- November 7, 2022 at 11:40 am #25323
At approximately 11:45 Billy Napier and select players will be meeting with the media.
Follow along for live coverage.
- November 7, 2022 at 2:02 pm #25326
Transcript courtesy ASAP
COACH NAPIER: All right. I think the big thing here is very proud of the team. I thought our staff did a really good job from a leadership perspective throughout the week. And then I saw ownership from the players.
I think those two things, in particular, worked together to help our team play, not what I would describe as a complete game, but we’re getting closer.
I thought we played physical in the game. I think, when you look at the tape, I think you see that. Third week in a row we haven’t turned the ball over, which I think is a little bit more of who we want to be.
For the defense to respond at halftime, go shut them out in the second half I thought was positive.
We had 156-yard advantage in the special teams, hidden yards there, which was huge in the game. And certainly had some guys step up, some guys that maybe got their first opportunity.
Tough place to play. Certainly a pivotal moment, to some degree, I think for our team. But to see what I would call a healthy response after two losses in a row I think was really good. So I need to build off of that. Use some of that momentum. Certainly need to continue to challenge the accountability. And really I think we’re developing some leadership amongst the players, which I think has been big.
South Carolina has got a very talented team. I think this is a team that has a good group of veteran players, combination of players that they recruited in high school and transfers.
I think they’ve won five out of the last six. You see the effort on the tape. Certainly Coach Beamer, we have a ton of respect for what he’s created there and what he continues to build there.
So this is a team that is very capable. They’ve got some really unique matchup players, individual players that I think can present a number of challenges. So big day in The Swamp, obviously sold out. We announced that last week. It’s going to be Senior Day for 17 guys.
Certainly always an emotional time for those players, in particular. So I think the good thing I see from our players is we’ve got a group that wants to send this group out the right way.
It’s also going to be a salute to those who serve. So we’re going to be recognizing military appreciation, first responders. This is an initiative that will continue in the future. We’ll do a number of things with the team throughout the week relative to inviting people to practice, exposing them to different speakers. Really important to me in terms of creating a level of respect here and a gratitude for some of these things that I really believe we take for granted at times.
So great week. One that I think we get to celebrate a lot of people who live a life of service. And certainly excited about the last home game, last opportunity to play in front of our fans.
Q. What would you pinpoint about this team’s ability to rally from deficits?
COACH NAPIER: I think it’s we’ve worked on connection part, the relationship part. Brotherhood is a term that was used last week to kind of describe what we’re trying to create here. So I think that there’s also a level of — they’re starting to understand the football component of it a little more. I think it’s easier to maintain your poise when you understand what happened, why it happened, what you can do to fix it. And I think we’re starting to get to that point.
So the defense would be a great example of that. I think they understood what the issues were, and they knew they could go in the locker room, adjust and fix it in the second half.
Q. You talked about building. How big is it for the team to finish one of these? You rallied several times in SEC games and not finished.
COACH NAPIER: I think you can’t put a price tag on it. I think it’s certainly really valuable, given where we were at as a team. I think that’s huge. Can’t put a price on that.
Q. You talked about, after the Georgia game, about turning the corner. Is what you saw in the second half the example of what you had been seeing building up to that point?
COACH NAPIER: Getting closer. Really believe that. I think to go three-and-out, to get a big punt return, to put a touchdown on the board, you know — I think when we had lost the momentum right there at the end of the half. Yeah, I think what I’m seeing is kind of what I described after the game, that human element.
We’ve spent a ton of time on scheme, fundamentals, situational football. We lift weights. We run. We focus on all different forms of development physically.
But I think that team dynamic — the, quote/unquote, culture or brotherhood, however you want to describe that — the expectation from each other, the accountability at the player level, actually I’m not necessarily worried about my coach getting on me, but I’m worried about letting my teammate down. I think there’s a place in this game, for an elite team, you’ve got to have that.
And I think that’s what we’ve been working hard on. You’re starting to see some of that show up, I think.
Q. How do you feel about the running back rotation at this point? It’s kind of evolved to Trevor and Montrell. Is that how you see it the rest of the way or how do you view that?
COACH NAPIER: I think those two guys have been a huge bright spot relative to what we’ve been able to do offensively. No question. Two new players, both of which are getting more comfortable, very capable. Both are smart players. Both are very consistent in their work ethic, their practice habits, their prep during the week.
