Billy Napier and Select Players Media Availability (10/31/22)

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    • #24728
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

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

      Follow along for live coverage.

    • #24758
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      Transcript courtesy ASAP

      BILLY NAPIER: Certainly having gone back and looked at the tape, a lot of respect for Georgia’s football team. Kirby is obviously in year seven and done a great job there building depth on the team. They’ve got a lot of good players.

      The summary of the game, we dug ourselves a little bit too big of a hole and got behind in the game.

      Certainly really proud of the way our group responded at halftime. I think that’s one of the things I respect the most about this group is they really care. They want to do their job for each other and certainly have showed that throughout the year.

      Not good enough. Same comment I said after the game, feel the same way. There’s lots of areas where we can do better, and we’ll continue to learn and grow as a result of these experiences.

      I think that’s important that we remember these experiences and we make the most of each opportunity. Certainly that’s what we’re going to do.

      Turning the page, Jimbo’s got a really good team at A&M, very talented group — personnel, rosters, deep, certainly height-length, verified speed. Not many chinks in the armor when you look at the personnel match-wise.

      I know it’s been a bit of a revolving door with the quarterback, but he played well, the rookie played well this past week. Certainly when you go play here at their place, there’s a lot of challenges that certainly go with it. We’re going to need to be at our best, and we’re going to need to have a really good week here.

      Q. Coach, obviously you’ve had a lot of history with coaches that you faced this season. Jimbo is another one. Can you talk about your guys’ past and interviewing with him at Florida State, just your time there?

      BILLY NAPIER: 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.

      Very thankful for that opportunity. It’s pretty well documented what Jimbo has been able to accomplish in his career.

      Q. Could you just comment on the situation with Brenton and his status.

      BILLY NAPIER: I appreciate you asking that question. 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.

      Q. Did he throw a punch at the end of that game against Georgia?

      BILLY NAPIER: Not that I’m aware of.

      Q. So what was the issue here? You’re talking about just moving on. Like what did he do or didn’t do that prompted this decision?

      BILLY NAPIER: 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.

      Q. Year one at Louisiana, obviously had ups and downs, like you’re going through here. Do you see some similarities with what’s going on? What do you hope to do this final month to get that momentum that you want?

      BILLY NAPIER: I think there’s a ton of similarities relative to the things you learned, right? The challenges that comes with starting over. New group of people, staff, players, administration, community. Typically, when you get one of these jobs, you’re there for a reason. There’s things that need to improve. It was that way at Louisiana. It was that way here.

      Ultimately, these are great opportunities. These are challenges that you embrace, that you take on, that you look forward to. And there’s no shortcuts. These are things that you’ve got to go through and that you’ve got to do.

      We’re very fortunate that we’ve got an incredible administration here, that we have an unbelievable experience to offer the student-athlete here. This is one of the iconic places in all of college football. We have a top five university. We have history. We have tradition. We have a passionate fan base. This is a place you can do it.

      I think this is all part of — this is a page in the chapter in the book. I think, and you guys will probably all agree, struggle is healthy, right? I think majority of the growth in my life, and probably in yours too if you thought about it, comes from adversity, comes from challenge. There’s failure along the way, right? I think the key is that you capitalize off of those things. You learn your lessons from those things, and you adjust, you adapt, you grow.

      Certainly that’s what we’re doing. You don’t just flip a coin and get this thing going the right direction. It takes lots of people, lots of hard days’ work. Lots of tough decisions, and we’re right in the middle of it.

      Q. How important is this month for some players’ futures, really, to put it bluntly? To show what they can do, just to prove that they should be here next year and contributing.

      BILLY NAPIER: I don’t necessarily think about it that way. I think this is more about just this team still searching for their best. I still think that we’ve got a lot of individual players that are growing, that are improving. We have certain position groups, units on our team. I think it’s more about finding a way to win a game one week at a time to create some momentum.

      But there’s only one way to do that. You do that one day at a time. You do that one task at a time, with a great focus. You try to do your best for the people around you. I think that’s what this group’s going to do.

      Q. How do you replace Brenton moving forward?

      BILLY NAPIER: 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.

      Q. To follow up on that question, Billy, are there any kind of milestones or markers along the way these last four games that can kind of tell you you think the program as a whole is moving in the right direction? Are there things that you look for?

      BILLY NAPIER: I think the resiliency that I see. The main thing that I would say that I respect is we’ve got a lot of people that care about doing their job for the people around them. So there’s a certain loyalty required in this game, and I think that I see that from some of our players. We’ve got a group that really cares. They’ve showed that throughout the year.

