TAMPA — Starter Emory Jones or backup Anthony Richardson.
Florida coach Dan Mullen insists the 13th-ranked Gators (2-0) don’t have a quarterback controversy or a reason to change the depth chart after Richardson outplayed Jones for the second straight game in a 42-20 rout of South Florida on Saturday.
“We have two quarterbacks that are pretty talented guys that can make things happen on the field,” Mullen said. “But there are a lot of things quarterbacks have to do.”
Jones and Richardson shared playing time, with each having his way in the opening half against a USF defense that allowed touchdowns on five consecutive possessions after producing a three-and-out to start the game.
Jones threw a 35-yard TD pass to Xzavier Henderson and scored on a 33-yard run on the way to a 35-3 halftime lead before a crowd of 66,646 at Raymond James Stadium.
The redshirt junior from LaGrange, Georgia, was not nearly as effective the rest of the way, though, tossing a pair of interceptions and turning the ball over on downs on four straight possessions to begin the second half.
“I thought (Jones) played much better this week than last week. I just thought we got sloppy in the second half,” Mullen said.
“I feel like I came out a little slow in the second half, which led to those two interceptions,” Jones said. “Just bad decisions by me. I shouldn’t have thrown those balls.”
Richardson, meanwhile, took an astounding passer rating of 917.2 into the fourth quarter after completing his first two attempts to Jacob Copeland on scoring plays of 75 and 41 yards before halftime.
The 6-foot-4, 236-pound backup from Gainesville, Florida, completed his only pass of the second half for 36 yards to finish 3 of 3 for 152 yards, two TDs and a 745.6 rating that seemingly would be difficult for Mullen to ignore with top-ranked and defending champion Alabama visiting The Swamp next Saturday.
“He does special things. He doesn’t always do the right thing, but he does special things,” Mullen said. “We have to keep coaching him up.”
Mullen said Jones will start, and both quarterbacks will play, against Alabama.
“I thought both of them were pretty efficient in the first half. It’s a long season and we have young quarterbacks that I have to continue to grow and develop into being good football players,” Mullen said.
“We’re trying to win football games,” the coach added after his 100th career victory. “My responsibility is to put the team in a position to win and there’s a lot that goes into that.”