Billy Napier and Select Players Media Availability (10/24/22)

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    • #24072
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      At approximately 11:45 Billy Napier and select players will be meeting with the media.

      Follow along for live coverage.

    • #24073
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      Listening to it, really, the biggest news, only real news, was that O’Cyrus Torrence will practice today.

    • #24077
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      Transcript courtesy ASAP

      BILLY NAPIER: It’s certainly been a good open date, good to give the staff and players a little bit of a break over the weekend. With Saturday off, able to get a little bit of prep last week to get out in front of a very important week this week, but certainly just mentally I think really good for everybody.

      But players worked extremely hard last week. I think you’re kind of at that midpoint, and I think this time of year in the second half of the year really challenges all the self-discipline of each individual, each part of the organization, and I think the key here is that we continue to stay focused on what we know winning football looks like.

      I think that’s what the open date uncovered for us, is that we understand where we’re at, why we have the results that we have, and what we need to do to improve there.

      I think just an unwavering level of discipline and commitment to what we’re trying to build here, and certainly starting today we’ll get a little bit ahead here.

      We’ll actually execute a Tuesday practice today with the players, and a certain level of intensity and urgency and focus is required. We’ve got a tremendous amount of respect for the University of Georgia and the football team that they have. Kirby has done a fantastic job going into year seven.

      They continue personnel, the identity, a lot of players that we’re very familiar with.

      Defending national champs and the No. 1 team in the country, so it presents a great opportunity and certainly understanding the history and tradition behind this game at the same time, so we look forward to it.

      Q. How dirty did you get your hands on the defensive side of the ball during the bye week, and how much are you maybe getting more involved moving forward?

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, I think with the way we’re built and the way we’re put together, the way we operate the entire year, I think I’m getting dirty over there all the time, if that makes sense.

      We’re very intentional about how we put our team together. This is not like hey, you guys handle the defense, we’ll handle the offense, you handle the special teams. We’re very much a team approach relative to playing complementary, winning football.

      I think we understand what the issues are. Throughout the year we’ve played really good at times, and then we’ve played very inconsistent at times.

      I think the key here, what are we looking for? We’re looking for all the things that we can control. We’re going to continue to focus on improvement.

      I don’t want to make it more complicated than it is. It’s technical, and certainly I don’t think it’s one specific thing. I think it’s a combination of a lot of areas, and certainly our guys are working hard.

      Nobody cares more than the players do. I know you guys got articles to write and our fans have got things to talk about around the house, but there’s no one that it’s more important to than the people that work extremely hard and take tremendous pride in what they do.

      That’s exactly the approach that they’ve taken.

      We’ve got a lot of football left here, and we’re going to do our best to help the players improve and help the staff improve.

      Q. Is it shocking where it’s at? I know we’ve hammered the defense a little bit, but is it shocking where it’s at? Got a chance to be historically bad here. Given that there seems to be some talent — it’s not like this is devoid of talent. There’s some NFL guys on that side of the ball.

      BILLY NAPIER: No, I think statistically there are a lot of areas where we need to improve. I don’t know what you want me to answer to that, but we’re right in the middle of it. There’s nobody that’s ignoring the problem.

      I think we’ve got a group of people that really care about doing their job better, and that’s what they’re going to try to do.

      Q. It’s been a season of highs and lows, obviously. Where is this game as a measuring stick for kind of where you guys are at right now?

      BILLY NAPIER: I think every game that we’ve played, to some degree, for me, I’m just speaking personally, in particular when you play other teams in our league, I think is a measuring stick.

      I don’t completely comprehend it until I’m out there on the field with them, if that makes sense, relative to where you’re at and what’s going to be required personnel-wise, how you put your team together, whatever the case may be, what you need to do that game to position your team to have success.

      I think each SEC game for the most part has been a little bit of, okay, hey, where are we at. Certainly in your division and with a team that you’re going to have to play every year, so far each one of those games I think has provided us a lot of good information.

      Q. This one being, as you said, No. 1 team, top ranked, this team is hauling in five-stars, five, six a year. The talent is immense. Do you kind of see the gap at that point? It’s like, okay, this is where we’ve got to get to?

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, I mean, I think we all understand that. I think there’s work to be done in a lot of different areas when you’re trying to put together a football team. But personnel is part of that. I think we all understand the value of acquiring really good players. And then having a culture and a development plan, once they do arrive, there’s lots of things that contribute to this game. So there’s no question the evaluation and the recruitment process is pretty well-documented, not only Georgia but a lot of the teams have done a really good job in those areas.

