Following Kyle Trask, it was supposed to be Emory Jones as the next quarterback in the Dan Mullen pipeline. While Jones remains firmly in the equation, it’s been Anthony Richardson stealing the headlines so far in 2021 for the Florida Gators.
The former four-star prospect oozes athleticism, and frankly has been the more explosive quarterback for Mullen to this point. However, he was forced to miss last week’s game against Alabama, as the Crimson Tide squeaked out a narrow win in The Swamp.
Richardson is dealing with a hamstring issue, and Mullen opted to play it safe with his dynamic quarterback against Alabama. He continues to work back to full strength, in hopes of being ready to go on Saturday night.
“He’s looking good,” Mullen told reporters on Wednesday. “We haven’t really opened him up a whole lot. It is a little bit similar to last week. We’re going to do a MRI and see where he’s at and do a full test on Friday to give him the maximum time to get to 100 percent.”
Richardson was medically cleared to play against Alabama last week, but Mullen kept him on the sidelines. It doesn’t sound like that’s the plan for Tennessee.
“We’ve done more at practice with him this week than we did last week, even opening him up some, but we haven’t gotten him on a full sprint yet,” Mullen said. “I would think he’ll be ready to go on Saturday.”
Richardson is just 6-11 passing on the year, but he’s the team’s leading rusher still even after missing a game. He’s handled 11 carries for 275 yards, good for a staggering 25 yards per attempt. Emory Jones is second on the team in rushing, taking 42 carries for 232 yards.
Through the air, Jones has thrown for 459 yards, two touchdowns and five interceptions.
Clearly, the read-option looks are going to be something that Tennessee will see plenty of, no matter who is taking the snaps. Keeping both guys contained in the pocket while executing run fits will be priority No. 1 for this Tennessee defense on Saturday.