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Florida Football

Making the Case: Trask, Jones or Both?

December 6, 2019
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Since day one Dan Mullen has been adamant that no starting position, even that of the quarterback, is secure from one day to the next, much less one season to the next.

Each position is earned each day in practice.

Feleipe Franks’ announced departure earlier this week eliminates one participant in the race for Florida's 2020 starting quarterback and centers the attention on redshirt junior Kyle Trask and redshirt freshman Emory Jones to determine who will lead the team under center next season. 

Former Florida quarterback Shane Matthews and Jacksonville-based quarterback guru Denny Thompson of 6-Points Quarterback Academy, along with Inside the Gators staff members Chris Ortega and Mark Wheeler make the case for why each quarterback should be given the starting nod come next fall.

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Kyle Trask

STATS CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD INT LNG RTG
2019 213 315 67.6 2,636 8.4 24 6 66 159.2

Strengths and weaknesses according to Matthews:

  • Strengths: “One of his strengths, I think, is his decision making -- his accuracy.”
  • Weaknesses: “At times he would hold the ball a little too long and take some sacks. Against Auburn, he held the ball a little too long and we had some sack fumbles.”

Strengths and weaknesses according to Thompson: 

  • Strengths: “The one thing I think about with Kyle Trask as far as strengths are, is his willingness to just sit back into the pocket and be patient in the pocket and get through his progressions. It’s something I would’ve never expected for a guy with limited playing time coming in but that’s his biggest strength. He’s very comfortable in the offense. He knows where he wants to go with the ball. He’s very balanced as a thrower and so he’s able to make a lot of the throws that a lot of people aren’t in the face of pressure.” 
  • Weaknesses: “I’m not sure this offense is one that’s perfect for his skill set. I think the weakness with what this offense wants him to do is that mobility standpoint. I think he’s more mobile than people give him credit for but he’s not a quick twitch-type of guy.”

Emory Jones

STATS CMP ATT CMP% YDS AVG TD INT LNG RTG
2019 25 38 65.8 267 7.0 3 0 48 150.9

Strengths and weaknesses according to Matthews: 

  • Strengths: “I thought he would play really well this year. Honestly.  He's a much better thrower than a lot of people give him credit for. He's very elusive when he runs the football -- he runs angry at times. Very powerful runner.”
  • Weaknesses: “His weakness is he just hasn’t played much.”

Strengths and weaknesses according to Thompson: 

  • Strengths: “In the time he was given, he showed he can throw the ball. He’s pretty accurate, he’s got a good arm … In the limited throws that he’s had, he was an accurate thrower, made good decisions and fit the ball into some tight windows. There’s a chance for Emory to be a very good quarterback for the University of Florida.”
  • Weaknesses: “I think the question a lot of people have about him is a size issue, but if you really pay attention to the games, there were a lot of times where he was very durable, took the hit, fell forward and got yardage out of situations where you really didn’t anticipate it.”

Making the case for Trask as the opening day starter: 

Matthews: “I think Trask will be the starter unless Emory does something phenomenal in the Spring. He’s played at a very high level this year.”

Thompson: “The case with Kyle Trask is a pretty easy one to make: he sits back in the pocket, he obviously knows the offense, he distributes the ball. He’s probably the safe pick, he’s probably the one with the least amount of risk as far as the starter is concerned and I think it factors in a big way. I think he’s got to be the favorite heading in to spring ball and offseason work to be the starter and I know they like what Kyle does.”

Ortega: What you see is what you get with Trask. The team has less to risk deploying him for another season. He currently has a higher floor than Jones and has shown his ability to handle the offense with ease, albeit with some slight limitations. He will almost certainly lock down the starting job if he displays more maneuverability in the Spring. 

Wheeler: It’s hard, if not nearly impossible, to argue with the success he’s had personally, and that the Gators’ have enjoyed with him as the starter. I honestly don’t believe that Florida is sitting at 10-2 had Feleipe Franks remained healthy. It's nothing personal against him, I just think he is too up-and-down from a leadership standpoint, whereas Kyle Trask is much more of a steadying influence who was able to maintain his composure under some difficult circumstances. Unless he completely bombs this spring and during fall camp, how do you turn away from him?

