UF Quarterback Performance to Date. More Evidence of Anthony Richardson’s Play Making

With UF football unexpectedly struggling, there is considerable criticism of head coach Dan Mullen and starting quarterback Emory Jones (EJ). Not to mention the ever-present criticism of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. However, one source of frustration among UF fans and college football analysts and pundits everywhere seems to be that Mullen continues to start Jones over freshman QB Anthony Richardson, or AR15.

Though this frustration often manifests itself as a slight against Jones, it may be more of a compliment to AR15. Using EPA data from CollegeFootballData.com I looked at how EJ, AR15, and Florida’s opposing QBs (OPP)have performed so far. I just used UF’s opponents as kind of a reference point so we aren’t just looking at EJ vs AR15 without some additional context.

The sample sizes for AR15 vs Jones and OPP are quite different. I was able to get 65 plays for AR, 255 for EJ, and 217 for OPP. Because I am lazy, I only used pass plays for opposing QBs but I used rushing and passing for Florida’s QBs. Sifting through every play and pulling out which rush play was by an opposing QB would take time and it isn’t that important to me. I just wanted some level of reference point. Keeping rushing plays for the UF QBs also helps bolster AR15s sample size. Plus, QB running is a big part of UF’s offensive philosophy with both EJ and AR15.

Just graphing the performance over time shows us something interesting. We can see that AR15 has a lot of plays above the upper bound (2 standard deviations above the group average) and few below the lower bound.

The dotted green lines are the upper and lower bounds. Black dotted line is the average. Using this as a threshold for Really Good and Really Bad, the simple probabilities (percentages) work out like so:

PlayerReally GoodReally Bad
AR 11%2%
EJ 2%2%

The clear extreme score is the probability of AR15 having a Really Good play. EJ has largely performed at the same level as UF’s opposing QBs.

This can also be seen in a simple boxplot where the outliers are shown (but only at 1.5 standard deviations, above and below the interquartile range).

The boxplots show that EJ has quite a few negative outliers (dots at the bottom), while all of AR15’s outliers are at the top (good).

I’ll continue to update throughout the season. The Georgia game will be a great opportunity to see what AR15 can do against an elite defense, though he will surely need some help from his teammates. Once I get some more time, I’ll include just the SEC QBs to get a better reference point.

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