State of the Quarterbacks: Jones a 'special quarterback'

Jul 8, 2020 | 0 comments


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Though college football is in a state of flux due to the pandemic, preparations for the 2020 season must go on.


Since they are currently unable to work out with the Florida coaching staff, for the Gators’ three scholarship quarterbacks and two 2021 commitments, that means returning and training with their personal coaches that have worked with them over the years.

In this five-part series, Inside The Gators caught up with each of the five quarterbacks’ personal coaches to discuss their off-season work, what they expect from their pupils this season, their outlooks for the future, and more.

We continue today with Emory Jones.

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Quincy Avery, the mastermind behind the Atlanta-based Quarterback Takeover organization, has worked with some of college football’s and the NFL’s best quarterbacks in recent years. Justin Fields, Deshaun Watson, Jalen Hurts, and Tyrod Taylor, just to name a few.

So, the following assessment of Florida quarterback Emory Jones, another one of his proteges, carries a lot of weight.

“I’ve worked with some really good quarterbacks, and Emory is as talented as any one of those guys,” Avery said. “That lets you know how good that I think that he is and his future potential.”

What separates Jones from most other quarterbacks around the country are his physical tools. He can make throws and make plays with his legs that others can only do on a video game.

“Emory’s a truly gifted passer,” he said. “He has a tremendous amount of arm strength. He can make throws from any angle, and he has the ability to extend plays and create in the pocket so that he can be dynamic in that aspect. He puts a lot of stress on the defense.”

The two first met when Jones was in the eighth grade. His mother and one of his coaches realized his vast talent and reached out to Avery. They’ve worked together since.

With spring practice canceled, athletic facilities locked down and classes moved online due to COVID-19, Jones reunited with Avery in early May for some more workout sessions. They’ve met three days a week on the field since then, and Jones also does strength and conditioning drills four days a week, Avery said.

STATE OF THE QUARTERBACKS

Avery wouldn’t divulge specifics about the workouts out of respect for Jones’ privacy, but he said making him a more consistent all-around player is at the core of everything they do.

The Gators’ quarterbacks are meeting regularly with position coach Brian Johnson on Zoom, Avery said, and he thinks Johnson will put together a good plan for Jones going into the season.

Two weeks ago Jones and Avery took a bit of a hiatus from each other. Avery went to Nashville for the Elite 11 quarterback competition. He’s not sure when they’ll see each other again, and he’s not sure if Jones has participated in any of UF’s voluntary workouts.

One of the cool parts of Avery’s job is getting to watch a tremendously talented player like Jones grow from a middle-schooler to a grown man. Jones’ increased maturity and confidence stand out the most to Avery when he thinks back on how far the two have come.

“The maturity and the improvements are endless,” he said. “I think when you’ve been around somebody that much, you don’t see it because you just see them the whole time and you don’t get to see the large chunks of improvement that they’ve made. I’m truly impressed with where Emory is as a young man just in terms of his maturity and his confidence and the leader that he’s become.”

Avery views himself as a supplement to Johnson and Dan Mullen. Johnson and Mullen have to focus on installing game plans, studying opponents, and working with two other scholarship quarterbacks, and they’re limited to 20 hours a week with the players. They don’t always have time to work one-on-one with Jones on the minute details of the position. Avery has no such limitations, as he focuses exclusively on the fundamentals and techniques of the position. He’s able to contribute to his development without taking anything away from what Jones is learning from his college coaches.

“I’m in pretty much constant communication with any college coach that I train a guy with,” he said. “So, it makes it pretty easy for us to get on the same page, and we can always speak the same language, and I can do things to help him out the best way that I can.”

In 2019, Jones was used sparingly in a zone-read-based package. He ran 42 times and threw 38 passes. As you might expect from a former top-100 prospect, Jones wants to play more, but he also understands the situation he’s in and has handled himself well, Avery said. Avery believes Jones getting additional time to develop and learn from Kyle Trask, who he thinks has the chance to play in the NFL, is going to pay dividends down the road.

It’s unlikely that Jones will be able to unseat Trask, but 2021 looms as a golden opportunity for him. Whenever his time comes, Avery believes Gator fans will like what they see and acknowledge that it was worth the wait.

“When Emory gets in, I think everybody’s going to be like ‘Wow. He’s truly a special quarterback,’” he said.

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