As No. 11 Florida and USF continue their two-quarterback plans, their differing philosophies are obvious.
Bulls coach Jeff Scott explained his strategy with Timmy McClain and Cade Fortin last month: “I want my wife to be able to come to the game and be able to say, ‘That’s your best quarterback right there.’ It needs to be that obvious.”
If Gators coach Dan Mullen operated that way, UF would have switched from Emory Jones to Anthony Richardson. The backup leads the nation in yards per rush (25) and would lead the nation in yards per pass (17.5) if he had enough attempts to qualify for leaderboards.
But Mullen is sticking with Jones, who’s more experienced and has a better knowledge of the system. The best quarterback might not be the right one right now for Mullen.
There are trade-offs to both approaches. Throw a young quarterback in too early, and you risk hurting his long-term development. UF experienced that with Feleipe Franks in the Jim McElwain era.
Wait too long to make the change, and you get what happened when Scott’s former team, Clemson, visited No. 1 Florida State in 2014. The Tigers played Cole Stoudt for three series (punt, missed field goal, punt) before switching to freshman phenom Deshaun Watson, who led the Tigers to a pair of scores in his first three drives.
Clemson lost 23-17 in overtime. Would the Tigers have upset FSU if Watson had played earlier? Or would Clemson have jeopardized his long-term health and development by starting him earlier?
That’s the dilemma facing the Gators and Bulls as their two-quarterback plans move into a third week.
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