      It pays off. We all understand that.

      Q. How would you assess their talent level compared to other teams you’ve seen? You haven’t seen them yet personally, but as you said —

      BILLY NAPIER: No, there’s no question their personnel is really good. All the things — we’re all from the same tree, height, length, the verified speed, the line of scrimmage, body types, the edge players, the match-up players. There’s no question that they’ve got really good personnel.

      Q. During the season, each week is like game prep. You get an off week, you have a chance to make adjustments. Did you see adjustments that you could make, and was this a successful week as far as getting adjustments made?

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, I don’t think there’s any question. If anything, it’s just you’re out of the — I wouldn’t say we’re out of the grind, but we’re not on the task at hand. There’s time for quality control. We’ve got a pretty extensive process that we go through relative to evaluating where we’re at, areas that need to get better.

      Then you can evaluate each game, and okay, what contributed to each game. Why did you win the games you won? Why did you lose the games you lost? Essentially that’s probably what gives me comfort is we know why we’ve lost games. I think we know what winning football looks like, and the games we lost, we didn’t deserve to win.

      Q. What would you say is the most common themes in the losses or maybe the wins that you guys were able to identify throughout the last week?

      BILLY NAPIER: I mean, it’s the same things we talk about up here every week. I think turnover margin. Every week, right. I think turnover margin, explosive plays, minimizing negatives on the offense, conversion downs, red zone touchdowns, you know, covering kicks, creating game changing plays in the return game. Football is football. I watched a bunch games this weekend. It’s the same game.

      We know what winning football looks like. When we gotten beat this year, there is pretty evident — you guys write about it, why we got to beat. It’s not complicated.

      Q. No one team in the country again before you mentioned, the rivalry game. How much do you present this as opportunity and do you think that can spill over as motivation?

      BILLY NAPIER: I don’t think anybody that’s walking the halls in this building, most everybody understands the things that come with this game.

      You know, I grew up in the state of Georgia, grew up watching this game. Our players are well aware. We’ve got a good percentage that have played in this game. We got another percentage that grew up watching the game.

      So we all understand the history and tradition behind this game.

      Q. You had more opportunity this past week in terms of recruiting. Where do you think you standard in the ’23 class. Just kind of big picture.

      BILLY NAPIER: No, I like the group that we’ve got committed. We need to finish, obviously secure the ones we have and then close on a few others, right?

      So we worked extremely hard at it, not only the recruitment process, but the evaluation process. So far so good. A lot of work left to do. Critical about coaching seven, eight weeks, something like that. So I think a lot of that work has been done and will continue to be done.

      But it’s part of our organization and we’ll continue to get better. I think we got a lot of people getting more familiar with the product we have here. We’re getting more efficient with our time. Got a lot of new people.

      And not just ’23, it’s’24s, ’25s. You got extensive work around the clock every phase of the year, right? So those all those people are taking a lot of pride in their role and certainly have been effective so far.

      Q. On that note, what are your thoughts on players reclassifying? Is there certain positions where that’s easier and what are those conversations like?

      BILLY NAPIER: It’s hard to believe that that’s the case, but I think there is a handful of players out there that are capable. I think about reclassifying the other way. I weighed 92 pounds, I’m getting ready to be a 9th grader. My dad said, hey, you’re going to have to stay back, big guy. So grew six inches and gained 50 pounds that year. I wouldn’t have played college football if I didn’t do it.

      We live in a world now where they’re trying to go forward. I needed to go backwards.

      Q. You mentioned growing up watching the game. Have you ever been to a game in Jacksonville?


      Q. What are you looking forward to the most? I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about it from guys on the staff.

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, I think we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

      This is why you coach college football, why you come to the University of Florida, to play in this league, play in those types of games, and certainly this game has been around for a while. I think for me, the week is about — I don’t know I’m quite prepared to answer that question because I’m focused on trying to get our team ready so we can play with confidence in the game.

      But it’s why you come here, these types of challenges.

      Q. The fine folks of Chatsworth, when I spoke with them, said this is the one game of the year they’re not pulling for you.

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah.

      Q. So what is that dynamic like? Have you heard from anyone back home? Do you hear what people are saying? I know one of your brothers at least is in town.

      BILLY NAPIER: No, I just think that’s why college football is a great game, right. You got this cutthroat — but, no, I mean, I think it’s a fun game. Certainly we got a lot of people that have passion for their teams. We’ll have our fair share in the stadium Saturday I can promise you.

