Napier: “We are thankful. Good team win.”

Oct 8, 2022 | 1 comment


(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)


Following a 24-17 homecoming victory at home against Missouri, Gators head coach Billy Napier and select players – Anthony Richardson, Montrell Johnson, Jaydon Hill, and Ventrell Miller – addressed the media.

Here are the highlights:

Billy Napier

  • “It’s always good to win on homecoming,” Napier said. “I think we talked specifically to the team about taking great pride and representing such a special place … It was a team win. It wasn’t necessarily the best of any of the three phases of the game, but we did just enough … We are thankful. Good team win.” Napier’s demeanor postgame was very much ‘a win is a win.’ He didn’t appear upset at how close the game was, but did acknowledge that they didn’t play their best ball.
  • He displayed respect for the team he’d just beaten, calling the Tigers a “tough football team that is very capable.”
  • On Ventrell Miller, Napier spoke of him in a grateful tone; you could tell he was glad to be able to have him on his squad. “I don’t know how many times where they got a play that looks like it is going to develop,” he said, “and then 51 just comes out of nowhere.”
  • On the defense, he was optimistic while also acknowledging shortcomings. “The only thing you would probably be frustrated about with the defense would be some of those third and longs they gave up late in the game,” he said. “Overall, they did extremely well. We made progress.”
  • On Jaydon Hill, you could just tell how happy Napier was for the kid. “What a story,” he said, “if you really dig into it, what the young man has been through … To get him back, he was a difference maker today.”
  • Napier said that the team has yet to win games at the rate he desires. He called them a “work in progress” and emphasized that their chemistry “is getting stronger.”
  • “I do think that we are built to play winning football,” he said.” “We’ve got a formula that’s won a lot of games. I think we are getting better at that process and I’m hopeful we can win more in the future.”

Anthony Richardson

  • Richardson said that the energy in the locker room is great right now after their first SEC win, and that they were talking about it all week. “A lot of guys were saying we must win,” he said, “and we finally pulled through.”
  • He said that on the 4th and 2 run where he went for 32 yards to put his team in the redzone on the 3-yard line, Napier went to him for the call. “Before it happened,” he said, “Coach Napier asked me what play I wanted to run, offering me a few options. And I chose that one. He said he went through his progressions and moved the protection, which left a “wide-open hole in the middle of the field” for him.
  • Having a turnover in five consecutive games does matter to Richardson. He said he’s “concerned,” but not because of the turnovers themselves happening. “It’s football,” he said. “It’s going to happen.” Rather, his concern regarding it lies in what his coach’s expectations are. “Each week Napier says we have to post zero [turnovers]. And we’re yet to post a zero [turnover game], so I’m trying to take charge in that and limit turnovers as much as possible.”

Montrell Johnson

  • On the difference between their rushing attack in the first and second half, Johnson was candid. “We were just taking what the defense was giving us the whole game,” he said. “I think that the [Missouri] defense got worn out in the second half, and that’s why everything started to pop as it did.”
  • Comparing the Florida offense now to where it was at the time of the USF game, Johnson said they’ve made “a lot of progress” since. “I think that we’ll continue to get better each and every game,” he said. “And toward the end, you might see a totally different football team from now.”

Jaydon Hill

  • “Honestly, it’s a blessing,” Hill said of his performance. “Words can’t even describe the feeling honestly. I’m just grateful for being here and being able to play.”
  • Regarding how his first interception played out, he said it was just the result film study – that last night, he watched that same play about 3 times.
  • Hill’s been pretty vocal leading up to Saturday on the importance of beating Missouri, and he held nothing back after getting the job done. “We are supposed to beat Missouri,” he said. “That’s something that we are supposed to do and, what I said, I had to back it up.”

Ventrell Miller

  • Miller had a great game himself – recording 11 tackles – and the defense played pretty well as a whole. However, he was accepting no roses after the win. “We came out and did a decent job,” Miller said. “There are some long third downs that we have to take advantage of.”
  • Regarding those third and longs he referenced, he didn’t have a clear-cut answer as to what exactly was going wrong. “It’s hard to say right now. We are going back to the film room tonight and tomorrow so we will see what happened there.”
  • On his own individual performance, Miller attributed it to his mentality and the defensive line. He said that his mental state is just “getting to the ball” and finding his way to it “wherever.” He called himself a “sideline to sideline linebacker.”

“My defensive line made it easy on me,” he added, “so it was pretty easy to make the plays.”

  • He said it “felt great” to win today. “It was homecoming, and the fans came out and did their job … it feels good to have that first SEC win. We are trying to keep stacking them on each other.”
  • Their next SEC game is their next game – Saturday the 15th at home against LSU. “I’m waiting on that game,” Miller said, “and I know the fans are going to do a great job packing the Swamp and creating that energy. I’m looking forward to being in that environment.”

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WCC: More of what Billy Napier, Anthony Richardson, and Jaydon Hill had to say can be seen HERE.

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