They’ve got discipline. They take care of themselves. They both have character. And they certainly have been very productive.
And we’ve rolled the other guys in at times. But I think when those two — we kind of saw it — they were both in a good place Saturday. We were able to continue to feature those guys. So it was good.
Q. You talked about the defense and how it changed first half to second half and the adjustments that were made. Curious, how much of it was actual X and O percentage-wise versus just guys playing better?
COACH NAPIER: I think maybe a few adjustments, but primarily just 11-for-11 execution. I think that was the thing that was a little bit frustrating, for the players and staff, is like we’re in some great positions. And we’ve got one guy who is short.
So you’ve got to play well at every level. And then it just — we were in a lot of plays where one guy was making a mistake and it was getting exposed, whether it’s gap integrity, eye discipline.
So I think ultimately they knew and understood what was happening out there. So that was the thing that was really cool to me to see is they were vocal at the half about what needed to be addressed amongst themselves. I think that’s when, I think, you’re making progress. So the staff and players were well aware of what the issues were.
Q. Were there any concerns about the illness that was going around Texas A&M, not that it really matters? But last year last year South Carolina game was a flu game for Florida?
COACH NAPIER: We don’t put our stuff out there, but we’ve had our issues here as well the last few weeks. It’s that time of the year, right?
So I think the big thing is having the discipline to do the things that you need to do to take care of yourself and get yourself prepared to play. It is what it is. We’ve had our issues along the way. But it’s part of the game. It happens every year to every team.
Big thing is the guys who get opportunities, they step up and do what they can do to contribute to the team.
Q. O’Cyrus was named SEC Lineman of the Week. He’s playing at an All-American level. Was there any question in your mind, him stepping up from the Sun Belt to the SEC, would he be able to make that transition?
COACH NAPIER: No question for me. I think we played a number of Power Five opponents at the other stop. He always played really well. The guy’s 6’5″. He’s 335 pounds. He’s got 11-inch hands. He’s got long arms. He’s got more lean mass on his body than any player on our team. He’s a big-time player.
More importantly is he has discipline. He has character. He’s tough. He’s a very consistent worker. He’s durable. And football comes easy to him. He processes really well. He’s a good communicator.
It’s really been a big deal, one of the reasons we’ve played well up front, I think, is his ability to translate because he had played in the system.
Q. (Indiscernible), I know you have a vet in Lamar on your staff. Can you tell me why it means so much to you and why you put this kind of emphasis on the game every year?
COACH NAPIER: I just think when you’re in the coaching profession, I think you’ve got an opportunity. You work with young people. There’s some things that you really want to impress upon them.
I think this is something that’s very important. It gets overlooked. I think we all can agree that at times we’re walking around living life and we don’t really appreciate that we have a set of people that risk their life every day.
They chose that path, that career, a path where they put themselves at risk every day. So ton of respect for that.
And I think it’s one of the things that we can do independent of football that I think can create good. A place where we respect and appreciate what we have. And I think that want to do that each year and celebrate these people. I think they’re deserving.
Q. How much time do you spend during the season on roster management? Is it a daily thing? And does it ramp up this time of year when you talk getting closer to senior day, guys maybe going pro, guys maybe in the portal, those things?
COACH NAPIER: I think it’s something I think about every day because I think you’re always trying to take that wet towel and get every single drop you can get out of it. We get 85 scholarship players. We’re trending towards having 50 walk-ons. We’re not quite there yet. But in the perfect world we’ve got 135 players.
And you’d like each of those to be the best they can be. It’s a big jigsaw puzzle. Certainly when you take over a program, there’s a lot more that comes with that. It’s a big math problem that’s very fluid. It certainly is this time of the year, in today’s era even more than ever.
Q. Year two —
COACH NAPIER: A lot of variables that contribute to that. And I would tell you that I would think it’s one of the reasons we had success at the previous stop is that we worked really hard at that component. There’s a lot of rules. A lot of things that contribute to that.
Q. Do you have it on a big board or is it on a binder?
COACH NAPIER: We’ve got lots of ways that we keep up with it. We’ve got a very systematic approach. But it’s something we’ve refined. It’s one of the great things about those jobs, those G5 jobs. You’ve got to become an expert in that area. It will be beneficial for us.
