emory jones gators qb

2021 Florida Gators Football Preview

The Gators plan to showcase a completely new offense in 2021 with dual-threat quarterback Emory Jones taking over for pocket passer Kyle Trask.

Head Coach Dan Mullen has been successful with many different quarterbacks of different styles, but this should be a smooth transition for this offense that also needs to replace a large percentage of the receiving corps.  

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Let’s get into our Q&A session with David Waters! He covers Gators football and has a fantastic podcast called Gators Breakdown that can also be found on YouTube. You can follow him on Twitter @GatorDave_SEC.

Overall, how do you believe the offense will compare to the 2020 version?

It’ll certainly look different. It’ll be a more run-oriented attack with the shift at QB from Kyle Trask to Emory Jones. Given that move and the production lost with Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney moving on, the shift in philosophy to more of a running attack will be no surprise.

What do you expect from the QB position in 2021?

Dan Mullen is going to have a QB ready to go as he always does. Now, he finally gets to the QB he hand-picked in his first recruiting class at Florida with Emory Jones. First, the QB run game will be back in more of a traditional Dan Mullen offense so the offense will get the numbers advantage back in the box more so than with Kyle Trask. As much as Florida struggled running the ball, and even when everyone in the stadium knew Jones was running the ball, he still managed 6.8 yards per carry.

Still with those great numbers, there’s going to come a time where the game is on his shoulders through the air and we simply haven’t seen enough in that regard. Word through spring was he was struggling with timing and touch, but that was also him being put in situations where working on the passing game was an emphasis and the QB run game was nonexistent. Still, you’d like to hear more positive reviews coming out of spring for a QB that has been in the system since 2018. In his limited action we have seen him with the ability to launch the ball downfield and zip it over the middle, but need to be more accurate in just going by the short sample size. Yes, he played a bit in the bowl game vs Oklahoma, but Florida was without its top playmakers for a game they had three practices for.
Expect Anthony Richardson to get a ton of short yardage carries to save hits on Jones and to take advantage of his 6-4, 232 lbs frame.

How do you see the workload at RB being distributed?

This is one of the biggest questions for the offense. Florida goes five deep at the RB position with Dameon Pierce, Malik Davis, Nay’Quan Wright, Lorenzo Lingard, and Demarkcus Bowman. What Florida needs to have happen is one of these, or a couple, RBs separate themselves from the pack. Bowman comes in as the heralded five-star transfer from Clemson. After Bowman had a minor injury in spring camp, Lorenzo Lingard was rumored to have the best spring camp.

Wright may be the most versatile of the experienced RBs along with Malik Davis. Davis could be shifted to a hybrid RB-WR role. Pierce is the toughest runner of the bunch who is always moving forward, but not a consistent home-run threat. Florida needs bigger plays out of the position and that’s where Bowman and Lingard can shine to get a bulk of the carries.

How does the offensive line compare to the 2020 group?

Florida loses two experienced OL from a unit that just hasn’t produced much in the run game the last couple of years. Richard Gouraige will replace Stone Forsyth at LT and there’s a couple of players trying to replace Brett Heggie at center. Florida needs some younger players to emerge and that notion really didn’t come out this spring. Stuart Reese, who is better suited to play guard, was rotating at center with Kingsley Eguakan. Florida needs Eguakan to step up there to have Reese play guard.
Jean Delance has struggled mightily at RT, but still finds himself starting at RT coming out of spring. Delance is a better run blocker than pass blocker so maybe the shift in offense helps him become more consistent, but Florida has some young players that need to emerge if they are to get any better at the position.
Josh Braun is the best prospect on the OL and can play inside and outside, but is a better fit at tackle. The OL will look better if he’s at RT, Eguakan at center, and Reese at guard.

For our dynasty fantasy freaks, who are some young players that stand out as potential future breakout players?

RB – Demarckus Bowman: Former five star transfers in from Clemson and could be the playmaker UF is looking for at the position. Keep an eye on preseason reports as he was injured in the spring, but the early return was injury wasn’t serious.
WR – Trent Whittemore: Had five catches and one TD in his first two games in 2020 and then suffered an injury. Appeared in seven games… Finished regular season with eight catches for 81 yards (10.1 average) and one touchdown. He’s ready for a much larger role with the losses of Kadarius Toney and Kyle Pitts.
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