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October 5, 2022 at 6:19 pm #22832
Coming up at approximately 6:30, Billy Napier and select players will address the media for the final time before this weekend’s homecoming game vs. Missouri. Follow along here for live updates.
October 5, 2022 at 6:53 pm #22833
Now on podium: Billy Napier
October 5, 2022 at 6:56 pm #22834
Napier says the team is excited for homecoming weekend — Gator Growl, GatorMade, former players coming back, etc. He says they’re looking forward to being able to represent the school at such a time.
October 5, 2022 at 6:57 pm #22835
Napier says they had a good practice today, back in pads. “Looking forward to cleaning up the plan [for Saturday].”
October 5, 2022 at 7:00 pm #22836
“Plan A should be the degree … Plan B is the National Football League. Football is a game that can teach a lot of different lessons about life.” – Napier on GatorMade and how he views his players’ prospects of going pro.
October 5, 2022 at 7:03 pm #22838
Napier says the team is focused on trying to eliminate negative plays, like sacks. “It helps when you have an athlete at quarterback.”
October 5, 2022 at 7:06 pm #22839
“Those guys put a lot of time, effort and energy into this place … It’s a simple sign of respect.” – Napier on being welcoming to former players. “It’s a network of people that can be helpful for the University of Florida.” Says homecoming week is a good opportunity to have them connect with the current team.
October 5, 2022 at 7:07 pm #22840
“No easy outs in the SEC.” Napier says Missouri has a good offense, and has had success moving the ball. Called them “creative.”
October 5, 2022 at 7:09 pm #22841
Jack Miller is practicing. Napier says that, at this point, it’s “a matter of comfort level.” Adds that he is “quite a bit away.” Miller is currently listed as questionable for this weekend’s game.
October 5, 2022 at 7:11 pm #22842
Napier says that despite Dean being back listed as a starter this week, Kamari Wilson will continue to play. “Kamari’s only getting better.” Adds that he had a great practice today.
October 5, 2022 at 7:21 pm #22843
Now on podium: Ventrell Miller
October 5, 2022 at 7:22 pm #22844
“The goal is to win from here on out,” Miller says.
October 5, 2022 at 7:23 pm #22845
Miller says he thought his injury would be bigger than it was initially. Says he was a bit anxious before getting out there vs Tennessee, but saw what he could do in that game.
October 5, 2022 at 7:26 pm #22846
“There’s always room for improvement, getting better every day.” Miller says not taking anything for granted, considering his injury history, and just focusing on things day-by-day is key to his improvement every season.
October 5, 2022 at 7:27 pm #22847
“‘Not again,’ that’s what I’m thinking in my head.” – Miller on his thoughts at the time of his injury earlier this season
October 5, 2022 at 7:28 pm #22848
Miller says he emphasizes being a 4D player — not just knowing his job, but everybody’s in every play.
October 5, 2022 at 7:32 pm #22849
Miller says he was playing at 60-70% against Tennessee, took a numbing shot before the game. “I didn’t really feel anything.”
Asked if he is now back at 100% — “Yes,” he said. “100%. Most definitely.”
October 5, 2022 at 7:32 pm #22850
Now on podium: Justin Shorter
October 5, 2022 at 7:34 pm #22851
“Sunday is really my last day thinking about the game. After Sunday, I throw it out.”
October 5, 2022 at 7:35 pm #22852
On where he’s seen Anthony Richardson grow the most his season, Shorter says it’s confidence and trust in his own ability to throw the ball.
October 5, 2022 at 7:36 pm #22853
Shorter described the feeling after the Missouri game last year as “very, very sickening.”
October 5, 2022 at 7:39 pm #22854
On helping to support Richardson against Missouri’s front seven: “By having a knowledge of the defense we can help him.” Says that he knows he has a crucial responsibility of being solid on routes.
October 5, 2022 at 7:42 pm #22855
On aiming to get their first SEC win this weekend, “It started Saturday night after the game … coach always says you win the game through the week.”
October 5, 2022 at 7:44 pm #22856
That’s all from today’s press conference.
