FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
- Orange & Blue Game Postgame Press Conference
- List of the Spring Awards
- Live from the Swamp: O&B Game Thread
- Inside the Gators: Mock Signing Class 1.0
- WCC: Live from Thursday’s Spring Practice
- Watch: Counting down Florida’s Top 20 March Visitors
- Anonymous Player Q&A III: Recapping Offseason Phase I & II
- ITG TV: Video from spring practice
- Behind the Scenes look at recruiting under Dan Mullen
- Anonymous Player Q&A News Feed
Florida head coach Billy Napier, quarterback Anthony Richardson, tight end Noah Keeter and cornerback Jordan Young met with the media following Thursday's O&B Game.
Also included are pregame clips and post-game highlights.
Napier had praise for the fans who showed up, with an estimated 45,000 fans in attendance. "I do want to compliment our fans and our student body,” Napier said. “It was electric out there, even better than I expected"
Napier said the team will enter the next phase of the program, with exit meetings and evaluations heading into the summer. He said this next portion of the summer will focus on reloading for full fall camp.
Anthony Richardson stole the show on Thursday and drew praise from his head coach. "Anthony's a product of a lot of hard work,” Napier said. “His approach has been first class." Richardson talked about how he's been trying to build consistency over the spring. “My main focus is being consistent and playing fast,” Richardson said. “I have some good highs and some bad lows, and I'm trying to find a midpoint in there.”
Converted tight end Dante Zanders, who finished the game with a game-high 56 receiving yards, was highly praised by Napier. “Dante Zanders, you can immediately see where he has a future,” Napier said. “He's been the story of the spring … he’s been a godsend.”
There were several reports of a “turnover chain” on the sideline for the Gators, but that was apparently news to coach Napier. “Nobody ran that by me, that's not happening,” Napier said. The players post-game also added they hadn’t heard of any turnover chain.
Napier was asked several questions about the spring transfer portal. "I think we're looking for players that can make our team better,” Napier said, while not specifically addressing what areas they’d target. He says they’ll rely more on players they have a pre-existing relationship with to get a fuller sense of how the player will fit the program.
The game’s leading rusher, Louisiana transfer Montrell Johnson, drew ample praise from Napier. “He belongs out there,” Napier said. He also added how the addition of Johnson was vital to the Gators in the spring with injures to Nay’Quan Wright and Gabriel Ortiz.
Napier praised his team’s energy and work ethic through the spring practice period. “I can't compliment the player's work ethic enough,” Napier said. He also added how that work ethic and intangibles are a valuable piece of the program when talking about a spring standout, linebacker Diwun Black. “If we can focus on the intangibles and these guys living life the right way, football will come."
On his performance tonight: “I felt like I played good. My main focus was just being consistent and fast. I have some good highs and some bad lows, so I just had to find the midpoint out there and be consistently smart.”
On running the offense: “I can’t really say it’s easy. Some of it I’m not that familiar with it, that comfortable with. It’s kind of hard to say it was easy. Just got to do extra work on their own or you can get in with the coaches and try to learn like that. I feel like if you put in the work, time, and effort then you’re going to catch on to it pretty fast.
On the offensive tempo: “Honestly, I love the tempo. I talk to the offensive line before every drive, every series and let them know we got to play smart, we got to play fast, we got to be precise. In this offense, you ruin one thing and you mess up the whole play. I just tell them they got to play fast and play precise. If we do that, I don’t think anybody could stay with us, so our tempo is pretty fast. We should know the plays. Honestly, I love the tempo.”
– Courtesy Florida Sports Information
On moving the game to Thursday night: “It was amazing. Last year when I came in, we didn’t even have one because of COVID. This year we were just excited to be able to see the fans and just to be on the field with my teammates, playing against my teammates, and just having a good time.”
On where you think this defense is going to improve the most: “All around. I can’t give you a specific position. I feel like all of the coaches are working together and all the coaches that Napier brought in are just making the defense take a whole 360 turn around. Everybody just buying in and working every day to get better and better.”
On what he thought of his performance: “I felt like I did well. I put my trust in God and just went out there and played. My teammates went out there and balled, too. They were calling certain things for everyone to make a great impact on both offense and defense. We just went out there and had a good game.”
On where he made the most individual improvement from last year: “Just getting in the playbook. I definitely think that was the biggest thing coming from high school to college. Just the playbook and the plays, just studying and learning them. I definitely dedicated my time to that this year. Just playing with my teammates and just focusing more.”
On how confident the team is in Anthony Richardson: “We are 100% behind our quarterback and behind every quarterback. We are 100% behind anybody that puts on that Gator uniform. We love him.”
On if he played mostly Star last year: “Yes. I came in as a corner. We had a lot of corners last year and we needed help in the Star position, and I came in and found a role. So, I mostly played Star position.”
– Courtesy Florida Sports Information
Keeter was the second-leading receiver in the Orange and Blue Game, his first one ever since joining the team back in early 2020. And he did it at a position he never thought he’d debut: tight end. “Never in a million years did I think that, truly. But it’s been, it’s been awesome. The switch has been great. I think I fit really well in the offense.”
A change he initiated
“I actually approached Coach Napier and Coach [William] Peagler about the switchback in I think it was January. And when spring ball came around, they were like ‘Alright, let’s make the switch’ and we kind of made the switch. And I had to learn the offense pretty fast, but it’s just been something I’ve just accepted and I’ve embraced it and tried to perfect the craft.”
The touchdown he caught from Anthony Richardson was his first one since his ninth-grade year on junior varsity at Buchholz. He played tight end sparingly his ninth and tenth grade years on JV.
Trent Whittemore was his teammate at Buchholz. Keeter said he’s been really encouraging. It also seems the Gators have a small Gainesville collective on their hands.
“A little bit, yeah. Me, Trent, William Sawyer, Mark Pitts all Gainesville guys. Anthony (Richardson), Gainesville guys. It was an ACR night tonight so shout out ACR.”