      Q. You talked about how at Alabama you learned not only from Saban, but with the assistants. What was your time like with Kirby, watching him work as defensive coordinator and did he rub off on you as a recruiter?

      BILLY NAPIER: No, heck, I wouldn’t have been at Alabama if it wasn’t for Kirby. Our dads were high school coaches in Georgia. There was some familiarity there and certainly his influence on that with Coach Saban. He had a lot to do with me being there. I will always be thankful for that.

      Kirby is a heck of a football coach, man. I think you think about what he’s done at going to good. I’m going back and evaluating kind of each year. Year seven, what was year one, two, three, four, five for him like? He’s done a fantastic job.

      I told him that the first time I saw him at the SEC coach’s meeting. Had just won the national championship and it’s pretty well documented all that goes into that. So he’s done a — he is a competitor and certainly a ton of respect.

      Q. Did you consider yourself 1-0 against him?

      BILLY NAPIER: No. I think there is a lot of — heck, we’re fortunate to have all the people that we have in our organization. Certainly thankful for Kady.

      Q. Full circle game for Anthony. How do you gauge this process through seven games?

      BILLY NAPIER: No, I think he continues to grow. There is no doubt the comfort level with all the things that contribute to quarterback play, not only our system, but what the other side of the ball is doing, being able to speak that language. Just a ton of growth relative to where he’s at and the level he’s processing at.

      So I think he still working hard on mastering what that process looks like Sunday to Saturday unwavering commitment to what’s required to play and win.

      So that’s where he’s at. Seven games in and continues to get better.

      Q. From a health standpoint getting the week off, where are you now as far as getting your team back to full strength and getting over some of the bumps, bruises and tiredness that comes with playing seven straight weeks?

      BILLY NAPIER: I think it was good. I think we will, I’m pretty confident, get a handful of players back that maybe didn’t participate last week. Cy-Bo (phonetic) in particular will be in practice today. Handful of others that continue to improve. We’ll benefit from it for sure.

      Q. Back to the bye week and defense a little bit, do you have to caution yourself from wanting to do — trying to do too much, make wholesale changes? There is some so much you can probably do with a few extra practices.

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, I think it’s a little bit more of identifying the problems on communication errors, fundamental errors. You know, conceptually what’s been good, what’s not been good. Then you take a whole list particular, okay, let’s look at the big picture in some of these areas where we need to improve. What’s the scouting report. Not that we don’t do that each week, but you got more time to say, okay, based off what we know what can we change or improve.

      Oftentimes playing defense is not about what you’re doing, it’s about how you do it.

      Yeah. So, again, I can’t say it enough. It’s not one thing. It’s a number of things that contribute. We been through this before. We inherited a similar situation in the past. All you can do is focus on the thinks that you know contribute to playing better. That’s exactly what we’re going to do.

      Q. Have you been a coach that’s made personnel changes during a bye week and seen positive effects from that?

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, I think each week you’re evaluating personnel based off not only performance in the game, but also what we observe every day. I mean, I think there is more than just that handful of plays that we see on Saturday.

      What is each individual like from a self-disciplined standpoint, how they’re living their life, what’s their approach in the weight room and the training room, every meeting, walk-through, practice, rep that they take. We spend a lot of time with they guys. I think that’s always very fluid and we’re rewarding what we see.

      There is a number of players that have benefited from doing to the right way.

      Q. This week they put out a press release, will they move that whole story. Kirby as concern is he loses a recruiting weekend?

      BILLY NAPIER: Right.

      Q. Is that a concern for you looking down the road? Do you lose much by playing a game in Jacksonville, recruiting-wise you think?

      BILLY NAPIER: I think the big thing here is that I think maybe for the first time this year the home team gets tickets maybe. You know, I think we’ve come to an agreement there. There is precedent for that. Maybe this game is the one that provides precedent for neutral site both teams to get tickets. Maybe that’s the case. There is no question that Game Day and in particular these type of games create recruiting opportunities.

      So this environment, this experience for a player, can have a significant impact on a player’s decision. So I mean, I completely understand what Kirby is saying. Every other year he’s missing out on what he knows will be a fantastic venue and Game Day experience.

      It being right down the road, it’s really for both teams to some degree there is some advantages and disadvantages here.

      But I think we’ll continue to put our heads together, not only the coaching staff, but the administrations. But I think 1933 the game has been played in Jacksonville, so a lot of history and tradition there.