October 5, 2022 at 8:40 pm #22857
Transcript courtesy ASAP…
BILLY NAPIER: I think a couple things here before we get started. Obviously excited about it being homecoming this weekend. A lot of activities around campus. Gator Growl homecoming parade, a lot of different events. People coming back to the University of Florida, a place that made a significant impact on their lives.
Certainly for our team a great opportunity to represent all the people that came before us, not only former players but also alumni in general.
We also are excited to be celebrating what we’re calling GatorMade week this week, to really promote it. It’s really about creating awareness about our player development program that specifically has been put together to work on and equip and educate and create experiences for our players. It’s all about life after football.
We made a significant investment there. We got four full-time staff members. Savannah Bailey, Vernell Brown Jr., Marcus Castro-Walker and Diane Lebon, which I would argue we’ve got the best in the entire country. We’ve got really special leadership there. We’re, what, nine months into this thing, and it’s only going to get better going forward.
We want to thank Mike Ricketts. He made a significant contribution and invested in the program. Certainly a guy who is a pillar of the endowment there. We’re very thankful for him.
We continue to look for really good mentors, people that we can get our players connected to, right? We’ve got a lot of strengths at the University of Florida. I think GatorMade is our attempt to connect the dots and really take advantage of this 470,000 living alumni, this top five university, and a number of values and tools that we want to equip the players with.
We did the Greece abroad service trip. We did also the Atlanta GatorMade business break. We’re going to New York City in 2023. I know from my experience, I’m different because of the people I’ve met along the way, the people I’ve listened to along the way, and the experiences that I’ve had.
We want to do that. We want to equip and educate the players. We want to create experiences for the players, ultimately that changes and impacts lives for the better. Hopefully these young men leave here more prepared for life after ball.
Savannah Bailey will be here when we get done and she can answer any more questions that you have.
Good practice today, back in pads. Knocking off the rust a little bit there. We were in spiders yesterday. Good energy out there. Certainly right in the middle of the preparation. A lot of work to do to clean up want plan and look forward to representing on Saturday.
What questions do we have?
Q. Is that a GatorMade hoodie?
BILLY NAPIER: It is, absolutely. I’m excited about GatorMade. I really am.
Q. I would think someone like you looks into things deeply. How many guys are there? 112 dressed the other day. 125?
BILLY NAPIER: Right around 125.
Q. How many guys are going to play football professionally? What’s the message to the group? Hey, this percentage of you are going to play at all, and this is why you should take advantage of this?
BILLY NAPIER: I mean, I think Plan A should be the degree, the education, the experience, the skill set, the connections, right, the career, who I am as a person, my character.
I think Plan B is the National Football League.
Sometimes we obviously have to paint that picture in a little bit different way. But I firmly believe that football is a game that can teach a lot of lessons about life.
I think sometimes people check the box when it comes to these things, right? We want to make sure in this unique window of time that we maximize every opportunity. It’s never out of sight, out of mind, right? We’re always being aggressive, creating experiences and putting people in front of our players to remind them that one day the helmet is hanged up, right, the cleats are on the shelf, you got to do something else.
We’re hopeful that a large percentage of our roster plays in the National Football League. Even if they make it to the National Football League, right, who are they? What type of skill set do they have? How prepared are they?
I think even within GatorMade we’re doing things that are going to make them a better professional player, right? I think this is more of a complete, holistic investment into making them the absolute best person, student and football player they can be.
Q. Why is this such an important topic for you? Why are you devoting so much time to that that doesn’t show up on the field?
BILLY NAPIER: I think it does show up on the field. That would be my opinion. I think that trust factor, knowing that you’ve got a plan for them, knowing that you care for them, knowing that you’re investing for them, I think ultimately that ends up paying you back in some form or fashion along the way.
I think we’re at a unique place here where we have an incredible experience that we can offer the player, right? We want to do it better than anybody in the country’s doing it. That’s one of the reasons we’ve invested in it.
It’s part of our organization, and we’ve made a significant investment in it. It’s already making a difference.
BILLY NAPIER: I mean, I think we’re making significant impact. We’ve seen young men change for the better. I think they’re more prepared than maybe they would have been without it.