Q. Speaking of walk-ons, your kicking system, Adam, it’s been kind of an up-and-down year for him. He makes a 52-yarder and he misses a 28-yarder. How do you evaluate where you are with that situation?
COACH NAPIER: We’ve still got a lot of confidence in Adam. No different than any other player on our team. I think we do well at times and then sometimes we don’t quite do what we’re supposed to do. Much like you write a good article occasionally. Occasionally you write a bad article. (Laughter).
Q. You’re obviously a songwriter. (Laughter).
COACH NAPIER: Adam, he’s a very talented young man. Nobody wants to do it more for his teammates than he does, right? He stepped up. He had to kickoff in a game and did a really good job against a returner that obviously was very capable.
So forced some fair catches there. And when we did have to cover him, we had a good kick, able to cover the kick. We believe in him.
Q. You’ve outscored opponents 38-14 in the last half of the last two games. How do you get a full game?
COACH NAPIER: I woke up thinking about that. That’s who we are. That’s where we’re at. I think we’re still chasing that. Can we put it together, possession after possession?
I think we are taking care of the ball better on offense, which is really if you look at our teams, that’s the way we play. We’re getting takeaways.
We’re just very — we’ve got a lot of work to do. And I really believe — I know you guys don’t like to write about this, but it’s the human element part of the game. That’s just who we are right now. We’re working on that component of our team. The football I think will take care of itself as that becomes more of who we want to be.
Q. (Indiscernible) USF player (indiscernible), you’ve known him a long time. What was your reaction at that?
COACH NAPIER: It’s a tough profession. I feel Jeff a little bit of a tough dynamic given his first year being a COVID year. So three years in — Jeff’s a great coach. I think just he’ll bounce back.
It’s the reality in this profession. But no one works harder or takes more pride in trying to do their job for others than Jeff Scott, I can promise you that.
Q. What (indiscernible) Emmitt?
COACH NAPIER: Emmitt was great. For a guy my age, that’s pretty, when Emmitt Smith walks up on you, that’s pretty impactful.
Emmitt did a lot for this place. I think he had an unbelievable career after the University of Florida, but when you think about his impact here as a player, I’m hopeful to see him around more often. This is a place he’s welcome.
Did a lot for the place and certainly we’re trying to create an environment where those guys that played here can come back anytime they want to.
Q. His first game as a starter he ran for, what, 239 at Alabama.
COACH NAPIER: We need more of those.
- November 7, 2022 at 2:03 pm #25327
Transcript courtesy ASAP
Q. (Indiscernible) talk of the town now. Did you expect this?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: No, not really. I mean, coming in, I know I had to play my role. So it was kind of — it came with it.
Q. Were there nerves, butterflies coming in? Take us through there.
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Not really, because I’ve been playing all season. So I mean, being a starter, just going out there first.
Q. You guys have rallied a few times in SEC games but not finished. How big was it to close one of those?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: It was big because that just shows how much we got — that just shows what we can do. And I know we’ll be able to do that for four quarters.
Q. The strip sack, what you saw there and how you were able to do it.
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: So, it was — I felt it was a mismatch with me and the guard. So I slammed in, made a move on him and get a sack.
Q. How did that feel to make that kind of play in that kind of moment?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: It felt real good. Very good.
Q. What is it going to take, do you think, for you guys to play a full game of defense the way you did the second half against the Aggies?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I just feel like we just need to come in from the jump, pumped up, riled up, because at halftime we had to get right with each other. We had to get each other — we had to get together, talk to each other, make sure we was good, like let’s go. We knew coming in we could win. We could beat these guys.
Q. What’s this senior class meant to you?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: The senior class means a lot. Every last one of them. They touched me every way. Coming in, it was no problem. They all welcomed me in. Ventrell, (indiscernible), all those guys, wonderful guys.
Q. There’s been maybe one or two, you mentioned those two, have they been the main mentors, who have you looked up to among those guys?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Ventrell Miller for sure, he’s the heart of the team, for sure. I tried to pick up from whatever I can get from him to try to help him out, make his job easier.
