Napier: “As soon as I see the word pressure, in my mind, I think ‘opportunity’”

Sep 7, 2022 | 1 comment

(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)

After a 1-0 start to the season, Gators head coach Billy Napier and three players took to the podium and spoke to the media on Wednesday about their upcoming matchup vs. Kentucky.

Here are the highlights:

  • Napier walked into the press conference and took no time at all to announce that the Kentucky game was officially sold out. This makes it back-to-back weeks of playing in front of sellout home crowds now. “We’re extremely excited,” he said, “… We’re gonna do everything that we can do to win the game. We never hold anything back.”
  • On Ricky Pearsall, Napier had high praise for the wide receiver. He said Pearsall proved his worth and dependability last week – thought he played really well.
  • On Anthony Richardson, Napier said that he was very pleased with his decision-making Saturday. “He understands what’s going on out there.”
  • “Pressure makes diamonds” is undoubtedly an ideology that holds true to Napier. He expressed that playing in high-pressure situations is something he covets. “These venues, these environments, this league, this level … It’s really an opportunity,” he said, “as soon as I see the word pressure in my mind I think ‘opportunity’.”
  • Napier talked about how playing at the same time back-to-back weeks helps. He said it allows them to emulate the same schedule, which aids in preparation.
  • Regarding the most recent AP poll having the Gators ranked at No. 12, Napier said he didn’t bother addressing it with the team. Those rankings are not something he bothers talking to the team about.
YouTube player

Offensive lineman Kingsley Eguakun

  • Eguakun was asked immediately about the AP poll. He said that he was happy to be ranked No. 12. “It’s fun to see it,” he said. However, he also made sure to express that what they were ranked didn’t really matter to him at the end of the day.
  • Eguakun expressed the same sentiment that so many others inside of that locker room have when it comes to Anthony Richardson’s iconic two-point conversion. “We saw him do it twice in training camp,” he said, “… it wasn’t anything crazy.” He did add that it was “impressive,” though.
  • The day Dan Mullen ranked the Gators fourth in the SEC East, the players were acknowledging it, Eguakun said. “We joked about it the day it came out.” He said that it isn’t something they talk about on a daily basis or anything like that, but back on that day it definitely made its way throughout the team.

Wide Receiver Ricky Pearsall

  • Pearsall said that there is a not-so-difficult-to-notice difference between the atmosphere in the SEC and PAC-12. “The Swamp is different,” he said. He spoke about how he had never played in front of a crowd like there was on Saturday – pointed out how important fans truly are to the team and how he’s looking forward to it again this weekend.
  • “I think that’s amazing,” Pearsall said about The Swamp having now been sold-out in back-to-back weeks, “we need to sellout every game.”
  • The Anthony Richardson praise was never-ending with Pearsall, saying that “it’s a blessing” to be able to catch balls from him. “He’s got a rocket for an arm,” he said, “he could throw it across the whole field if he wanted.”

Cornerback Jason Marshall Jr.

  • Marshall, like everyone else who spoke at this press conference, displayed gratitude and excitement when asked about The Swamp’s sellout. “I feel like that helps the defense a lot,” he said. He was adamant that the loud noise throwing off the opposition’s communication on offense is a key advantage for the Gators.
  • Describing last season and the main differences from then to now, Marshall pointed to the communication and chemistry within the team. He said that under Mullen last season, there was a lot of cursing each other out within the locker room. Now, under Napier, Marshall said that there’s an overwhelming sense of “coming together,” which is something that Napier’s been emphasizing since his arrival.

He added that Napier’s “straight-forward” approach to the game is a welcomed addition to the locker room. He said it’s much more fitting for this team than Mullen’s approach was.


WCC: Updates on everything Billy Napier, Kingsley Eguakun, Ricky Pearsall, and Jason Marshall Jr. had to say can be seen HERE.

Never miss the latest news from Inside the Gators!

Join our free email list