Q. You’re almost at the halfway point of the season. After this game you will be. You talked earlier in the year about these guys understanding what call goes into winning. How far along are you in this process with the bulk of your players really understanding what all it takes to win football games?
BILLY NAPIER: I think we’re a lot closer. I think when you lose football games, sometimes it becomes a little bit more real to you, right? It stings a little bit more. We’ve played losing football at times and ultimately it’s cost us games.
I also think that our process of quality control in a game, evaluating the game, what contributes to winning, I think we’ve done that a number of times here.
We’re getting better. I think our players are getting more comfortable in the routine. Certainly part of that routine is how we quality control the game and give them feedback about what helps them have success as a team, how we can play complementary football, offense, defense, special teams.
Q. Three sacks in five games. What do you attribute that to? How important is that going to be with Missouri’s pass-rushers?
BILLY NAPIER: I think that’s a great question.
We’ve been fortunate. Number one, we conceptually are built in a way where we try to eliminate negative plays, obviously sacks being one of those, right?
I also think we’ve got a really good plan there to develop the offensive line. I think we’ve got a good understanding of protection. A lot of it is conceptual. I also think it’s a commitment and a premium put on the offensive line and their development.
It also helps when you have an athlete at quarterback, right? I know we always were really good in that stat the last couple years. Certainly we had a really good athlete at quarterback. I think that contributes to that, as well.
Q. The December, January period of playing retention, what can you divulge about how much you prioritized a guy like Ty’Ron Hopper? What are you comfortable revealing about that?
BILLY NAPIER: Nothing but respect for Hopper. I really thought he was a good player. The time that I had with him, I thought he was a really good person as well.
We certainly would have loved to have him on our team. He’s a good player. Just a unique window of time there. Certainly with his family, I think a family member that also went to Missouri. A little bit of a deal there.
Nothing but respect. He’s playing great. Certainly a good competitor, one that I think has a good future in front of him.
Q. Is he a true Mike, athletic Mike?
BILLY NAPIER: I think he’s a Will. I think that’s what makes him a good player. He’s got good height and length to him. But he can run, right? He’s good in coverage. He’s a great blitzer. He’ll be a fantastic special teams player at the next level. I think he’s a really good football player.
Q. You talk about homecoming. We’ve talked to some former players, and they talk a lot about you being incredibly welcoming, maybe more so than previous coaches. What makes that important to you?
BILLY NAPIER: Well, I think those guys put a lot of time, effort and energy into this place, right? They were here living it, right? They lived what our players are experiencing right now.
I think just as a simple sign of respect, this is a place that you worked extremely hard to represent, you were here as a student, a person, as a football player. You ought to have the opportunity to come back.
We want to work hard to build that bridge there, too, right? I think it’s a network of people that can help the University of Florida, right? They can help us, they can help our current roster. I think if we’re going to have success as a team, as a university, as an organization, we need as much help as we can get.
It’s one of the things that we have here, right? We have history. We have tradition. We have a lot of people that had great experiences here, they had success here on and off the field. They’re out there living life.
That wisdom and that opportunity to connect to our current team is important.
Q. You saw how Missouri was able to put Georgia in a corner, almost came away with that big win. How much respect do you have for a program like that?
BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, no, I think what it’s a reminder of is in this league you got to be ready to play every week. There’s no easy outs here.
Each team in our league, they got their own set of problems. Everybody’s working hard to come up with solutions. They’re trying to put the best product they can out there each week.
The matchups are different every week. Not only personnel-wise but also schematically. No easy outs in the SEC. It’s going to be a challenge every time. Certainly this past week was a great example of that.
Q. How are bodies holding up this week with the shorter rest?
BILLY NAPIER: I think the positive there is play counts weren’t too high Saturday. Large number of the roster played 20, 30 plays in the game. We were able to spread that out. I think that was one positive from Sunday.
Q. (Question about Missouri offensively.)
BILLY NAPIER: I think Eliah does a fantastic job on offense. They’ve got an identity. They’ve got a set of concepts that they really believe in from a run perspective. They’re committed to that. They do a good job with the play-action shots. They have a good perimeter game and dropback game to go with that.