Q. What stands out to you about him? Just watching a couple of those plays out on the flat the other day, just his relentlessness, but what’s —
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Everything he does he works hard at it. He’s going to tell you that he’s working hard. He’s going to show up.
Q. You mentioned going into halftime understanding what you guys needed to do. And Billy said the same thing, that you guys took that upon yourselves. Do you feel as though the defense maybe kind of turned a corner there in terms of communication with one another?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I feel like in the second half we kind of — we were more together more. We started talking more. We was pumping each other up every play, every series and all that.
Q. In the locker room, at halftime, who was the one who just grabbed you by the lapels and said, “We’ve got to change?”
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: The whole defense. Ventrell, especially, he sent a hard message telling us let’s go. Like we can deal with these guys, like we can really shut them out.
Q. He’s kind of a quiet guy when he’s in front of us. How is he in the locker room and at half? Does he get pretty fired up?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Oh, yeah, for sure. He’s fired up, especially when it’s not going the way it’s supposed to go.
Q. Billy called him an alpha after the game. Have you noticed any other, maybe even young players step up as an alpha in that sense?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I want to say, I know, like, Shemar is a really good player. He’s really got the potential to be very good. I feel like if he just keep working, following Ventrell’s footsteps he would be.
Q. How did you find out about Britton (phonetic) last week and who was the first person who said, okay, this is basically your chance for more?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Coach Peterson, he was telling me that basically he was just like get ready to play because he said he knew I was ready. But it was just a matter of time when I was going to go.
Q. Did you think you were ready?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Yes, I knew I was ready. I mean, I don’t ever say I’m not ready. I’m always ready whenever.
Q. Once the game was over, did you feel, not that you doubted going in, but did you feel validated and a way even more confident in a way?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Confident for sure. I’m even more confident for sure. (Indiscernible), when I got it, kind of gave me something that wanted to make me work harder. I guess that’s a good thing.
Q. Where would you like to see your game improve?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Everything. I feel like I’m not where I’m supposed to be right now, as far as, I mean, anything — setting the edge, pass rushing. I feel like I can get better in everything.
Q. Last game in The Swamp this season. What do you expect? Sounds like it’s sold out. Just how important is it for you guys to send the seniors out with a win?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: It’s very important to send the seniors out hard with a good one, a very good one, just to show them how we appreciate them. We can definitely get this win.
Q. Have the issues on defense been more between the ears or physical, do you think?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I feel it’s just the communication. I feel like we don’t — at times we don’t communicate enough.
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Dorian Finney-Smith he plays for the Dallas Mavericks. He actually went here and played basketball.
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: We’re from the exact same place. I watched him play basketball growing up at the high school we went to.
Q. Did it have an effect on you? Did him coming here have an impact?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I mean, seeing him come here, yeah. But of course like he — of course he’s rooting for me. He supported me as — wherever I wanted to go because it wasn’t just about this. But he of course this is his school. He really wanted me to come here.
Q. He’s probably 10 years older than you. Did you guys ever play pickup basketball together?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: No. I don’t think I want that anyway. (Laughter).
Q. Did you ever play basketball with Booze (phonetic) AAU team there?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: No, I never played AAU basketball.
Q. Were you surprised at how well he’s done?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: No, not at all. I feel like he can do even more. He’s just getting warmed up.
Q. Do you have any contact with him now?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Sometimes. We talk here and there, not really too much. He’s got stuff going on. Of course I do too.
Q. I was going to do (indiscernible) the (indiscernible). You’re only 20 miles from Virginia Beach.
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: It’s not that far. Percy Harvin — Percy Harvin, he went here. I remember growing up hearing about him a lot.
Q. Allen Iverson (indiscernible)?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Yeah, for sure. He was at Bethel.
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I remember — I know Bruce Smith was at Norfolk.
Q. How do you guys as a defense kind of bottle what you did in the second half and carry it through for the rest of the season, do you think?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I feel like we can definitely build off this. I feel like that we — this should be a turning point to what we showed we could do it. Now it’s just the fact of doing it every time. And I feel like now that we see it on film, we’ve got no choice but to do it.
Q. You had a chance to go to Ronald McDonald House, and what have you got from those experiences being able to give back?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Being able to be with kids that, like, families that’s going through things and try to make their life better just by me coming in, I’d do that any day. So that’s easy. It’s not really a challenge for me.