      Q. (Regarding McConkey.)

      BILLY NAPIER: Heck, I know his whole family. You know, his family, heck, I can remember his dad playing. Fantastic player. His sister grew up in my neighborhood. Heck, I know him really well.

      Q. The house is right nearby, right?

      BILLY NAPIER: Couple blocks away.

      Q. You were talking about Kirby a minute ago. One through seven when you look at the big picture of his career, what jumps out to you?

      BILLY NAPIER: I mean, I think it that there is no shortcuts. I think that the same things I’ve said about where we are and what we need to do. It gives you good perspective about what’s required. It doesn’t happen overnight.

      I think the key here is it’s one day at a time. Again, go back to what I said earlier. Don’t get discouraged by continuing to make good choices and decisions and create good habits and good systems in house. Keep going about it the right way. Make sure you’re sound in what you’re doing, one day at a time, one person at a time, and ultimately that’s what we’re doing.

      Q. Going back to 2011, can you walk is through Kirby’s impact, whether it was vouching for the analyst position or how that went down.

      BILLY NAPIER: Heck, wouldn’t be standing here today without him. I think that a number of people in the building that were on that staff, Burton Burns, Chris Rumph. We had a lot of people in the building that I had prior relationship with. I did not have a relationship with Coach Saban.

      Kirby, we don’t know each other extensively, but because of our dads being coaches, seeing each other on the road, I mean, heck I was 29 or something like that.

      So I mean, if that had been my first job in college football I would’ve been blessed and certainly benefited from it for sure.

      Q. Did your dads know each other or coach against each other?

      BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, no question. Different parts of the state, but I think that in that circle, certainly with all the ton of connections here, right, too many to talk about.

      Q. Did they play against each other?


    • #24078
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      Transcript courtesy ASAP

      Tyreak Sapp

      Q. Billy talked about the challenge but also the opportunity. How do you guys view that as players going against No. 1 team that’s kind of owned this series a bit for several years?

      TYREAK SAPP: Well, we view it as a great opportunity, a big opportunity because we know it’s a game that we’re going to all have to come together as a team and execute on all phases of the game.

      We have to come together, especially as a defense, and we’re ready for the challenge. We know it’s going to be very, very challenging. We know they’re going to bring they lunchbox, and we are too, so we’re just very looking forward to that.

      We’re going to work this week, work on everything we need to work on, dial up everything, make sure everything is crisp, everything is sound. Just looking forward to heading to Jacksonville on Saturday, going out there executing, having fun playing ball.

      Q. What gives you hope that you guys — you guys have had some high points. You played well at Tennessee; you beat Utah; had some other moments. What do you guys kind of dig in on to say, hey, we can compete with these guys?

      TYREAK SAPP: We’re just a few plays away. Just a few plays away. We know all this hard work we’re putting in, it’s not for nothing, but we’re just a few plays away. We feel like we’re so close, we just feel like there’s something there we’re missing and there’s a reason we can’t break that barrier. I feel like we are going to figure it out this week.

      We are going to work towards breaking that barrier this week on trying to find the recipe for us to have success in those big-time games in those close moments. We’re just working on that, trying to see the analytics and do the best that we do, not just our defensive staff, but as players to see what’s the problem and what we need to get fixed.

      Q. Tyreak, how frustrating is it to know that you are just a few plays away from being 7-0, and how encouraging is it to know that if you can make up for those mistakes that you can be so much better?

      TYREAK SAPP: Yes, sir, it’s frustrating, but it gives you hope, as well, because you also understand that it takes a lot of work to get those things done, and you understand where we have come from and we see what we have done over the past this season.

      We see that there’s hope in there. We see that we can put something — it’s just another step that we can take just to break that barrier, and we understand we can take that step if we just focus a little harder, work a little harder and put a little bit more focus into it and put a little bit more emphasis on certain things.

      Q. It all works together, but what would be the number one thing in your mind that you would like to fix on defense, 3rd down defense, run defense, sacks?

      TYREAK SAPP: Just 3rd down and affect the quarterback really. 3rd down and affecting the quarterback, taking some of the heat off our DBs, because our DBs over the past this season, they had off in coverage. Our linebackers as well have done an exceptional job.

      I feel like we can just up front as rushing four, I feel like we should affect — we can affect the quarterback more, just be more precise in our rushes and understand who we’re actually up against.