      When backed in a corner, they’ve always kind of stood up and get up off the ground and kept competing and playing with effort, trying to do their best for their teammates.

      Q. I know this team’s been pretty good protecting the quarterback all year — three sacks, ten hurries in the game against Georgia. Were there issues in blitz pickup? What were some of the problems, do you think?

      BILLY NAPIER: 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.

      Q. You had a problem again with the chunk plays, the passes. They get 237 yards, yet Stetson is only 11 for 30 for 79 yards on those plays. Is that a sign of progress that you have so many short plays and incompletions even though you do give up the chunk plays?

      BILLY NAPIER: We did better. I thought we covered them better. There were some fantastic plays too, right? We were close on a lot of those that went the other way.

      There’s no doubt that in the back end we were cleaner. We still can improve, but I do think that we did what was required to create some negative plays, to create some take-aways. We certainly at times defended them well.

      But the big plays obviously that you’re talking about, those are the ones that hurt.

      Q. Kicking a guy off the team is obviously a last resort. Is this a situation where it can maybe set the tone for years here in terms of there is going to be a line in the sand that, if you go too far, that’s going to be it?

      BILLY NAPIER: I don’t know that I want to get into all that. I think these are — these are hard things, right? So I think we’ll just keep all that in house. I think that we want to do what we can do to help Brenton going forward, but I think it’s a healthy thing for our team.

      The important thing to understand here is we make every decision in the best interests of the team.

      Q. Two more real quick on that. He’ll stay in school, and then would he be welcome back for Pro Day, assuming he’s going to go pro?

      BILLY NAPIER: We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

      Q. What are the challenges, besides replacing his production on the field, that you associate with removing someone from the roster at this point in the season? He probably has just friends in the locker room, the dynamic that can create. What are the challenges you would associate with that?

      BILLY NAPIER: Again, we’ll keep all that in house.

      Q. Billy, how important is it for this program to get to a bowl game?

      BILLY NAPIER: 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.

      Q. How difficult has this SEC schedule been thus far? If you just look at it purely on paper the next few games, the records aren’t quite — I mean, you’ve played some heavyweights so far. How difficult has this stretch been?

      BILLY NAPIER: I think it’s exactly what we signed up for. It’s what we expected. I think we’ve got a pulse of where we’re at and what we need to do going forward.

      I think we’ve also been in the game with all these teams as well, late in the second half. I mean, it is what it is. I think that gives us a good barometer of where we’re at and what we need to do to position ourselves in the future, to have better success.

      Q. You’ve also faced a lot of talented tight ends this year. How would you assess the team has improved in covering that position?

      BILLY NAPIER: That’s a great point. I think games are a matchup game. Each week is a little bit different. Some weeks you play a team and the tight end isn’t necessarily a factor.

      But I do believe that tight ends can be very effective, in particular if there’s other skill players around him that are a problem, if that makes sense. I think, when you’ve got to pick your poison — I think that you put a good run game, you put an elite player around or outside of those guys.

      Much like the National Football League, each play you’re kind of deciding where you’re exposing yourself to some degree. So I think tight ends, when we have played them, they can present a number of issues, especially if the other players around them are very capable.

      Q. Going back to Louisiana, you were 4-4 after playing Appalachian State, which was the top team in your league. And you just played Georgia, which is the No. 1 team in the country. What happened to turn the season around at Louisiana that may be helpful to turning this around too? Because you had such a strong finish there.

      BILLY NAPIER: I think you — you’re playing kind of like App State at that point, they were the team in the league. They had dominated the conference to some degree at that point. Then you go — we went in there, and we were very competitive. So I think that at that point, I think the players felt like, hey, we can do this.

      I think there was a moment in time there, even when you lost, you felt like, okay, I think we know where we’re at and what we need to do going forward.

      I’m not big into comparisons. Obviously you guys are comparing year one there to year one here. But the one thing I do know is that those years were full of challenges and full of opportunities. That’s certainly the way I feel about this situation, just like we did there.

      Q. On a note of the tight ends, the guy that’s drawing the assignment for you defensively is Amari Burney often. Can you talk about his development this year, especially when he went through in the last game, getting the deflection and it not going his way and the way he bounced back in the third quarter?

      BILLY NAPIER: 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.

    • #24759
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      Transcript courtesy ASAP

      Jaydon Hill

      Q. Jaydon, how important is this month for the team and what you guys are building here under Billy Napier?

      JAYDON HILL: Like I said, obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted last weekend. Only thing we can do now, from here on out, is just keep fighting. It’s got to mean something to you. You’ve just got to keep swinging.

      Q. How big is getting to a bowl game for you guys? Is that critical for all the players in the program going forward?

      JAYDON HILL: 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.