Q. Do you get some self-gratification out of it to see the faces light up when they see Florida Gators?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: You play for the Gators, it’s a big deal. That’s not really — I’ll go in there any day, chill with the families.
Q. You’ve been able to watch on TV — what do you see when you see Spencer Rattler, South Carolina quarterback?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I feel like he’s a mobile quarterback. He likes to run. I remember playing against him in the bowl game against Oklahoma. He’s a pretty good quarterback. I feel like we can get him, though.
Q. How strange is it you played a guy in the bowl game at another school and now you’re playing him again in conference play?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: It is crazy, how that works.
Q. Does it leave a bad taste in your mouth from the game last year?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: You said from last year?
Q. The South Carolina game last year.
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: Oh, yeah, I feel like we’ve got to come — like they’re coming to us. So we’ve got to deal with — they’ve got to deal with us as well as we’ve got to deal with them.
Q. (Indiscernible) Spencer Rattler from that bowl game?
ANTWAUN POWELL-RYLAND JR: I mean, I’m thankful that we get to see him again. He’s a good player. So I want to play against a quarterback like that. So we’ll see.
- November 7, 2022 at 2:04 pm #25328
Transcript courtesy ASAP
Q. You had a hundred yards. How good did it feel in the second half when you guys just are pounding away and you know you’re going to get the yards every time you carry?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Felt really good going out there, playing in front of all those people and felt really good to finally come out with a win and do what I know that we were capable of doing. It felt good playing out there.
Q. How important was it to finish a game like that?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It was very important for the program because we have a lot of — we had a lot of downsides. It was important for us to get going here and finish out the season strong.
Q. What’s the frustration level when you rally against like three very good teams and just can’t close the deal and then you finally do?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I would say, like, the frustration level was really high because we knew that we had the talent in the room to do it. We knew we had the players to put it all together we’ve just got to keep champing at the bit and keep getting better.
Q. You hear sometimes running backs, they kind of want more to get in a rhythm but there’s also a durability issue. How do you feel about that because I guess that was a lot of carries for you?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It really didn’t seem like a lot of carries in the moment. But the next day I felt it. My body was really sore. But I’m glad the coaching staff kept coming to me. I felt the rhythm late in the game and helped the team win.
Q. How do you feel like the rhythm is going now with you and Trevor (inaudible) seems like you guys are the guys. What’s it been like for you?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I would say the rhythm has been going great between us. Trevor is a great player. He’s going to be great in the future. And he’s great now. I think that going future in the season that we’re going to continue to get better, continue to break those long runs that the fans want to see and we’re going to be grateful to Gator football.
Q. Couple of Louisiana guys, any tips to share with them? Is there a bond that’s growing between these two guys?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Trevor kind of gets complacent sometimes. I tell him he’s got to stay focused. He’s still young. I’m young as well but I’m a little ahead of him. But I always tell him he’s got to stay focused and take things step by step, day by day.
Q. How do you guys complement each other as running backs? Where do you feel your two skill sets combine to make you guys such a good tandem?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I think our two skill sets combine really well because he’s a very shifty guy. I call myself a hard-nosed guy. I get the dirty yards sometimes in the long run sometimes. He’s the guy that does, makes guys miss. You know what I mean, shifting, like you said.
Q. Has the togetherness and the culture of this team improved over the course of the season so far?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It’s improved a lot. I think the adversity we’ve faced in the season has brought us together a lot because of that. We’ve just focused on staying together and play ball that we know we could play, you know what I mean? That’s really what all it takes. It takes for us to play team ball and come out with a win.
Q. (Inaudible) on the field?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Jaware (phonetic)? Just like in hard games, like, close games, that’s when he shows up. It targets like our togetherness, how hard we’re going to respond, how we’re going to stay together at times, that’s when it shows up.
Q. (Indiscernible) after the game said that you and Trevor — that he is starting to see a little bit of the identity of this team based on kind of the way you played. Have you guys talked about that? Is this like what you guys were trying to become? That you guys represented the identity of what he’s trying to do here on offense, offensively, run the ball, and physically beat teams up, things like that?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I don’t.
Really know the answer to the question.