      Q. How would you rate their offensive line?

      TYREAK SAPP: Great. Good offensive line. Got some good guys, got some older guys, big, big guys, can move., just what you would see in one of those top-notch SEC offensive lines. They prepare, and we’re going to prepare, as well.

      Q. You’re a 22-point underdog. What does that do psychologically for a team?

      TYREAK SAPP: It gets you — it riles up because you feel like it’s kind of disrespect because we both put in — not put in the same work, but we both put on our cleats the same and we understand that — we understand that, yes, this team we’ve got a chance, too.

      We’ve always got to fight, the fight is punching these games, and just feel like we can just take over this game and just be successful in all phases if we just all come together and execute, and we understand that.

      They are, but we are too.

      Q. Billy mentioned you went over some of the things that might have been contributing to the struggles.

      TYREAK SAPP: Yes, correctness of things, trying to get some things worked up. Not going overboard, but really just getting after it, especially early on in the week at practice getting after it with each other, just kind of staying on the edge. Because it is bye week, so you want tot take advantage of those days where you can bang and take advantage of those days where you can lay off, too, and kind of just get those mental reps.

      Q. How similar was it to a regular week in terms of the physicality —

      TYREAK SAPP: Maybe the first three days we got after it a little bit, but as the week died down, toned it down we slowed it down and toned it down and it got more mental.

      Q. You guys pressured the quarterback some. What do you think has been holding you guys back consistency-wise?

      TYREAK SAPP: I just feel like up front we can just be a little bit more effective rushing up front. Got some great guys. Just being more effective, because a lot of the times we get pressures where we’re just about there. The thing is there’s a difference between sacks and pressures like seconds, inches between.

      It’s a difference between that sack and that pressure. You just want to try to get more of those sacks and try to just affect the QB more get their off of their game and get their off of their throwing.

      Q. Is it stunning to you that the defense hasn’t been a little consistent given the talent on that side of the ball?

      TYREAK SAPP: Yes. Yes, I feel like we’re a very, very talented defense. We just have to bring it all together, and we all understand that it’s going to take work and it’s going to take time, but at this point it’s a matter of time, and that time is coming up and time is ticking. We’ve just got to take advantage of it, take a look at this moment, and we’ve seize it put our best foot forward as a defense, as a team.

      Q. What has Fentrell Miller meant to the defense?

      TYREAK SAPP: Fentrell Miller, I call him “General.” He’s our center ground. He is going to make sure everybody is centered, make sure everybody is ready to play. He’s going to make sure you’re ready to go, and then he’s kind of like I call him he kind of like the Lebron Effect. He not only plays well himself, he affects everybody. Plays well on the field. He’s a very infectious guy.

      I don’t care who you are, you step on the field with Fentrell, you’re most likely going to put your best foot forward because you understand that you are on the field with a guy that got you covered, and you’re going to feel comfortable playing with him.

      Q. How much of the inconsistency on defense do you think is between the ears and how much of it is physical would you say?

      TYREAK SAPP: I feel like it’s probably about 80 percent between the ears, about 20 percent physical. It’s just us, we’ve got to see things better. We’ve got to understand situations, be situational aware where we are on the field, and how can we take advantage of the game on that part of the field.

      So just taking advantage of that and then beating teams on 3rd down. We getting teams on 3rd and long, we got to take advantage of those. Those are the downs that we have to live for. We have to live on 3rd down. We have to take advantage of that more. I feel like if we take advantage of that more, we can have more production and then it gives the offense a chance to score more points and put us in a better situation.

      Q. What are your thoughts on playing in this game and just the stadium being split and kind of being part of that atmosphere?

      TYREAK SAPP: My first rodeo, baby. Man, it’s crazy. I’m stoked. I’m ready to go. I know it’s going to be crazy, but I’m all for it. I’m all for everything. Like this is an environment I live for. All through high school I thought about this and just big moments and big time games like this.

      I understand what it takes and I’ve seen guys do it. That’s why I’m so ready. Like I’ve seen guys do it. I know guys that have done it. I just want to go out there and put my best foot forward and really just seize that moment, live there, just be there. I want to be in Jacksonville that whole day. I’m there.

      Q. That note, playing the No. 1 team, defending national champion, it’s very rare. What does that mean to you?

      TYREAK SAPP: It means a lot. It means a lot. It means that I feel like because it means a lot because we understand that we can be potentially dangerous, like we’re very dangerous. We can go out there and actually compete, and not just compete but actually be a football game. It’s going to be a fight.

