all the preview magazines telling me they’ve got only what — five or six returning starters on offense. And so the perception is going to be they’re going to be down. That’s not a bad thing — perception doesn’t matter. They don’t give you wins and losses for perception. If anything, I think it’s a good thing because it doesn’t mean that you got a white hot spotlight on you, coming into 2021.”
While expectations may not be sky high for the Gators in 2021, there is still pressure to meet them. Pate detailed how failing to meet “lukewarm” expectations could cause some stir.
“But here’s the thing about lukewarm expectations. You better not fall short of the lukewarm expectation, you fall short of the insane high end expectation like Kirby does sometimes with Georgia, that’s one thing, because you can go 10-2, and still fall short. But if they’re expecting eight wins from you, and you go 7-5, or if they’re expecting nine from you go 8-4, 7-5 — that’s a little bit of a different deal.
Get the fastest scores, stats, news, LIVE videos, and more. CLICK HERE to download the CBS Sports Mobile App and get the latest on your team today.
“I think 2021 is such a huge year, because this is not a roster void of championship caliber talent, they don’t have it in its political supply as the other big boys. But make no mistake about it, if things click, starting at the quarterback position if things really click for Florida, you know if Dan Mullen is who I and many people think he is as a developer at that position. You saw what happened last year when quarterbacks figured out, you saw what can happen in a lot of other positions. You get that synergy, it felt really good at times last year for Florida, and then kind of got erased down the stretch. So let’s have a lot more front end than back end of 2020, as it relates to 2021.”