Q. You guys were trying to —
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: We’re trying to become a team that runs the football, that beat up teams, that worked on teams throughout the game. And I get what you’re saying, that’s become our identity. And we’re slowly becoming that.
Q. What’s it like running behind O’Cyrus?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: It’s great, man. He opens up the holes for me. Makes it easy for me. Gets me to the second level. Gets me to the guys I gotta make miss, you know what I mean. It’s just easier on me.
Q. You’re a New Orleans guy and Trevor is a West Louisiana guy. Have you indoctrinated him in the culture of New Orleans maybe?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Trevor thinks his culture is better than my culture. I never knew what (inaudible) was until I met Trevor. He thinks that their food is better than New Orleans food. And I always tell him that it’s not. We always argue about it and play about it.
Q. Do you get care packages from mom?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I need to, though. I’m going to place an order in.
Q. What is the difference between the cuisines?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I don’t know, really, but all I know is New Orleans is better.
Q. Billy called Saturday a pivotal day for Anthony. He’s now gone three games without a turnover. What have you seen behind the scenes in terms of his confidence or maybe it just clicking?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I’ve just seen him approach practice with more confidence. He’s very — how can I say this? He’s more, like, shaking to the program, if you know what I mean. He’s gotten more comfortable in the program since he’s played a couple of games. He knows the offense a little bit better.
And you can see him growing throughout games. And he’s going to be great. We need him back another year.
Q. You have the same position coach, same head coach and pretty much the same system. What’s changed about the way you’re running this year versus last year? Is it different keys or is it just year two of the same old, same old for you?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Year two, I see we’re trying to pass the ball more than run the ball. I kind of like that because it takes off the running game. The defenses have had to spread the box out and account for everyone that’s on the offense. And I enjoy that.
Q. Working with Seibel (phonetic) last year and getting to know him, did he talk to you much as a freshman before you came over here?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I ain’t gonna lie, my freshman year, I was a quiet guy. I didn’t really know many people. I just stayed in my lane. I just did what the coaches told me to do. And I was just trying to get on the field and be great.
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Cam Wicks (phonetic). Cam Wicks came first and I came second. And O’Cyrus was the last one.
Q. (Indiscernible) got over here?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: With O’Cyrus? I was just glad he came because I didn’t know he was going to come or not. He was playing games. He was taking his visits and stuff like that. I didn’t know he was going to come. I was really happy he came.
Q. Based on all the (indiscernible) and stuff, he’s having a great season. Does he look like a lot better player this year than last year or is he just a hard profile?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I think he’s gotten better in his off-the-field things like nutrition. I think he’s done well in that. He’s very disciplined with that. He always eats salads at lunch, stuff like that. And I just think he’s overall got better at his pass blocking as well and run blocking. I think he’s getting better throughout his career.
Q. You guys had such a good comeback against Tennessee and it was close. You had the LSU, you came back on them. Georgia, you had a great second half. Is there a feeling among you guys that, look, we can play with anybody if we just get it, if we just get it together between the ears?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Yeah, most definitely. We feel like we can play with anyone in the nation. We’ve just got to tie the things together, put it piece by piece. Put the pieces into place and we’ve got to continue to play team football. And that’s the main key.
Q. What’s it going to take to get there?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: Team football. It’s going to be the main focus. D has to play along with the offense. We’ve got to be one. Defense can’t have — defense can have a good game and the offense have a bad game. We’ve all got to have a good game, play together as one and complement each other. That’s what it’s going to take.
Q. The offensive line has been strong in the run game but the wide receivers have been great perimeter blocking. What have you seen from that group, how important have they been to help you guys go out?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: I’ve seen they’ve taken on the challenge to go block the safeties. I appreciate them for doing that because it can be hard at times. And I can see that they took on the challenge and they’re doing great at that.
Q. Block on Anthony’s 60-yard run. (Inaudible) – on that zone replay you carried out the fake so long that the backside safety, even while Anthony is going off the other end, he’s coming up off the opposite end to try to tackle you and you don’t have the ball. How much did they emphasize not just carrying it off for a second, but you carried it for like two and a half, three seconds?
MONTRELL JOHNSON JR.: My running back coach always — he always preached that we have to run the ball — act like we have, run the ball like as if we do. And that’s what I think I did on that run right there. It helped Anthony out a lot.
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