Always had success moving the ball, if you really dig into his history. Creative, really good play-caller, a good game planner, for sure.
Q. (No microphone.)
BILLY NAPIER: Second year we played them twice.
Q. What was it like competing against them in the Sunbelt, to see two guys ascend to this level?
BILLY NAPIER: That seems like a long time ago (smiling).
Fantastic program, Appalachian State. They had an unbelievable veteran team there, quarterback was a veteran player. They had a handful of NFL players on that team. Just an unbelievable culture there. Certainly Eliah did a good job leading that program that year that he was there.
Q. Jack Miller, you have him listed as questionable. Is he practicing? Getting in any kind of activity?
BILLY NAPIER: He’s out there at practice. He’s doing all the things outside of the team. We’re doing some things on the side with him, as well.
Balls come out of his hands good. It’s a comfort level. I think there’s some things there from a fatigue rehab standpoint, just getting adjusted, getting back in the groove a little bit. Quite a bit of time away.
He’s just sharpening that axe every day, improving, certainly making good progress.
Q. Do you feel like your team has an identity?
BILLY NAPIER: We’re getting there. Yeah, I think every year your team is a work in progress. Certainly I think we’re there. We’re certainly in year one, so I think it’s even more of a work in progress.
Q. Is it what you thought it would be this far in?
BILLY NAPIER: I don’t know if I’m ever going to be happy standing up here.
I just think we got work to do to get better, right? We have yet to play a clean game, in my opinion. I don’t know that we ever will, but we’re always going to chase that.
I do think that this team works hard. I think we’re just growing up right here.
Q. Same answer 40 games in?
BILLY NAPIER: Probably (smiling).
Q. A lot of programs have player development initiatives. How unique is GatorMade here?
BILLY NAPIER: I think what makes an organization is the people, right? I think that’s where we’ve hit it out of the park. We have absolutely hired an unbelievable group of people there. This is all they do, 24/7, 365, right?
I think we’ve got fantastic young leadership. I think we’ve got some familiarity with Florida with Vernell. We’ve got experience all over the country. A couple Florida graduates. I think there’s a little bit of an investment there, as well.
I think they take great pride in their role, right? People make a team. People make an organization. I think that’s where we’re really, really blessed to have the people we have.
Q. Trey is listed to return this week. What did you see out of Kamari and Donovan? Did they do enough to continue earning opportunities?
BILLY NAPIER: Yeah, they’re going to continue to play, Kamari in particular. But, yeah, I thought they played well in the game. Still first start, made a few mistakes here or there. Got to eliminate the mental errors. Got to communicate better.
I think we’re making progress fundamentally. I think the secondary’s much like the offensive line, right? It’s a developmental position. There’s a lot of communication. Everybody’s got to be synchronized. I think both of those are of the utmost importance on their side of the ball.
Kamari is going to only get better with reps and experience. Had a great practice today. Made some really good plays in practice. Good young player. Got character, really cares. He has a good tool set, skill set to work with.
Q. Ventrell Miller announced earlier he was going to use his platform to raise money for hurricane relief. What does it say about NIL that that’s something players are able to do now?
BILLY NAPIER: It doesn’t surprise me. Ventrell is as good a human being has I’ve been around. What makes him special to me is he actually has a significant care if other people, right? I mean, he’s walking around living life, and he’s got enough wisdom and perspective to realize that there’s other people out there, and he’s not consumed with himself, he’s actually thinking about the people around him.
He’s doing good things for other people now. He’s making a difference now. He’ll do that the rest of his life. That’s who he is.
Q. One of the areas you haven’t been clean in is special teams. What can you do? Is it personnel? Scheme? What can you do to make that area of your team better?
BILLY NAPIER: No, I agree with you. I think it’s an area of our team where we need to improve.
When I think about special teams, I think about really good specialist play, right? I do think our specialists have played relatively well. Then you talk about covering kicks, right, punt coverage, kickoff coverage. For the most part we’ve been okay there. The kickoff return we’ve had a few slip out of there past the 25.
