Saturday was a good day to be Emory Jones. Fresh off the heels of a near miss against Bama and amid a quarterback controversy between him and phenom Anthony Richardson, Jones turned in a solid performance against Tennessee, leading the Gators to a 38-14 victory. In doing so, Jones was 21/27 passing for 209 yards, 2 TDs, and NO INTs. He also had a team-leading 144 yds rushing on 15 carries. 353 yds of total offense isn’t shabby and it was clear that Jones was feeling more comfortable as “the man,” exploiting the Vols attention to the rest of our backfield and patiently making the throws that UT allowed in the seams and flats. There’s still no vertical stretch and Emory remains too flat-footed in the pocket, but for a Saturday at least, he avoided the “Bama Hangover” (a term stolen from the TV guys) and led the Gators to an always appreciated, if not expected, win against the Volunteers. Meanwhile, after three fairly solid quarters against Bama last week, the Gators’ secondary reverted to their old ways, allowing open receivers behind them, missing tackles, and giving up two first half passing TDs. Had the Vols a better QB, the penciled in victory might not have been. I can breathe a little easier now, but on the Vols second TD, I couldn’t help but laugh (between cuss words) at how bad our DB looked pursuing the receiver who had run past him… I’m quite certain that a lot of it had to do with having played some better last week, but the fact remains that we are not “DBU” and the route recognition skills nor the ability to process calls and carry out assignments remains underdeveloped. Thank goodness for the front 6/7. *We amassed over 500 yds of offense, 283 rushing and 222 passing and there’s some cause to celebrate our potency and consistency. However, we allowed 423 total yds, 275 passing and 148 rushing…against the inferior Vols. Maybe there was a touch of the “Bama Hangover?” Todd, is that you? *And while I’m on Grantham, I don’t fault him quite as much for some of his blitz calls. I mean, for two weeks now, we’ve faced relatively inexperienced QBs and finding ways to disrupt their timing and put pressure on them is Defensive Football 101. But Great Day, make sure you’ve got people in the secondary that can at least keep the receivers in front of them. It is maddening that this issue prevails year after year. I do fault Todd for allowing this to continue. *For not having a stable of highly touted LBs and having lost arguably our best guy to a torn bicep, we’re getting some decent play from them. It doesn’t hurt that our front four are pretty solid, even Brenton Cox looked good against the run, but Moon, Diabate, et al are flowing to the ball and cleaning things up. Heaven forbid that these guys don’t stay healthy. *Hated that Copeland got stripped while fighting for some YAC. Had that turnover not occurred and we go on to punch it in, we might’ve scored 50. As it stands, a three TD margin was not bad, even if we might have been left wanting more. A team that is strong running the ball and average passing usually isn’t big strike. *How about Mullen with a little trickeration?! That play was almost as if a fan had won some sort of radio station sweepstakes and got to call one play during the game. Or maybe SOS dropped by Mullen’s office for a little chalk talk? Any who, it was kinda fun and didn’t backfire. *A new kicker after Bama wasn’t surprising and he did make all of his PATs and a FG attempt. Wish we could see some touchbacks on the kickoffs though. There was also a new KO return guy. Expected moves were good to see, however insignificant that may seem *We’ve got three pretty good backs, four if you count Emory, and I’m pleased that we are able to grind out yardage. It is demoralizing to the opposition and is due in large part to an improved OL. The Vols were pretty good in spots accounting for Davis, Pierce, and Wright, but not so much for Emory. We’re good as long as we don’t lay the ball down and the passing game progresses. We’ll soon face some teams that can take the run away and we’ll have to be able to counter vertically. *I have to give Rick Wells a shout. I’ve wondered how he has become a starting receiver for us, but he’s progressed and yesterday made a very nice catch going out of bounds, getting a foot down on the dead run. At some point this year, he and the other receivers will have to play a bigger part in the offense. I’m glad he’s moving upward. I still have feelings that Richardson is the future. He appears, in a short sample size, to have the arm and moxie that we all want in a QB. But despite those feelings, I am also happy that Emory has helped ease my mind some with his ability to run the offense, gain yardage and score points that was an improvement over last week. I am concerned with the passing game, though he did look more comfortable yesterday. He’s just not a pocket passer and though he had a couple of nice look-offs yesterday, it’s doubtful at this point that he’ll ever consistently read progression beyond the first one or two routes. Maybe Dan will have that two-headed QB at some point? At any rate, Emory is in a lot of ways both a feel good story and a throwback. It’s hard not to admire a kid these days, a QB at that, who waits for his turn and when he gets it he does good things, the PAT play against Bama notwithstanding. Improvement each week will be the name of the game for #5. That he hasn’t turtled up in the face of the calls for Richardson is a positive. A lesser guy would have. I posted this on here before, but an old coaching friend in Heard County told me when we signed Emory that we got not only a great athlete and QB, but a great kid who was a leader and wouldn’t embarrass us. So far he’s been right. The next step, of course, is to see if the improvement continues against Kentucky on the road. Go Gators!