Cox has taken on the villian’s role since transferring from Georgia to Florida

Oct 26, 2022 | 1 comment

(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)

On Wednesday, linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. and offensive lineman Austin Barber met with the media to update this week’s preparation and preview Saturday’s matchup with No. 1 Georgia.

Here are the main takeaways:

Brenton Cox Jr.

  • A former Georgia play, Cox Jr. transferred to Florida prior to the start of the 2020 season. Cox Jr. gave some input into his decision and his outlook for Saturday’s game. “It just didn’t work out. Me and Coach Smart, we agreed [on the] mutual decision for me to leave and I came here. That’s been the best decision I made so far,” he explained. Since transferring, he’s taken on a sort of villain role on social media in the eyes of Georgia fans. “It’s good and bad to that. A whole fan base knowing me and wishing for our downfall,” he said. “All you can do is take that with a grain of salt and keep moving, that’s all.”
  • Although he’s been at Florida for the last three seasons, he still talks to some former and current Georgia players through social media, but all trash talk is in good fun. “It’s all fun and games at the end of the day. It’s still a game. It’s not real life,” he said. “I still got love for those guys. But on the field, it’s going to be real.”
  • Despite being a Georgia native who has played for both teams, Cox Jr. said he doesn’t have any specific personal memories of the rivalry. “I didn’t really know it was that deep, to be honest,” he said. “I was so locked down on Georgia that’s all I seen for a while.” He added that it didn’t hit him how serious it was until he saw the fans as a player. As one of a few Georgia natives to play for Florida, Cox Jr. said they’re looking forward to seeing old friends on the field.
  • Georgia comes into Saturday’s matchup as 22.5-point favorites over the Gators. “You can’t take this game lightly,” he said. “We just have to go in and try to minimize the amount of points they get.”
  • Cox Jr. has seen action in the rivalry from both sidelines. In 2018, he recording one assisted tackle for the Bulldogs while adding six more over the last two seasons with the Gators. With this experience, he’s given some advice to the younger guys on the team about playing in the rivalry. “I just tell them to keep their poise. It’s a big game,” he said. “I’m sure nobody has played in a game like this coming out of high school. I just tell them stay calm.” He added that personally for him, it’s hard to eat or sleep before the game due to the intensity, but he understands that it’s another SEC game that everybody needs to be ready to play.
  • A major debate in recent years has been the prospect of removing the game as a neutral site and turning it into a home-and-home for the teams. Cox Jr. somewhat agrees with a potential change. “Yeah, I mean Jacksonville is a neutral site, but I feel like the game would be more fun for prospects if it was at home sites,” he said. “That’s just my opinion though, playing in both stadiums.”

Austin Barber

  • A Jacksonville native, Barber understands the intensity of the rivalry and has been to multiple Jaguars and Florida-Georgia games in the past. “This is going to mean the world to me. I have a bunch of family coming, friends coming, they’re all going to be behind me supporting me so I’m excited,” he said.
  • Georgia’s defense ranks No. 1 in the SEC in both passing and rushing defense. Barber said that the team’s experience against other good defenses, as well as his own personal experience blocking Cox Jr. in practice prepares them for the challenge. “I think every team does and we just prepare like — everyone pressures and we’ve seen pressures like this before and I feel like we’re prepared pretty well,” he said. He added that despite the massive betting line, anything can happen due to it being a rivalry game.
  • Florida’s offensive line has been one of the rare consistent position groups this season and ranks as one of the best in the nation. Barber attributed this to everyone buying in as well as having two on-field position coaches. “One guy could be getting in your tail about doing something wrong but you can go to the other guy and say, ‘Hey, how can I fix it?’ It’s like a ying-yang type of thing,” he explained.
  • Being a Jacksonville native, Barber has noticed the emphasis the new staff has placed one recruiting in the area. “I feel like Jacksonville has some of the best recruits. I played there, you got (Marcus) Burke, you’ve got a bunch of guys that are coming in,” he said. He added that with the building blocks they have made in the area, it gives them more confidence to continue recruiting in the area.
  • Anthony Richardson’s first-career start came against Georgia last season, but it was a forgettable one as he threw two interceptions in the 34-7 loss. However, Barber has noticed a difference since last season in his quarterback. “From that game on, he’s been a leader for us, he’s been a guy that’s been vocal, trying to get us right and I feel like him growing from week to week is going to keep us going and I feel like he’s at a point where he can lead this team and get to a victory,” he said. He further explained that Richardson’s athleticism and playmaking ability makes the offensive line look good even when they mess up.

More of what Billy Napier and Kirby Smart said can be seen HEREMore of what Brenton Cox and Austin Barber had to say today can be seen HERE.

The updated depth chart has O’Cyrus Torrence back in the starting lineup


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