The Daily Gamecock

Florida's two-quarterback system presents intriguing challenge for South Carolina

<p>The Gamecock defense gets ready for the next play in the game against Kentucky on Sept. 25, 2021.</p>

The Gamecock defense gets ready for the next play in the game against Kentucky on Sept. 25, 2021.

Down in Gainesville, the Florida football team (4-4, 2-4 SEC) has yet to find its answer at the quarterback position, following the departure of former Heisman Trophy finalist Kyle Trask. 

With four games remaining in the regular season, the Gators have been opting to use both redshirt junior Emory Jones and redshirt freshman Anthony Richardson at quarterback to keep defenses off balance. 

Ahead of Saturday's matchup with Florida, South Carolina (4-4, 1-4 SEC) is preparing for the possibility of facing multiple quarterbacks.

"Those guys can spin it. They make the right reads, they know when to scramble, they know when not to scramble, and obviously (Florida) coach (Dan) Mullen does a good job with the QB run game," defensive coordinator Clayton White said at Wednesday's press conference. "So, our guys are dialed into it. Every week's personal — every rep you take in football life is personal."

Coming into the season Mullen elected to go with Jones, who came in for Trask on multiple occasions to change the pace with his legs. 

While Jones has shown to be a threat on the ground, running for 516 yards and three touchdowns, he has been unable to find his rhythm in the passing game. In seven starts, Jones carries a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10-9, culminating in his apparent benching against top-ranked Georgia last weekend. 

Making his first career start against a dominant defense, Richardson unsurprisingly struggled, completing 12-of-20 passes for 82 yards and two interceptions in the 34-7 loss to Georgia.

Despite his struggles, Mullen still remains confident in his young quarterback. 

"Don't think for a second that Anthony's not a competitor and wants to go out, and is going to continue to work to get better," Mullen said. "The talent's there and we've just gotta get him coached up on the intangibles."

Richardson's status against the Gamecocks remains up in the air, as he has yet to practice since sustaining a concussion last Saturday.  

In order to prepare for what's to come from Florida's offense, the Gamecocks have been using freshman wide receiver O'Mega Blake as the scout team's quarterback, simulating Jones' play style. 

"(Blake) was dropping dimes. It was impressive," Satterfield said. "We gotta exhaust all options, but he really did look well throwing the football against the defense."

With the Gators having two options at quarterback, Satterfield said the team tries to find players that played quarterback in high school and let them run on the scout team's offense. 

A former South Pointe High School product, Blake played multiple positions, including quarterback, where he accumulated 1,272 yards of total offense and a dozen touchdowns in his senior season. 

"I think they asked around who had played some quarterback and O'Mega volunteered for it, and when he went out there, it was eye-opening how well he did play quarterback," Satterfield said. 

From a team standpoint, White said it is "big time for us to be able to replicate that speed and just that tempo of certain plays."

"A lot of times, quarterbacks for the most part aren't as quick as the guys that they have at Florida," White said. "You have to make sure your defensive guys are used to that look, so that when they get to Saturday that's not their first time seeing that kind of speed."

South Carolina and Florida will kick off from Williams-Brice Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday on SEC Network. 


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