Then you get into the return game. That’s an area on our team where we need to improve, right? It’s a combination of personnel. It’s a combination of decision making. Ultimately one-on-one matchups. When I think about game changers, I think about ultimately at the end of the day, if you can do those things we talked about, it’s because you got good specialists and you’re winning one on ones.
I think that’s personnel. I think it’s decision making. I think it’s technique and fundamentals. Those are areas where we can improve.
Q. Do the kickoff analytics say take it out over taking it at the 25?
BILLY NAPIER: It depends, right? It depends. I think some weeks there’s some calculated risk that goes with it. In some weeks you’re very kind of in the box relative to when you actually return it. When I say ‘decision making,’ that’s what I’m talking about.
October 5, 2022 at 8:44 pm #22858
Transcript courtesy ASAP…
Q. (No microphone.)
VENTRELL MILLER: I think everybody really just knows we emphasize it’s a big week coming up, knowing that we’re 0-2 in the SEC conference. I think the guys are just motivated to go out and get that first win. We’ve been working extremely hard at practice to come and do that.
Q. You know in the past this team has given y’all trouble, even though you might have been the better team on paper. How important is it to get this win?
VENTRELL MILLER: It’s definitely important. Like I said, the goal is to win from here on out.
It’s been a different energy at practice. More people flying around. We emphasizing people to communicate more so we’re on the same page.
Like I said, it’s SEC Conference game, so everybody’s pumped up about going out there for that one.
Q. This foot injury you have, what was your initial reaction given last season’s disappointment? What did you do to get back so quickly?
VENTRELL MILLER: So I would say definitely when I first felt it, I was looking back at my last injury, thinking it was going to be a bigger deal than what it was. I was hard on myself.
But my training staff did a great job of just keeping me calm, telling me it was going to be all right, like I say, getting my rehab in and stuff like that. They did a great job with that.
Q. Did you surprise yourself with this one, that you were able to play through it the way you have?
VENTRELL MILLER: Yeah, most definitely. I was a little anxious when I went out there at Tennessee. I seen what I could do still.
I’m going to keep putting the pads on, coming out every game week, give it my all for my teammates.
Q. Ventrell, we asked you about this, about the journey. It continues. Is it amazing? You committed in June of 2016.
VENTRELL MILLER: Yeah. Definitely a crazy journey. I think it definitely made me into the person I am today. Three different coaching staffs…
Just being able to adapt with change. Keeping the right character I fell like has took me a great way. Building my character. Patience, dealing with injuries. I feel like I wouldn’t want it no other way, if you get what I’m saying.
Q. You had a nice season in ’19. 2020 you led the team in tackles. You seem like you’re getting better each year. How do you keep growing?
VENTRELL MILLER: I feel like there’s always room for improvement, keeping that mindset, getting better with the little things. Like, the little things are easy to do, but even easier not to do it. I know Inky Johnson came in and said that.
I feel like keying in on those little things, like I say, keeping the mind there is always room for improvement, getting better each and every day. Not taking it for granted. I’ve been hurt. Just come out and try to get better each and every day.
Q. What about this fundraising effort?
VENTRELL MILLER: Like I say, just with NIL I thought that I could help out some of the communities that need help. I think I have the platform for that. Jumping out there.
I’m a little new to it so I was a little anxious at first. Just diving out into it. Just trying to bring, like, help to the community. That’s my big goal for doing that.
Q. How hard was Lakeland?
VENTRELL MILLER: Lakeland didn’t get hit too hard, I would say. A lot of rain and wind and stuff. For my foundation, we’re just promoting it to the down south, people who got hit the most. That’s who we are donating all the funds to, those people.
Q. When did you start your foundation?
VENTRELL MILLER: My foundation is kind of new. Just like two, three days ago. This is our first program we’re setting up for.
Q. Who was in your ear and said to start something?
VENTRELL MILLER: My brother has been on me about that. He’s really been on me about doing the whole thing about my foundation, thinking it was a good idea just to support people with the money I do get to help out.
Q. Do you have friends and family from down south that got affected?
VENTRELL MILLER: Oh, yeah, most definitely. Players on the team that got impacted hard, families got impacted hard. I just seen that and I felt like it was a need to give back to some of those people.