Making the case for Jones as the opening day starter:

Matthews: “When you look at the grand scheme of things, he is the kind of quarterback that Dan Mullen is used to having in his offense because of the running ability. You gotta remember that Emory Jones was the prize recruit of this coaching staff. ” 

Thompson: “I think Emory has the higher ceiling -- I think the Gators have a higher ceiling. With Emory, maybe a little more risk from the perspective of ‘we really haven't seen a big body of work.’ But what tidbits we have seen and what I know of Emory is he's explosive and he is that quick-twitch guy that I think Dan Mullen wants more in his offense.”

Ortega:Emory Jones is more than a situational quarterback, as he has been deployed this season. He fits Dan Mullen’s quarterback mold perfectly; just a bit undersized when compared to Dak Prescott and Tim Tebow. He has the highest ceiling among all players in his position group but would need to display better overall passing than the current starter, Kyle Trask, this Spring if he’s to become the next starter. If he makes the projected leap, this offense will become drastically more dynamic.”

Wheeler: “Though he has done a magnificent job tailoring this year's offense to Kyle Trask’s strengths, in a perfect world, when you look at what Dan Mullen wants to do offensively, Emory Jones is a much better fit than Trask. In the offense that Mullen helped develop, he wants to run RPO’s and zone read options. He wants a quarterback who can effectively run the ball 10-12 times a game to the point that defenses have to account for him.  Jones has the ability to do that, Trask simply doesn’t.”

Making the case for a rotation: 

Matthews: “I think Dan Mullen has shown that he's a tremendous football coach. He's going to do whatever it takes to win football games. He's going to play whoever it is, that gives him the best chance of winning. So if that's rotating now, starting Jones, starting Trask, I think it's going to come down to who and what gives us the best chance of winning each football game.”

Thompson: “I hope that they come in with a starter. If that starter is Emory, I'm not really sure what Kyle can do that Emory can't. So I wouldn't see a rotation if Emory wins the job. If Kyle wins the job, then I think you can make an argument of using Emory in spots -- using Emory kind of like they did this last year except maybe in a more expanded role.”

Ortega: “The Gators gave their shot at rotating quarterbacks this season. It worked for short periods but at times but only amounted to using Emory to gain yards through the ground than the air. The merit in repeating these tactics would be to give Jones some playing time to avoid the chance of him entering his name into next year’s transfer portal and leaving the Gators without much depth. If Jones manages to impress the staff enough that they are more confident in his passing abilities, he may be used more than garbage time scenarios and put a spin on opposing defenses, while Trask can be relied on during moments in which the game is on the line and a more experienced passer is needed.”

Wheeler: “It is easy to be critical in hindsight (which is what I am doing here) when something didn’t work, but in my opinion, Mullen has been terrific to this point, with his only issue being that perhaps he outsmarted himself at times with his quarterback rotation. He brought in Jones in spots where the flow of the game was thrown off and momentum was lost. If the scenario once again plays out where Trask is the starter and Jones is used in spots, the only change I would make from this season is I would allow Jones to have a complete series rather than being brought in for a play here and there.”

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Making the Case: Trask, Jones or Both?

9,251 Views | 11 Replies | Last: 8 mo ago by gspoon2003
Rroyce
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Trask needs to start and play all of next year...if he keeps playing the way he has. (We're losing some serious receivers). We need to keep bringing in Jones from time to time and SELL him on the idea that it's his team the year after, so he doesn't transfer.
Titletown
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I want to see Jones as the starter or at least get more passes called. Trask has been good and lucky but what happens when the luck runs out?
Rroyce
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Jones could be amazing two years from now if he gains another year of experience.
Graylon
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Call me totally crazy but I say go with Emory Jones. He's the guy that you recruited for the future. It kills me to say this against Kyle Trask because he has been so remarkable. For the team that you have coming up next year you are losing a lot of receivers. You will need a more Dynamic quarterback to make up for the new guys learning.

I always felt Kyle Trask was better for our team over Felipe Franks. And I felt like he was a good quarterback but there is no way I saw what he did this year coming. But Emory Jones is TaylorMade for this offense period. Emory Jones doesn't have to be Tim Tebow or Dak Prescott. Let Emory Jones be Emory Jones...