      Q. Did you grow up disliking any particular teams more than others?

      TYREAK SAPP: Not really. Not really. I was always like — about this game I was always in the neutral zone because I knew it was going to be one or the other and whoever won that game would probably end up going to the playoffs. That was the main thing.

      Q. You said you’ve looked forward to this game since high school?

      TYREAK SAPP: Yes, since high school. Because I’ve got guys that I’ve grew up, went to high school with that have played in this game, and it’s always been an electric game. It’s going to be a tough game, a hard-fought game, and guys are going to come out ready to fight. It’s going to be a fight.

      Q. How do you feel about this rivalry moving to a home and home as a player?

      TYREAK SAPP: It really doesn’t matter to me because either way, your field is going to still be the same. Everything is going to still be the same. Field is going to still be 100 yards. It doesn’t matter, but I understand the tradition of it being in Jacksonville, as well, which I like that. Head up to Jacksonville. Play ball, man.

      Q. You were committed for a few years before, so you were really building this up for a while. It wasn’t like you just committed last second.

      TYREAK SAPP: Man, when I committed, I kind of committed blindly, honestly, then I did my research on the back end, then I looked at this school and I seen, oh, this school does produce guys up front and they can have and they do have dominant dudes that go to the league. Yeah, Florida Gator.

      Q. You haven’t been to Jacksonville then? You haven’t been to that stadium?

      TYREAK SAPP: No.

      Q. What have you heard about the environment and the stadium —

      TYREAK SAPP: I haven’t heard much. I know it’s crazy though understand that environment. That environment put me in a place in a state of mind where I feel like I’m happy. The serenity, I’m home.

      Q. Would you have visited this game as a recruit if you could’ve?

      TYREAK SAPP: Yes, for sure, most definitely.

      Q. Stetson Bennett, the guy you’re going to be trying to tackle, what do you see in him, because it seems like he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and he’s a pretty cerebral guy.

      TYREAK SAPP: Yes, very sharp guy, very sharp quarterback. I can see that he has a very well understanding of the game and he can be very, very dangerous for the defense all because in between the ears he can slice you up.

      He’s an opportunistic guy, opportunistic guy with his legs, but he is dangerous with his legs, as well, and very opportunistic. Has a great arm, can sit back there and throw, even though being a short guy, even though being a shorter quarterback, he can sit back there and throw, so I just know he can be dangerous, but we’re going to find ways to affect him to get him off his game.

      Q. What have you maybe learned to this point in the season about trying to defend against a mobile quarterback like him and how you can kind of impact the game and how he can?

      TYREAK SAPP: You’ve got to keep him in the pocket. You’ve got to make him throw from the pocket. You can’t let him out of there. You’ve got to keep him contained, and you have to make him move, as well, but you have to keep him contained in that pocket. You’ve got to keep him in that bubble and you’ve got to make him really analyze the defense and try to slice him.

      You’ve got to make him work. You can’t let everybody else do the work for him. You can’t make it easy for him on the back end, either. You’ve got to make the quarterback work. Pressure, you’ve got to pressure, you’ve got to sack him, you’ve got to put him in bad situations to get him off his game.

      Q. What’s been an issue in terms of mobile quarterbacks, and what can you guys do to fix it do you think?

      TYREAK SAPP: Just try to keep them more contained because as we’ve seen with Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker he can sit back there, he can tuck and run it. He’s not just a guy that can just take it and run, he’s very, very effective with the ball in his hands obviously in the open field, so just trying to contain those guys and get them on the ground as quickly as possible. Don’t let those QB runs or those scrambles out of the pocket, let those be explosive. We’ve got to contain them and not let them be explosive plays.

    • #24079
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      Transcript courtesy ASAP

      Anthony Richardson

      Q. What does it feel like to be the first Florida athlete to sign a deal with Gatorade?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Actually to break it down, I don’t even know how I got connected with those guys. I wasn’t worried about anything like that. They just told me we might have a deal, a smaller deal with Gatorade. I’m like, Gatorade? That’s crazy.

      You know, they told me about it, and I guess I made history being one of the first — I didn’t even know I was one of the first, but it definitely feels good because it opened up doors for every other athlete that goes here.

      We’re blessed.

      Q. Have you been drinking Gatorade your whole life?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Pretty much, yeah.

      Q. Not as a baby.

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: No, not as a baby, no.