Q. What did you think when you saw some of the devastation on TV?
VENTRELL MILLER: Just seeing it, those people got impacted hard. Flooded, houses lost, all different kinds of things those people are going through. I felt some type of way for them. I felt like it was my job to try to come do something to help.
Q. (No microphone.)
VENTRELL MILLER: Yeah, basically not again. That’s what I’m thinking in my head.
I say, I just think I showed the resiliency to keep coming out. Like I say, my team pushes me to go hard every day. I think that’s the people I do it for.
Q. Talking about your Tennessee week, was there ever a doubt in your mind you weren’t going to play?
VENTRELL MILLER: I felt like deep down, I always wanting to play. Like I say, dealing with the injury before, I didn’t really know what was going on. Like I say, it was close to a game day decision for me. Probably that Friday I made a decision I was going to play, so yeah.
Q. Where have you improved the most physically and then mentally?
VENTRELL MILLER: I know it’s something we emphasize is just being a four-deep player, knowing what you’re doing, the other guys are doing, executing everything, knowing what the offense is doing. I think that has been my biggest thing thus far.
Q. In terms of physically? You’ve cut down to 225. What is the most you played with here? You look faster.
VENTRELL MILLER: I think the heaviest I been is 230. I’m still around that range, so yeah.
Q. Where have you improved physically, strength-wise, explosion-wise over the years?
VENTRELL MILLER: Most definitely. I had some spectacular strength staff just being here. Coach Savage, Coach Hoke now. They’ve done an extremely job preparing me, getting me ready, every year faster.
I know they emphasize speed when Coach Hoke first came in. They definitely got me on speed.
Q. What is it like seeing guys you’ve kind of mentored around helped along the way playing for…
VENTRELL MILLER: I think it just brings more fuel to the fire. I hated to see him go. Rival team, I think it just brings more fuel. Just to show up and dominate, so…
Q. Hopper, is he surprising you?
VENTRELL MILLER: That’s my boy. Like I say, even though he’s at Missouri, I still have a good relationship with him. Talked to him this week actually. Told him to donate to my foundation (smiling). He told me he was. I got to wait to see if he did.
Yeah, that’s my boy. That’s my boy. Like I say, just seeing him how he’s developed, just happy for him and want him to keep going.
Q. The defense plays different when you’re out there. Do you kind of sense that? How much do you sense the importance of you to the defense?
VENTRELL MILLER: My teammates really don’t let me forget how big of an impact I am out there whenever they see me. Where you at? We need you out there.
I think my teammates do a great job of letting me know that I’m a key factor when I’m out there.
Q. What percentage were you against Tennessee?
VENTRELL MILLER: Like I say, I couldn’t even tell you. It was like a numbing shot so you don’t really feel it when you’re out there. I would say without the numbing, I would say 60, 70. I’d say 70.
Q. (No microphone.)
VENTRELL MILLER: Yeah, that’s the goal. Fly around every play. I’m just trying to get him out of bounds, I say.
Q. (No microphone.)
VENTRELL MILLER: Nothing crazy. Nothing crazy.
Q. (No microphone.)
VENTRELL MILLER: Yes, yes. Heck yeah (smiling).
Q. You are a traffic cop for the whole team in there. How do you keep your own self straight yet you’re responsible for getting everybody else where they got to be as well?
VENTRELL MILLER: I think that just goes back to what I was talking about, being a four-deep player, taking pride in getting everybody lined up.
I say, it’s not an easy thing to do. Taking pride, doing extra studying to get that done, just knowing the scheme in and out I say helps me.
Q. Are you a four-deep player?
VENTRELL MILLER: I would say. Like I say, having that mindset, there’s always improvement. I’m working towards it, yet.
Q. (No microphone.)
VENTRELL MILLER: Coach Bateman has done a great job. Coach PT. Even Amari Burney, he knows the system in and out. Even he helps me sometimes.
Thank you, guys.
October 5, 2022 at 8:45 pm #22859
Transcript courtesy ASAP…
Q. The first play last week wasn’t called, in the script. Where did that come from?
JUSTIN SHORTER: We’ve ran that play a few times during the week. It was a call, just like any other play, normal play. Went out there, seen the safety, the safety was low, the corner was in man coverage, so I just took advantage of it. He was playing outside leverage.
