Updated: Jun 17, 2020
I know this story is long but it's an interesting read and if you don't read the whole thing it won't make sense. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!
Emory Jones. That is why the Florida Gators will win the SEC Championship in the 2020-2021 season. Now if you're up to it, I'd like to tell you how a player that started the 2019 season as a third string quarterback is the missing piece to an SEC Championship.
Kyle Trask started the 2019 season as the backup to Felipe Franks who was a streaky player and had good and bad games but definitely wasn't a championship quarterback. In 2018 Franks played in 13 games and threw for 188 completions on 322 attempts which is a 58.4% completion percentage. He threw for 2457 yards which calculates to 7.6 yards per attempt. He threw for 24 touchdowns with 6 interceptions. In 2018, he also, rushed 110 times for 350 yards and 7 touchdowns. In 2019, Trask played in 12 games and threw for 237 completions on 354 attempts which is a 66.9% completion percentage. He threw for 2941 yards which calculates to 8.3 yards per attempt. He threw for 25 touchdowns with 7 interceptions. In 2019, he rushed 68 times for 8 yards and 4 touchdowns. Now, when we analyze these stats it becomes apparent that Kyle Trask is a much better Quarterback than Felipe Franks. He also has the ability to read defenses much better than Franks and the ability to throw guys open. This can be seen throughout the highlight video below.
As you can tell Trask has an amazing arm and an amazing football IQ. I'm sure these two things were noticed by Dan Mullen and the staff in practices. Kyle is also an extremely hard worker as can be seen in the occasional Instagram posts from Gators football team showing the team's offseason workouts. This is why he was placed slightly over Emory Jones on the depth chart.
The only downside to Trask when comparing him to Franks is his mobility. However, Trask has been working with Darrell Colbert Jr. and Miami QB D'Eriq King throughout the offseason to improve his mobility and arm. He posts his progress daily on his Instagram story. Now, Am I saying he will be as mobile as Felipe Franks? No, I am not. But at least Trask is aware that he isn't a very mobile quarterback. Felipe often got himself into trouble by running for first downs when he should have stayed in the pocket and let the play develop. Lamar Jackson can often get away with this because he is always the most athletic guy on the field, but this doesn't work for Felipe since he is not even close to as good of an athlete as Lamar. During a run for a first down in the game against Kentucky this year on 9/14/19 Felipe suffered a season ending injury in which he dislocated and fractured his ankle. Kyle Trask was second on the depth chart so he entered the game and led Florida out of the 11 point deficit to win by 8.
So now that we know why Kyle Trask became the starter, we must compare him to Emory Jones to make sure it was the correct decision by Mullen and staff. In 2019 Kyle Trask and Emory Jones had about an 80-20 playing time division so stats may not be the best representation of who is better since Emory had such a small sample size. So once again in 2019, Trask played in 12 games and threw for 237 completions on 354 attempts which is a 66.9% completion percentage. He threw for 2941 yards which calculates to 8.3 yards per attempt. He threw for 25 touchdowns with 7 interceptions. He was sacked 22 times. In 2019, he rushed 68 times for 8 yards and 4 touchdowns. In 2019, Emory Jones threw for 25 completions on 38 attempts which is a 65.8% completion percentage. He threw for 267 yards which calculates 7.0 yards per attempt. He threw for 3 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. He was sacked 0 times (all Emory Jones stats are courtesy of ESPN). So when looking at these stats we can see that Mullen made the correct decision based off of what he saw in practice and the weight room. However since Emory has too good of stats and film to play 20% of the snaps, Mullen is going to increase his role to most likely a 60-40 division of snaps, with Trask remaining the starter. If not I could definitely see Emory looking to transfer to a different school. Just to put into perspective how good he is, let me name some SEC starting quarterbacks that Emory is better than even though stats may not show: Myles Brennan (LSU), Felipe Franks (Arkansas) Ken Seals (Vanderbilt), Jarrett Guarantano (Tennessee), Shawn Robinson (Missouri). I have attached this highlight video,created by "Charlie Parker Highlights" on YouTube, showcasing Emory's running and passing abilities that will make him the secret ingredient for an SEC championship.
Emory Jones is nearly impossible to gameplan for, because of his speed, agility, arm strength, accuracy, and football IQ. In a normal week college defensive coordinators are given about 2 days at most to gameplan so their players can practice it throughout the week. It is impossible to create a gameplan to stop Trask and Jones in two days, therefore leaving the defensive players much less time to practice, therefore leaving them unprepared to play. Even if you do come up with a perfect gameplan for Jones, Trask can play the whole game and vice versa. Those are the perks of having two unselfish star quarterbacks that value winning over anything else.
Florida has been flirting with winning the division for the past two years and I think this is the year they do it with Jamie Newman at QB for UGA who has continuously failed to read simple ACC defenses at Wake Forest. I think Newman will struggle and J.T. Daniels from USC could potentially see some playing time if he is granted eligibility. I believe Daniels may struggle at first too because quarterbacks who are new to the SEC often struggle with the intensity of the SEC. The only other regular season "threat" to the Gators would be the LSU Tigers who will be starting Myles Brennan at quarterback. Myles Brennan was ranked 13th out of 14 SEC Starting Quarterbacks in a list of 2020 projections created by Brad Crawford of 247SPORTS. Also, LSU had 13 players drafted which completely gutted them of star power except for Ja'marr Chase and Derik Stingley Jr. who will look to "play both ways" according to his dad, which could tire him out and limit him from being one of the best DBs in the country. If Florida wins those two, and all of their less challenging games, they will most likely face Alabama in the SEC Championship and I think Florida would win that game. Alabama is going to start the season with Mac Jones at QB who appeared to be good but not great in the limited time that he played towards the end of the season. Jones' stats from last year are not a fair representation of how he played since he was surrounded by first round picks at every position. Not to say Alabama won't be talented this year, but they definitely won't be as talented as last year. Also, if you watched the Alabama games you could tell that this kid just didn't have the IT factor last year. He may have changed and got the IT factor this year but he was not a championship caliber quarterback in 2019, which is what is going to be expected of him in 2020.
Led by great quarterback play by both Emory Jones and Kyle Trask, and great receiving from WR Kadarius Toney, TE Kyle Pitts, and WR Jacob Copeland, the Florida Gators are your 2020 SEC Champions!