      Q. Obviously everybody has a storyline. Last year was your first start against Georgia. The last two minutes of that first half didn’t go so well. Where do you see yourself now in year two of you being a quarterback compared to where you were a year ago when y’all played this game?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I feel like I’ve made huge leaps of improvement. There’s still a ways to go. But just thinking about it, I was actually talking about it the other day, time does fly. Seemed like yesterday it was my first start against Georgia. I feel like we were doing pretty good until those last couple minutes of the game.

      But I feel like I made improvements as a player, as a person, so I’m thankful that I even got the opportunity to start in that game. It was fun, just being on that field with my teammates. It was definitely a huge blessing. I was thankful for that.

      Q. The defense had, I think, four or five first-round draft picks. How overwhelming was the talent on the field and dealing with that quality of a defense for your first start?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It was pretty crazy. Just thinking about it, that was one of the things — watching those guys all year, just seeing what they were doing, seeing how they were stopping offenses from scoring, I’m like, oh, those guys are pretty good. Coach Kirby Smart, he’s doing his thing.

      But it’s all part of the game. You’re going to have some great plays, you’re going to have some not-so-great plays, but you’ve just got to go out there and play your game.

      Q. How did you process that game emotionally, the big moment you had, and it just didn’t go as you had hoped and then you got injured?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Before the game, I’m not going to lie, I had a lot of jitters. I was in my head a lot. I was a little nervous. First career start against the No. 1 defense, so of course I was thinking a lot.

      I feel like I was doing pretty good until those last few minutes of the first half.

      But just processing it and thinking about it, it’s taught me a lot about football itself and how to manage the game and how to take control of the game.

      It is what it is now.

      Q. Afterwards what did you take from it? Managing your emotions better, managing the moment better?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Managing everything, the emotions, the moment, the game itself, just managing everything and letting it come to you instead of just trying to force everything.

      Q. How did you take advantage of the bye week do you think? What did you do and how did you improve?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Definitely watching a little bit more film, resting up, not getting banged up on the field. But just using that week as more of a mental week. I was just getting ready for this game coming up.

      Q. How do you approach your mental game to make sure in a similar environment the jitters aren’t there this time?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Just take what the game gives me. I’ve started a few games this year, so that’s one huge comparison I can make to that. Just letting the game come to me.

      Q. Did you think about the Georgia game during the off-season?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Last year I thought about it a lot because I didn’t really showcase what I wanted to showcase. It kind of created a narrative that I wasn’t ready.

      I thought about it a little bit during the off-season, but ever since then, everybody is going to have a game like that every once in a while. Just can’t let it affect you.

      Q. You talked about the jitters last year; how long did it take you to get rid of the jitters in the game, or did you ever get rid of the jitters during the game last year?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I think they were flowing up and down. I would make a big play, and they’d kind of drop. Then I’d hear the crowd screaming and they would kind of rise back up. I think that was just being part of the moment and being a little anxious and being young and not experienced.

      Q. How does for example playing in Neyland with 100,000-some people, how does that helped you prepare for a game like this, because that was a game obviously with all the people screaming at you. If you were going to be nervous that was a game you were going to be?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I didn’t necessarily think about it like that, that that one prepared me for this one.

      But like I said, just letting the game come to me, not really worrying about what everybody else is thinking, not really worrying about what everybody else was saying, because that game was a pretty wild game.

      Now that I think about it, I feel like that one was setting us up for that one.

      Q. What do you and the Gators need to do this week to have a shot at upsetting this team?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Just stay focused, keep the main thing the main thing. That’s doing your assignment, focusing on what you’ve got to do, and just focusing on the win.

      Q. I asked Tyreak, No. 1 defending national champs, that doesn’t come around all the time. How do you view that opportunity?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: To think about it, it’s pretty wild. Congrats to those guys for doing their thing last year. Congrats to them for doing their thing this year, keeping that No. 1 spot.

      But if you get too caught up into that type of stuff, then it’ll deter you from the main thing, take your mind off of what you want to accomplish.

      We’re not really thinking about them being ranked, us being unranked or what the history has been like before. We’re just trying to be in a moment and just be in Jacksonville and doing what we have to do.

      Q. What would it mean to win this game, though, for the season and how it could turn things around?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It would mean a lot just to even win. Every win is a big win for us. This one is an SEC game, so SEC win would be great for us. Just being in Jacksonville and winning that game would be a big win for us.

      We’re just looking forward to playing ball.

