First and foremost, I want to take this time to reach out and wish everyone a healthy stint throughout this very challenging time in all of our lives. Hopefully this will be behind us soon and we can move on as a society. But as of right now—I would even take a Jim McElwain coached football team to watch. But if the season starts up as planned, the Florida Gators will be in a much better position than any of those stubborn teams coached by the previous regime.
Starter: Kyle Trask
With Trask returning at QB, Florida has its most promise at the position since Dan Mullen served a different title in Gainesville. And despite the losses of four productive receivers to graduation—UF should be more explosive at that position. The running game will need to make a strong leap from last season’s implosion, but that’s a story for another day. Trask passed for just under 3,000 yards, threw for 25 TD’s along with four rushing, all while completing two-thirds of his passes, and he didn’t even get on the field until midway through the third game of the season against Kentucky. Outside of three year-starter Kellen Mond at Texas A&M, Trask is clearly the most productive QB returning around the conference, and there’s no reason that he and the offense shouldn’t take a major jump from there this season. Trask has a solid frame at 6-5, 240, and largely played fine football last season with the exception of a few erratic plays showing his inexperience at times each game. Trask has solid arm strength and can get the football down the field, and his accuracy is there overall. Don’t sleep on his wheels either, even though he might be a little goofy. With a year of starting under his belt and Mullen in his ear, we should expect Trask to clean up his game and make all of the throws he needs to make, and put the football where it needs to appropriately go with the outstanding collective talent he’ll have running around.
First Up: Emory Jones
Jones is the polished athlete to contrast Trask’s abilities as a passer. But I fully expect Jones to continue improving his passing mechanics. It wasn’t like Jones couldn’t throw at all in 2019 (66% completion percentage, 267 yards, and three TD’s), but the strength of his game are his legs and it was clear how Mullen wanted to manage his two QB’s. Jones saw playing time thoughout despite Trask’s emergence, and Mullen went with him sometimes at crucial junctures in games. Jones will have more of an expanded role with this year’s team. It’s just a matter of to what extent Mullen will allow him to run the show. As the calendar will eventually turn to 2021, that should be Jones’ time to become the leader of the offense.
Next: Anthony Richardson
The elite speedster straight out of Gainesville stayed in town and joined his beloved hometown Gators. The four-star athlete had enrolled in January and been practicing with the team before everything was shut down. It’s hard to know where he is in his development at this point. Richardson has excellent size at 6-4, 235, all while having dazzling wheels in conjunction to his large frame for such a young age. Add in his nicely touched throws and Richardson has the potential to be the total package. Mullen likes Richardson as his next superstar QB, and he will probably compete with Jones for the job in 2021. But of course, only time will tell, as both Jones and Richardson will have to fend off incoming four-star passer Carlos Del Rio in 2021 for that opportunity.
The rest: Luke Matthews
If there is a season, Florida had better hope that it doesn’t find itself in this position due to injuries. But Matthews will add depth to a mega- talented room. Matthews is the son of former UF QB Shane who played under Steve Spurrier in the early 90’s.
If you look around within the conference, this room is shaping up to be as good as any group around from top to bottom and of course led by Trask. For a position that’s been the laughing-stock of the program over the last decade, I think it’s safe to say that Mullen has made a major imprint on this program. Now, will it be enough to lead the Gators to an SEC title, and even more?