I seen it, that’s why I was smiling, which is a good play. Hopefully next week we do the same thing.
Q. 230 yards in the past two weeks. What have you and Anthony got going?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I would say all the work we put in since last year, since I got here. We’ve been throwing multiple times, the same stuff over and over and over and over again. Now it’s starting to show on the field. The work is starting to pay off.
Q. Can you speak to preparation, what’s changed here in the past couple weeks?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I’d say definitely after practice we’ve definitely taken more time and really try to focus on details, really doing all the small things after practice, so that way it can show up on the field. That’s the after-hour work you do in the dark is going to come to the light eventually.
Q. (Question about passing yardage.)
JUSTIN SHORTER: I definitely say week to week it’s been pretty good. You definitely just want to see get better and better each week. We just try to go back to the drawing board and just try to put more work than we did last year.
I know me personally, I always come back, Sunday is really my last day thinking about the game. After Sunday I throw it out, it’s a brand-new start for me. I just try to really put in the work, like I have nothing. We all try to do the same thing.
Q. The 75 yarder, is that the first time you scored on the first play of a game?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I think so, yeah. Maybe high school I might have one time, I think. I’m not sure.
Q. You can’t remember?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Might have been. I’m not sure. It was definitely a good one. I’m definitely thankful.
Q. Where have you seen Anthony grow the most this season?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I would definitely say his confidence and his ability to throw, his arm. He over there right there (smiling). I would definitely say his confidence. I feel like now he can rip the ball, put it there. He’s definitely confident with his reads.
Q. What do you think of going through game week when they script that play up? Look forward to Saturday?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Like every single play they put on there, whether that’s a deep ball, short ball, any route, I really try to sit there and just think of myself just catching that ball and scoring.
Q. Does it get you excited as a player for the coach to come out that aggressive on the first play?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Absolutely. Even if we (indiscernible) off the ball, I’d still be coming down 100% to knock out the safety, that way Nay’ Quan or somebody else…
Q. First play of the game, are you concerned maybe he will overthrow you?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Not at all. I’d say I definitely have full trust in him, in his arm. We’ve probably made that same throw thousands of times before. I should be able to close my eyes and run it in, just fall in there, because we’ve done it so many times.
Q. Has the mindset changed now that you know if you get open, the ball’s coming your way?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I’d say definitely not always. Sometimes I have routes that’s meant to take the safety outside, Ricky can get the ball, meant to cover up, the opposite safety can get a crossing route.
Every time I run a route, I always expect to get the ball. If I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I’m always ready to turn and block for my teammates.
Q. What do you remember about that trip home from Missouri after the overtime game last year?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Very, very sick feeling. I just do not like losing at all. I’ve never been like that. We can play you know, I lose, I’ll be upset the rest of the night. I really say we have that sick taste in our mouth. We’re going to come here, play by play, give it 100%.
Q. What do you think about Hill’s return, his journey?
JUSTIN SHORTER: He’s a great player. Seeing the journey he’s been through is just very, very inspiring to me, just really shows me I’d say anyone that knows the story could show you that if you persevere, put in the work, you can do anything.
He’s back. They had him out for half the season. He’s come back now making plays, out there starting. That’s an inspiration. I’m blessed to go against him in practice. He gives me a great look. Really just iron sharpens iron. I’m definitely happy to have him out there on defense. Trust him 100%.
Q. Caleb Brantley showed you what he can do. How excited were you to see that?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Once they called the play and I seen Coach KC call it, I just started pointing. You can probably see it on TV if you look on the sideline. I knew the whole time.
CD, he’s going to be very, very scary probably next year. He’s going to be super, super scary, just what he can do. He’s just so quick, he’s fast, he has all those tools. He’s going to be a very, very good player.
That’s just him doing what CD does, so…
Q. When did you notice this is a guy that had some ability? Have you tried to take him under your wing a little bit?
JUSTIN SHORTER: We all do. We all try to show him what to do, what not to do. He just knows how to do it by himself already. He’s very, very natural at what he does.
