Dan Mullen has plenty of confidence in quarterback Emory Jones thanks to his mindset, despite his recent benching.
Photo: Emory Jones; Credit: Alex Shepherd
Emory Jones was delegated to a pure backup role at quarterback for the Florida Gators this past Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs, unseated from his starting position while freshman Anthony Richardson gripped the UF fanbase’s admiration for his performance against LSU two weeks prior.
The benching didn’t phase Jones, however, according to head coach Dan Mullen.
“One of the things you see about Emory is … you know, his character, his work ethic, his demeanor is unbelievable,” Mullen stated. “It goes back to, you know, Anthony started playing really well against LSU, got banged up [and] had to come out of the game, Emory steps right in without missing a beat, you know what I mean?
“As hard a situation, going into the game on a 3rd down and 12, bang, converts it.”
You could see where Mullen was coming from if you watched the Gators’ second-half showing against the No. 1 Bulldogs. Jones stepped in for Richardson when the latter suffered a head injury and made the most of his opportunity, similarly to when Richardson briefly exited in the second half against the Tigers.
Jones’ efforts wouldn’t alter the course of the game – his entrance came as the Gators were down 24-0 in the third quarter – but the results were solid nonetheless. Jones completed 10-of-14 passes for 114 yards and scored on a two-yard rushing attempt, Florida’s lone touchdown of the game.
“You look at Saturday and very easily, you know, as a young guy you can sit there is ‘Hey, this is not exactly the situation that I was hoping to be in right now,'” Mullen explained. “That wasn’t the case at all. We had a discussion, he said, ‘Coach, I’m 100% all-in, I’m ready to go, I’m prepared. You point at me to get in that game, I’ll go execute and play. I’m ready to go.'”
Jones could need to be ready to go once again this Saturday, but instead of keeping his helmet close by for an opportunity to arise mid-game, he may find himself in a starting role once again.
Richardson’s latest injury was diagnosed as a concussion, according to Mullen, which sidelined the freshman for Florida’s Monday and Tuesday practices. It is unclear if Richardson will be available when the Gators take on the South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday, but the odds are looking slim.
Should Jones be forced back into his former position as the Gators’ starting quarterback, Mullen has all of the confidence in the world that the junior signal-caller can get the job done.
“He’s come in with an unbelievable attitude ready to prepare to do your best at any moment, whatever the situation is,” Mullen said, praising Jones. “‘I’ve got to prepare for that situation, be ready to be my best.’ And it just shows his character and the type of young man that he is that he was prepared for that moment.”
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