Dan Mullen needs to unleash Emory Jones. Let him use his instincts as a quarterback. Like the person said in the article sometimes then mullet outsmarts himself. The history of the great quarterbacks at Florida all of them had their own niche, own identity, they lead their teams and played a different way.. Spurrier, Rex, Chris Leak, Tim Tebow, I'll actually say Kyle too... So let's take the restraints off Emory and let him play
Vinny B
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People keep saying EJ is tailor made for a Mullen offense, but this year Mullen tailored his offense to fit his personnel. If we had any semblance of a running game this year it's scary to think what the offense could have accomplished with Trask at the helm. If EJ had started I don't think the running game would have been appreciably better, jmho. I think there's a reason that Mullen chose Trask and that's because there is a wide gap between the two in the overall passing game, which includes making quick decisions and going through progressions along with accuracy. People seem to feel EJ throws a nice ball, but I don't think you can tell when he's only attempting 4-5 passes per game. What would he look like over an entire game when he's asked to throw 25 times? Trask will continue to improve next year but he will need to have a better OL and running game for UF to win the SEC. Disclaimer: I prefer a pro-style offense to the spread. None of Urban's or Mullen's offenses come close to the offensive fire-power that we had with Spurrier.
upstateg8tor
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I don't know how this is even debatable. This was the best QB talent display we've had since 2009... and it was a guy who hasn't started in 7 years. To move on to EJ just because it might make him unhappy or because of "scheme" is the dumbest reason I've ever heard. Who got the job done? This was BY FAR the most enjoyable offense to watch since Tebow. I love Feleipe... and he gave his heart to UF but I haven't felt this comfortable about anyone behind center in the last 13 QBs that took a snap. Quit creating controversy when there isn't any.
Mark Wheeler
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Staff
Vinny B said:

People keep saying EJ is tailor made for a Mullen offense, but this year Mullen tailored his offense to fit his personnel. If we had any semblance of a running game this year it's scary to think what the offense could have accomplished with Trask at the helm. If EJ had started I don't think the running game would have been appreciably better, jmho. I think there's a reason that Mullen chose Trask and that's because there is a wide gap between the two in the overall passing game, which includes making quick decisions and going through progressions along with accuracy. People seem to feel EJ throws a nice ball, but I don't think you can tell when he's only attempting 4-5 passes per game. What would he look like over an entire game when he's asked to throw 25 times? Trask will continue to improve next year but he will need to have a better OL and running game for UF to win the SEC. Disclaimer: I prefer a pro-style offense to the spread. None of Urban's or Mullen's offenses come close to the offensive fire-power that we had with Spurrier.
While I believe the passing game would have taken a bit of a hit with Jones, I do think that the run game would have fared better because opposing defenses would have had to account for him, when they don't with Trask.
Vinny B
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upstateg8tor said:

I don't know how this is even debatable. This was the best QB talent display we've had since 2009... and it was a guy who hasn't started in 7 years. To move on to EJ just because it might make him unhappy or because of "scheme" is the dumbest reason I've ever heard. Who got the job done? This was BY FAR the most enjoyable offense to watch since Tebow. I love Feleipe... and he gave his heart to UF but I haven't felt this comfortable about anyone behind center in the last 13 QBs that took a snap. Quit creating controversy when there isn't any.
Agreed
Mark Wheeler
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Staff
upstateg8tor said:

Quit creating controversy when there isn't any.
I hardly think it is creating controversy to discuss the quarterback position. What role Jones should play has been talked about week to week, many times even during the actual games. We aren't even saying who we think should be the starter, we are making the case for each of the three scenarios.

And not to take anything at all away from Kyle Trask, he did a damn good job this year, but I wouldn't call him the most talented UF quarterback since 2009.

As to Mullen, he deserves credit for adapting the offense to fit Trask, but when it comes to 'scheme' it's more than that to him. The spread option it is what he helped invent. It would be like asking Bill Walsh to run something other than the West Coast Offense because he had an option quarterback. I am sure he could, but his preference is to have a quarterback that fits his system.

There is a reason the quarterbacks signed/committed by UF under Mullen so far have been Emory Jones, Jalon Jones and Anthony Richardson and not Dan Marino types. He prefers his quarterbacks be able to run.

Again, none of this is to slight Trask in the least, he has been very good, but he doesn't fit the mold that Mullen wants at quarterback.
SwampMagic
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Some are forgetting Trask had some really bad throws this year like 2 dropped interceptions in the Missouri game.

Let them rotate some with Trask taking the lead to start next year and then let whoever plays the best be the starter.
gspoon2003
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It's actually too risky for Jones to transfer this year. He'd have to sit out the 2020 season and he'll be the starter in 2021 regardless...it's in his best interest to sit, learn and prepare to take over the reigns once Trask has graduated. With that being said, I still believe Jones' ceiling is a lot higher.
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