Definitely first day at camp, seeing him one on one, I was shook, because he kind of did his crazy move on someone. I was like, Whoa.
He has great hands can jump up get the ball, run right past here. A calm player. I like him a lot.
Q. (Question about helping Anthony this week.)
JUSTIN SHORTER: I would definitely say just having trust, whether it’s us being able to do our homework, which if we receive pressure, to field something like that, we have a slant, we should be able to speed it up. We should know he has someone, people trying to pressure him, trying to get in his face.
I’d definitely say just having knowledge of the defense, we can help him. Some routes you might have to run a little bit faster because he may not have that much time.
Q. Is that what you’re seeing on film?
JUSTIN SHORTER: You can just tell. You see Hopper obviously, he in there. He’s a very, very good player, very fast dude. They usually like to send him up the middle a little bit, blitzing off the edge. We should definitely be able to notice that and try to speed up.
Q. What has the adjusted practice week been like and how fresh do you feel?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I feel pretty good. Really how fresh you feel is based on how you take care of your body, if you put in the extra time in the training room, the cold tub and stuff, you know you’re going to feel good. If you don’t, you’re not. It’s really how we all take care of our body.
It was nice having that practice yesterday with no pads on. That was pretty nice.
Q. Did this affect your mom?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Hurricane day, we were throwing still. After this, I have to go back and catch some.
Q. She didn’t get a sore arm or anything like that?
JUSTIN SHORTER: No. If she does, she wouldn’t tell me ’cause we just grew up like that. If you had a problem, you suck it up.
Q. 75-yarder, would she hit you?
JUSTIN SHORTER: 100% sure. Absolutely.
Q. How have you enjoyed the GatorMade program?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I had my favorite life experience I’ve ever had. Just changed my whole perspective on life, really how I look at things.
Miss Savannah back there, she does a great job. I feel like that’s definitely a program that’s going to help a lot of boys become men in this program, which is I feel like a lot of us need.
Q. How did it change your life, Greece?
JUSTIN SHORTER: The first time leaving the country. Really just seeing something else, seeing how other people live, someone else’s culture for a change. That really opened my eyes up. I was kind of like, Whoa.
They call it wanderlust where you want to travel the world and do stuff. Now I just want to travel everywhere now after doing that now.
Q. What was your highlight of the trip?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I would definitely say the last day, Miss Savannah sat at my table, too. We were at this beautiful restaurant where you could look over, the sun was setting, you could see an island out there, the water, the ships. It was just breathtaking. I’ll never forget that.
Q. Trying to fill up the passport?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Hopefully. When I feel like we have some free time, but we have some work to put in first. Football first.
Q. Ventrell was talking about using his platform to raise money for hurricane relief. What does that say about him?
JUSTIN SHORTER: I’ve seen that, the fundraiser that he has started. It’s definitely heartbreaking just to see everything that’s happening in this world. Even more than that, it’s just heartbreaking to see what all those families have to sit and go through. They got water up to their things. I couldn’t imagine. In Gainesville we were blessed just to get some wind, not really have any bad flooding.
I think what he’s doing is awesome. I feel like I’m definitely going to look into trying to get people helping so we can go out there and make a change because that’s what life is about.
Q. Justin, you’re trying to get your first win in SEC play this week at home. How do you stay even-keeled and understand you have to get this win?
JUSTIN SHORTER: Absolutely. I would say we definitely — I feel like it starts on day one. Started on Monday. Honestly Saturday night after the game.
What you do day to day is going to determine. Coach always says you always win the game through the week. I definitely say just taking it day by day. Like today we all went out there and practiced hard, we’re focused. Tomorrow is more of a cleanup day. Hopefully tomorrow is a clean day, Friday and Saturday go out there and play super, super hard, play your heart out.
Q. (No microphone.)
JUSTIN SHORTER: I would definitely say winning is the goal each week. Everyone has to do their job, do what we can do. I’d say we can really win every single game, but that’s if 11 people on that field is giving 100% effort and doing what they can do. That’s when we’re going to win the game. Turnovers is definitely a big thing. You have to hold on to the ball. Defense and special teams also.
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