Players Post-Practice: Jones taking a leadership role

Mar 17, 2021 | 0 comments

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Linebacker Amari Burney and running backs Malik Davis and Nay'Quan Wright spoke with the media Tuesday evening about the first several weeks of spring ball and more.

Here are the highlights.

Amari Burney

  • Something the defense has worked on this spring is knowing the assignment and not jumping offsides. That relates to attention to detail. They look at cut-ups of people jumping offsides every day and are reminded it’s something they cannot do.
  • Burney said that he has seen a lot of improvement from Brenton Cox Jr. He’s done stuff to elevate his game.
  • The transfers are keeping the defense as clean as can be. Daquan Newkirk and Antonio Shelton eating up and coming off double teams can help the defense’s flow and that creates an easy tackle for loss for them.
  • He’s settling in at moneybacker. Burney mentioned the importance of filling gaps and making plays from that position. The defense is going to be exciting when you consider them making plays and the enthusiasm. Everyone’s going to make plays, it’s not just one person.
  • Khris Bogle and Andrew Chatfield are two of the players Burney has seen step up at BUCK. Everyone’s been stepping up, making plays all spring. He also includes the freshmen. It’s great when everyone’s making plays and having fun.
  •  Trey Dean’s taken on a leadership role for the younger guys. He’s in a more vocal role for the defense. He sees everything at the safety spot and if someone messes up, he’ll get on them.
  • It’s on the players, not just Todd Grantham when it comes to the defense. This offseason they’ve been very intense with attention to detail. All of the coaches are more intense too.
  • He only saw Christian Robinson to Michigan rumors trending on Twitter. It was pretty funny seeing everything and he ended up staying at Florida. He could have the taken job but decided to stay to make them and himself better.

Malik Davis

  • All of the guys are making improvements and it’s noticeable to everyone from the players to the coaches.
  • It’s been big to get spring back because they couldn’t do a lot last offseason whereas this one is open. It’ll be huge for them to get the amount of work in they need going into the season.
  • Everyone can play at this level. So, Davis worked on just being a smarter player from last season to now. Mentally, being able to block the play before or knowing who is coming before the play starts is huge.
  • Emory Jones is definitely speaking up more and taking on a leadership role. Davis tells him all the time to take control, speak up and be loud so people understand. It’s his time now to show it.
  • Davis was asked about his use as a receiver. He’s willing to do whatever the team needs to win so if that requires him to flex out then so be it.
  • The defense is playing with a chip on its shoulder. They hear people talking and are coming out looking to prove themselves this season. The linebackers are definitely making it harder to run the ball. They’re taking better angles and routes to the ball.
  • Brenton Cox Jr.’s definitely improved. Not just when making plays but knowing the game and understanding what he’s doing. The sky’s the limit for him.
  • Ability and knowledge go hand-in-hand when it comes to making second-level defenders miss. Once you understand what’s going on before the play you can play faster.
  • Davis saw the tight ends make strides in their blocking ability. It was something they wanted to show they had.
  • The sky’s the limit when it comes to the running back room. They have experienced guys returning and are excited to get out there.
  • Gervon Dexter has improved a lot. He’s getting more consistent with making plays and understanding what he’s doing. Davis thinks “I’m getting away from him” when seeing Dexter in the hole.

Nay’Quan Wright

  • When it comes to a possible position change: He’s just coming in working and showing what he can do. Whatever his role, he’ll stick to it. Comfortable at playing running back but he’ll go wherever.
  • Every running back can play every position. All of them can go from the backfield to the slot and that can make a difference.
  • Jones is becoming more of a leader every day. He didn’t have to lead as the backup so this year it’s his time. He didn’t do anything yet for Wright not to believe in Jones.
  • One thing that’s changed about the offense is more use of read options considering the quarterback is a better runner compared to last season. They won’t be one-dimensional because they have running backs that can catch and a quarterback who can run.
  • On coaches breaking up the monotony (i.e. linemen catching punts): they do some kind of competition every day at the end of practice. Whatever unit loses, offense or defense has to run the sprints. It’s something different and fun so Wright appreciates it.
  • In regard to an early spring schedule: Football is year-round so they just have to stay focused, watch the film and fix the mistakes. Carrying the iPad everywhere basically.
  • Wright likes Jones as a runner. Whoever has the ball is liable to go the distance. It’s pick your poison basically and puts a lot of stress on the defense. He compared it to the Ravens basically with how they looked Lamar Jackson’s first year.
  • How much the offseason can help the offense: It can build some chemistry. Maybe if it’s not even football. Just fun activities to develop it and they can trust one another. With last spring, pretty much everyone was home and then went right into it in the fall so there was no time for the team to bond through activities.
  • Wright thought he could’ve done better last season. But that’s why he’s there in the spring grinding and building one day after another.
  • Brenton Cox Jr. looks good, more knowledgeable. He’s coaching guys up and becoming that all-around player he needs to be. He’s doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s going to show the world this year.

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