      Q. Did you follow the Florida-Georgia rivalry growing up or do you have any thoughts about what it means?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: No, not necessarily. I didn’t really follow it much until I got here. Just being there and just watching Kyle Trask do what he did when we played them and then watching some of the greats like Brandon Spikes, the hit he had against them, just seeing some of that stuff, it kind of puts me in that feeling.

      Q. Could the underdog thing be a motivation now in terms of you guys are 22-point underdogs? Could that permeate through the team or through you as the leader?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: 22 points? I didn’t even hear about that until now. We haven’t really been thinking about being the underdog because we’ve pretty much been the underdog all season. A lot of people have been counting us out, doubting us. But that just comes with the territory.

      We know what we have to do to get back to the top spot. We’re going to try to do that. We’re not necessarily thinking about being the underdog.

      Q. That number seemed to surprise you.

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It did. That’s crazy.

      Q. How much lead time did you know you were going to be starting last year? Was it the whole year or were you told Wednesday, Thursday? How much head start did you have?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: If I remember correctly, it might have been like a day or two before the game. They pulled Emory and I in the office and told us that they were going to go with me, and I had to be ready for it. That whole week we both were preparing to be the starter. We didn’t know what was going to happen. But they finalized it like a day or two before the game.

      Q. Do you still get jitters before games?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Earlier in the season I did. I feel like that comes with everybody, every game. It’s the moment. It’s a big moment. You always want to perform to the best of your ability, so I feel like everybody gets jitters. But I try to limit those as much as possible, just stay out of my own head.

      Q. Do you have a pregame routine or do anything in particular to kind of zone in or anything like that?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Not really. I listen to music every once in a while.

      Randy, I call him before every game. We talk on the phone. We pray. But that’s probably the main thing is just talking on the phone to Randy and just praying.

      Q. Talk about how this team has been so close to maybe getting to where they could be undefeated. You guys were in a lot of games but some didn’t go your way. How close is it that you guys know you can just make a few plays here and you guys can be where you want to be?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: It’s definitely close, like you said. That’s just doing your assignment. There’s multiple times on the film where you can see it isn’t one guy not doing what he’s supposed to do, including myself. Not looking at the signals correctly, missing motions and shifts and stuff, just stuff like that. But just knowing that minor things like that could potentially change how the season is going is definitely kind of crazy to think about.

      But everything happens for a reason, so we can’t just dwell on that right now.

      Q. As far as the work with the receivers goes, you said you really wanted to work on getting on the same page, not missing opportunities there.

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I feel like the work with the receivers is going pretty well. That’s just chemistry and just understanding what we both want. Those guys want the ball. I want to get them the ball. It’s just understanding like the spots to be open on the field and understanding the coverages behind it.

      Q. You were asked about the talent on Georgia’s defense last year and some of the guys that were drafted. What have you seen in terms of the changes on the defense, talent filling in at certain spots and if there are any differences between now and a year ago?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: You know, not much has changed for them. Of course they have older guys there, so that’s probably the biggest thing right there, just the age difference.

      But not much has changed. Georgia, they’re great at recruiting. They know how to get guys and put them in the right spots. Their coach trusts them to be in the right spot, so just looking at the film, there’s not much of a difference. They’re a pretty good team, same team as last year.

      Q. What do you feel about this rivalry as a player? Would you want it to stay in Georgia, or would the thought of playing at Georgia excite you? How do you feel about the future of it?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Honestly, that’s a great question. I’ve thought about that before the season. It’s pretty cool being in Jacksonville seeing the stadium split half and half.

      But I feel like if it was to be put at the universities, at the schools, I feel like you might give one team an advantage over the over. That’s just food for thought.

      Q. How much did you consider Georgia as a recruit and how much did Kirby recruit you?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I decommitted from here and I picked up the offer maybe three days later. I didn’t necessarily consider Georgia as much. I didn’t see myself a fit for the offense. I didn’t really consider them as much.

      But it was definitely a thought. Just getting any offer, you’re like, whoa, maybe I should there, maybe I should go there. But actually thinking about it and putting yourself in that situation, I didn’t really see myself as a fit for the offense.

      Q. Too much of a Gator?


      Q. Who pays better, Gatorade or GatorGuard?

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: I don’t even know.

      Q. You’re on both payrolls.

      ANTHONY RICHARDSON: Hey, I don’t know.

    • #24080
      ITG Subscriber

      Watch Mike Leach after the Alabama game. He is out there but he is entertaining. Billy answering questions is a good way to put people to sleep.

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