      Q. Did you play at the A&M game in 2020?

      JAYDON HILL: Yes, sir.

      Q. You were in that game?

      JAYDON HILL: Yes, sir, I did.

      Q. What do you remember about that day? Was it really as many people or as loud and crazy? What do you recall?

      JAYDON HILL: Yeah, if I’m not mistaken, that was COVID year, but they did have probably the most packed stadium out of like everywhere we went that year. I just know like, since it’s no restrictions, it will be pretty rowdy this coming weekend.

      Q. Pass defense is creating a lot of interceptions but also giving up a lot of yards. How do you evaluate it, and what do you maybe need to do better by the end of the month?

      JAYDON HILL: That just goes back to film study and just executing every down. Every down is a money down, in my eyes. They say third down, money down. I feel like every down is a money down.

      I just feel like that just goes back to guys doing that one eleven, just executing their job every down.

      Q. What was your, I guess if you can speak to it, the team’s reaction to Brenton Cox being dismissed, and what kind of message do you think that sends across the roster?

      JAYDON HILL: 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.

      Q. Coach Napier brought up as well today and on Saturday that he saw kind of a different fight, almost kind of a turning point for you. When you think about just the togetherness of this team, how important is that message, I guess?

      JAYDON HILL: Yeah, that just goes to show, when we’re all together on one page and fighting, really the sky’s the limit. I feel like honestly when we’re all just fighting for one goal — I seen someone’s Twitter the other day like when no one — I think it’s from the Seahawks. He said something about when no one is looking to be rewarded with the crown, like the team’s success it skyrockets. I feel like that’s the approach we should — well, must take.

      Q. Was Brenton your roommate?

      JAYDON HILL: No.

      Q. You said my guy.

      JAYDON HILL: No, that’s just my guy.

      Q. You came in with Lloyd. Obviously this is a big opportunity for him now. What have you seen from him and his development and being able to step up?

      JAYDON HILL: 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.

      Q. Patrick Toney has taken a lot of blame from the fan base particularly for his defensive struggles. What would you say about his coaching ability and what you like about it and what maybe fans and people, casual observers are missing?

      JAYDON HILL: 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.

      Q. What do you like about what he has to say? We heard all the players think he’s brilliant. What stands out to you that maybe people don’t know?

      JAYDON HILL: 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.

      Q. How would you evaluate the secondary as a whole performance through eight games? What areas do you think you guys have been strong, and where do you think you still need to improve?

      JAYDON HILL: I see it. We definitely have a lot of room for improvement. I honestly feel like we need to play the ball a lot better. Route recognition. There’s a lot of things as a secondary we need to work on, and we know that as a group.

      Q. What did you think of that pick by Perkins?

      JAYDON HILL: That was a great play. I was too proud of him for all that. All the work he’s put in, to come down with that ball, that was big time. That was a great play.

      Q. Did you realize he got it right away?

      JAYDON HILL: I didn’t realize — initially I thought it was a catch. I didn’t know. But then I seen when he was holding the ball up. Then I watched the replay, and I’m like, oh, he got it. I was surprised myself. It was a great play.

      Q. Jacksonville was kind of a road game. Not really, but the only real road game you guys had was against Tennessee. What do you take away from that experience going into where you have three of your last four on the road?

      JAYDON HILL: So Tennessee, the environment was just off the charts. Obviously, just like when teams come into The Swamp, it’s rowdy. Offensive advantage there.

      So that’s where we’ve got to be backs against the wall — actually, backs against your other teammates and we’re all we’ve got. You know what I’m saying? It’s like we’ve just got to embrace the hate. Everybody against you. I feel like that should motivate you to want to go out and play even harder, just to shut them up.

      Q. How critical was it winning the turnover battle? I know the results weren’t what you were looking for, but something to build on.

      JAYDON HILL: The results definitely wasn’t what we wanted. To win that, that was the start. Just to see us keep fighting, and win a turnover battle is something that’s big for us as a defense. That’s something we talked about winning the turnover margin. That’s something where we can start there. That’s a good start.

      Q. He plays a little bit far away from you, but Chris McClellan, we’ve seen his reps increase recently over the last several weeks. Seems like he’s playing pretty well. What do you think he brings to this defense?

      JAYDON HILL: 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.

      Q. Just about A&M’s offense. They have a new quarterback, real highly rated kid, finally getting his shot. What do you see from that offense and some of those young playmakers?

      JAYDON HILL: Everybody knows A&M has a pretty good freshman class and a pretty good team, period. They’ve been on the rough end, kind of how we have been. A&M definitely has that explosive offense. We have to prepare well for that, and I look forward to doing so.

