Florida two wins away from bowl eligibility

Oct 31, 2022 | 1 comment

Florida head coach Billy Napier as well as O’Cyrus Torrence and Jaydon Hill addressed the media on Monday to recap the loss to No. 1 Georgia, the dismissal of defensive end Brenton Cox, and a look ahead to this weekend’s contest against Texas A&M.

Here are the highlights.

Billy Napier

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher hired Napier for a job while Fisher was at Florida State, but Napier left for Alabama after a month.

Jimbo, couldn’t be more thankful for — Jimbo gave me an opportunity. I was actually with him for five or six weeks there before accepting the job at Alabama. He had tremendous success at Florida State, won a National Championship, evaluated, recruited well. He had some fantastic coaches there and did something there that hadn’t been done in a long time.

Napier on dismissing starting defensive end Brenton Cox from the team on Monday.

Brenton, we’ve kind of decided to move on here. I think — you know, I think that being a football player at the University of Florida is a privilege, right? There’s certain expectations and standards that come with that.

Brenton’s been here in his third year. Obviously, he’s done a lot of good things for the University of Florida, and we wish him nothing but the best.

Sometimes you have to make decisions in the best interests of the team. Certainly Brenton, we’re going to do everything we can do to help him with his transition, but as simple as that. I think we’ve decided to move on.

I don’t know that we would get specific relative to the — to what caused the decision. I think it’s more of a cumulative effect here. We keep that in house.

Napier on who will play in place of Cox.

We’ve been playing a handful of players in that position the entire year. I think — so A.P. and Lloyd and those guys will do a really good job. They’ve been playing in each and every game for the most part. I know Lloyd was out this past week, but we’ll just continue in that direction.

After statistically being one of the best teams in the nation at protecting the quarterback, Florida fell apart against Georgia – giving up three sacks and 10 hurries.

A combination of things. Individual matchups, that’s a good group. I think they do a good job of creating one-on-ones, and certainly they’ve got some good players.

Not necessarily one thing, I think a combination of all those things. Some individual matchups, some communication, some technique. I think they all contributed to those plays.

But you’re right. And partly a lot of down and distances where you’re in that mode, right? You’re in that drop-back mode where you’re standing in the pocket. So I think the key there was to try to stay on schedule and avoid those situations. Certainly we weren’t able to do that. That’s one of the reasons why we struggled in the game early.

Napier on the importance on playing in a bowl game.

Well, I think it’s one of the benefits of going to a bowl game is that you get additional time with the players from a development standpoint. More meetings, more walk throughs, more practice opportunity. There’s no question this is a developmental game, and you do that in a practice setting.

Certainly, it’s another opportunity for your team to compete and play. So more experience for players, opportunities for players to increase their value relative to their career. And certainly an opportunity to celebrate some of the positive things that come from the year.

Linebacker Amari Burney has filled the stat sheet for Florida this season, and then was the biggest defensive difference maker on Saturday.

Amari is one of the best players that we have, big picture-wise, relative to his attitude, his energy every day, the consistency in which he shows up and works. He’s playing injured to some degree too. He’s managing an injury.

So this is a guy that has the respect of his peers. He’s a smart player. He’s a really good communicator, and he’s really a versatile player. He’s been very productive for us.

Nothing but respect for Amari in his overall approach.

O’Cyrus Torrence

Torrence on the difference he saw between year one and year two with Napier at ULL

You just realize and kind of see, once they buy in and the players start seeing some of the things works, you see more of the team bonding and stuff like that, and it creates more of a team, and that just helps out and builds the discipline and other things to make the team better.

So those are the little things that takes a while to build. But you see those changes as the first and second years go on. So I feel those are going to be the most notable changes next year.

Is he seeing that same progression his first year at Florida?

I’m starting to see it compared to how we started from fall to the first game, even to now. It’s very important because I feel like there’s a lot of games left to be played, and it depends on how we finish. We could still have a pretty good season and finish with a nice record.

If we continue those things well, like the discipline, the small things, the small details, I feel like we could finish the season nice and be a good starting point for next season to build momentum for next season.

Torrence on the importance of playing in a bowl game.

I feel it’s very critical because you go to University of Florida, and they just automatically assume they’re going to have a championship and a bowl game. It is critical to get two games so we can be bowl eligible. I feel like these next few weeks we’re going to take very serious to get that accomplished.

What the message to the team is after the dismissal of Cox

Maybe like a message to some things you just can’t put up with as a team, as a whole. We’re in this thing together, so some things you do just can’t be accepted.

The physically of playing in the SEC.

It’s definitely got some difference from what I’m used to. You definitely see more players bigger and stronger and stuff like that. So it’s just a different challenge every week. It’s funner and makes the game more tough at the same time because you never know what type of players you’re going to get.

You don’t know type of defenses, like they’re going to run pressures and things like those. It makes the game more difficult but fun at the same time.

Jaydon Hill

Hill on the importance of Florida making it to a bowl game.

Yeah, no doubt. That’s literally like the standard here. A bowl game, I feel like that’s definitely something we — I won’t even say expect. It’s more so like we’re working to get to that most definitely.

The reaction to Cox being dismissed.

It definitely sends a strong message throughout the locker room. That’s my guy. I’m still rooting for B to this day.

It kind of caught me off guard a little bit. I kind of found out when I got there. That’s Coach Napier’s decision, and I leave that up to Coach. We’ve just got to keep growing as a team and finish out strong, but I wish him the best for sure.

With Cox leaving, that should result in more playing time for Lloyd Summerall.

Even with B, through the whole course, Lloyd has been taking from his game and just applying it to his. I feel like Lloyd has learned a lot from B as far as like his play. Lloyd has learned the urgency, and I feel like Lloyd has taken the big step to be ready.

Honestly, I’m confident of Lloyd and his play and all the other backs as well, Twaun, Reese. I’m confident in all those guys. I feel like they’re ready, no doubt.

Hill on the heat defensive coordinator Patrick Toney is taking from the Gator Nation.

I will say this. I see the hate too. I see it with coach. I feel like fans should take a step back and really understand that Patrick Toney is definitely — he’s definitely a great coach.

And I know it’s hard to say with the results that we’re giving, but that just goes back to we have to be on the same page as far as just, you know, players. We have to execute it. Patrick Toney can only do so much. He gives us the calls, and we have to execute it. You can’t fault Coach Toney.

One thing I will say, Patrick Toney is doing his hardest every week. He’s in here before you all wake up, and he’s in here when you’re all going to sleep. He’s doing his best to make sure we’re in the best situation, the best position to be successful. I’m strongly confident in Coach Toney.

Hill on true freshman defensive tackle Chris McClellan.

Before Chris ever made the first play that you all seen, I always knew that just his approach in practice and his work ethic, I already knew Chris was going to be a good player for us. I honestly feel like Chris brings that extra edge to the defense. He gets to come off the bench, and he gets to make good plays.

He makes big time plays when we need him, and I’m thankful for Chris. He made a lot of big time plays for us.

Everything Billy Napier, O’Cyrus Torrence, and Jaydon Hill had to say today can be seen HERE.


How does Florida fare over the next four games?

  • 2-2 (43%, 3 Votes)
  • 1-3 (29%, 2 Votes)
  • 4-0 (14%, 1 Votes)
  • 3-1 (14%, 1 Votes)
  • 0-4 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 7

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