When Emory Jones got into the game against the Georgia Bulldogs last week in Jacksonville it was a glimpse into the future of what Gator fans can expect down the line.
The key part of that statement is “down the line.”
Dan Mullen reiterated on Saturday night that the plan for Jones, a true freshman, is to redshirt this season. The NCAA rules dictate that Jones can play in four games this season while still holding on to his redshirt and an additional year of eligibility.
Against Georgia Dan Mullen installed a package for Jones and it was Florida’s freshman quarterback that played even though most of the talk all week was about Georgia’s Justin Fields. Then against Missouri, as Feleipe Franks struggled to find his footing, Mullen stuck with him and Jones sat on the sideline with a headset on.
“We didn’t have the package for him this week. Like I said, we’re going to play him, the goal is to redshirt him at this point,” Mullen said. “We have three games left in the regular season and he can play in two, plus the bowl game. So he can play in half of our remaining games.”
The plan has always been that for Jones this season. He played sparingly against Charleston Southern in the opener and again against Georgia. This was always going to be a developmental season for him and two losses in a row and poor quarterback play in front of him doesn’t change that long term picture.
“What we’re trying to do to build him, like I’ve done with a lot of young quarterbacks is let him run our offense, he gets reps in practice during the week, let him run our offense a little bit but also have a specific package that we’re going to force him into the game to go get that experience, build that confidence,” Mullen said.
So, for now, patience is required. Jones will play in two of the next four games. how much or how little will be determined by what he foes in practice but Mullen isn’t going to throw Jones out there just to do it.