      Q. Evan Stewart, does he jump out?

      JAYDON HILL: He’s definitely a playmaker. I remember actually him being here, helping recruiting him. But Evan, he’s definitely a great player. I’m looking forward to getting out there and competing with him.

    • #24760
      Mark Wheeler
      Forum Owner

      Transcript courtesy ASAP

      Q. You came to Louisiana, what, ’19?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Yes, sir.

      Q. That was your first year?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Yes, sir.

      Q. You were visiting during the ’18 season and doing all that, but you weren’t playing with the team, right?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Just a little bit. Coach Napier’s first year, yeah.

      Q. What did you, from playing with those players the next year, how they learned from that first season, how they grew from that first season, what was different? He’s going through kind of a similar process here.

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: 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.

      Q. Are you seeing some of that taking root? How important is this coming month for the team to continue to bond and gain some momentum?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: 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.

      Q. How key is it to be in a bowl game? You have to win 2 out of 4, so chances are good there. How critical is it to just get to a bowl game?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: 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.

      Q. Georgia’s defensive front is obviously very talented, but you guys gave up three sacks. I think that’s the first time you’ve given up maybe more than one sack in a game. What was different about their front, and what do you guys maybe have to improve on going forward?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Probably communication-wise for us and knowing where the different persons are coming from. With them, they did a lot of good showing pressures and dropping out and disguises and stuff like that. We just got to know how to communicate through those things and pass off those pressures even better and stuff like that.

      They was going pretty physical. Some places they’re more physical than us. We’ve got to make sure we be able to hold the line better with those types of downs, and when we know they’re bringing the pressure, got to hold up a little bit better.

      Q. As a team as a whole, where do you feel you guys have made the most growth this season so far?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: I would say being together and staying back to back when times get tough in the game. Being able to still fight hard when the game is not going our way.

      Like going into halftime a few times this year, offensively going into halftime, we didn’t have a good first half, but we were able to turn it around and have a better second half. I feel like those things right there helped out.

      Probably our discipline too. The amounts of penalties we don’t get on ourself that messes up our drives on offense and defense like holdings and offsides and false starts, those types of small penalties that can kill a drive.

      Q. When you were at Louisiana, did Billy Napier ever dismiss somebody from a team?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Not that I can remember. We had troubles with players maybe that I didn’t know about, but not for the most part.

      Q. I was just curious from your perspective, if that had happened, what kind of message do you think that sends just across the roster?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: 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.

      Q. Trevor Etienne, how nice of a piece is he for the offense? The other day he showed a lot of versatility.

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: He’s a very, very like nice piece to the offense because he brings so much versatility to the offense. He can do everything we need in the running back, so he can catch it, he can go out, and he can run routes pretty well and run it well. Those type of things that we can use in a game that helps us out, he can do all those things.

      Yesterday — he’s good at returning the kicks and stuff like that, giving us good field position so we can have a better chance of scoring the offense.

      Q. A lot of the Louisiana guys are pretty fired up about playing Texas? It’s kind of not far from a lot of you guys. Are you guys going to have family there and stuff?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: I know I am for sure because it’s a closer ride from home to there. I know a lot of guys from Louisiana are going to have a lot of family come, and it’s definitely going to get them more fired up to go play this game.

      Q. What’s impressed you about Chris McClellan? What have you seen maybe in games that’s impressed you?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Like Jaydon was saying, I seen it in fall camp, just the energy he bring to practice, and even the individual drills, like the one-on-one reps, he’s trying to go again. Like if he lose a rep, trying to go again and again. Like trying to take all the reps, stuff like that.

      And the intensity he plays with throughout practice. Even at the end of practice when everybody’s tired, he’s one of the guys you see pops out on film. It just shows in a game. It’s impressive. I’m glad to see that it’s showing in the game so he can get the recognition he deserves.

      Q. What do you think you’ve learned about the physicality in the SEC eight games into it?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: 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.

      Q. Take us through your injury and what that process was like getting back on the field. And what you were going through in the previous game going through warmups there?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: It was a strain in my MCL, so it was a day-by-day injury. The week of LSU, when game day came, it was a matter of how I felt doing warmups, but Coach decided to let me make the call, whether I felt good enough to play.

      Towards the end, after warmups, I felt like I wasn’t going to be much help on the field if I tried to play through it and I could possibly hurt it even worse. So I decided to be smart and sit out. Knowing that Georgia was coming up, try to heal it all the way to be ready for Georgia.

      Q. Has it healed now?

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Oh, yeah, it’s good.

      Q. You guys heal fast.

      O’CYRUS TORRENCE: Yeah.

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