Napier wants fans there early Saturday

Aug 29, 2022 | 1 comment

With Utah game-week having finally arrived, Florida head coach Billy Napier and three Gators players took to the podium to speak to the media on Monday.

Here are the highlights:

  • Napier aimed his opening soliloquy at the Gators’ faithful. “Be there early,” he asserted, “Know that you can contribute to the game.” The fans’ impact on the game went on to be a theme throughout the press conference. Napier would eventually go on to say that the fans and the lore of the Swamp were a major part of why he wanted to take this job. He clearly both expects and looks forward to a legendary atmosphere Saturday.
  • When asked about Anthony Richardson, Napier showed confidence and expressed that he and his QB1 have developed a sense of comradery with one another. He talked about spending time during the week with Richardson and going over plays – stating that he has completely bought into the game plan and will actually have a significant role in play-calling. “Now, we get to zero the focus in on a specific plan.”
  • Speaking more toward the play-calling and how that will look on game-day behind the scenes, Napier said that they have their own unique process – “As we approach the game, we do a number of different things.” He went on to talk about the quarterback’s involvement, making it clear that Richardson’s voice will be more than just heard, but genuinely listened to and implemented in spots.
  • On Utah, Napier exhibited collectiveness – demeanor about as calm as he could’ve been. “We’ve done a lot of mock situations to prepare for this week … [Utah is] balanced … I admire the brand of football they play … There’s a reason they’re well thought of going into the season.” He also shouted out the Utes’ coordinator – “I’ve watched this guy for a long time. He’s good at what he does.”
  • When asked about game-day butterflies and jitters, Napier seemed a bit amused – “I’ve been doing this for a long time.” He went on to say that over time, he’s learned how to be well prepared and have confidence going into big games.
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Tight End Dante Zanders

  • Zanders’ most compelling comments were praise of his quarterback. He had nothing but positive things to say, noting the improvements Richardson’s appeared to have made this offseason. When asked about AR’s biggest improvement since Spring, Zanders gave a quick and confident one-word answer – “Leadership.” He went on to talk about how Richardson’s really taken the reigns and showed the ability to be a catalyst for hard work.

Zanders went on to describe what he’s seen in his QB1’s game through training camp, making the bold statement that Anthony Richardson is “Kadarius Toney at the quarterback position.” He alluded to his shiftiness, quick-feet and tenacious motor.

  • Zanders also spoke on preparing for Utah’s physicality and how he’s feeling going into this week. “I feel like we’re prepared … We’re a physical team as well,” he stated. He spoke about how their simulating and emphasizing physicality in practices to be more than ready come game day.

As far as how he’s feeling going into the week, well, “like a kid the night before Christmas, but all week,” he said.

Linebacker Amari Burney

  • Burney, speaking on their week 1 opponent, highlighted Utah’s personnel that he’s keeping a close eye on – “They got two good tight ends.” He went on to talk a bit about them and the challenges they pose, stating that it’s going to have to be a team-defensive effort to slow those guys down.
  • On the Utes’ quarterback, Cam Rising, Burney alluded to his “sneaky” speed – “He’s a great quarterback … He’s sneaky fast.”

Punter Jeremy Crawshaw

  • When asked about last year’s struggles, Crawshaw said that they knew they didn’t play up to their standard. He went on to say that as a team, they’re aware that now – as a result of that – they’re being doubted. “We know we aren’t ranked. We know that Utah is.” He went on to state that they’re “ready,” ready to go out there Saturday and this season to prove themselves.
  • Regarding Napier, Crawshaw spoke volumes about the set of values he came in with and how he has helped generate a positive culture. He stated that as soon as Napier arrived, a huge emphasis was placed on the team coming together, becoming one – creating a true sense of family.


WCC: Updates on everything Billy Napier, Dante Lang, Amari Burney, and Jeremy Crawshaw had to say can be seen HERE.

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