(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)
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Florida head coach Billy Napier along with O’Cyrus Torrence and Anthony Richardson met with the media Monday to discuss what happened during the loss to Vanderbilt, the state of the program, dealing with fan reaction, and what is in store on Friday when the Gators take on Florida State.
(Quotes courtesy ASAP)
What stood out to him after watching the tape of the loss to Vanderbilt
Turnover on special teams. We had a few injuries there at returner over the last couple weeks. We had a short field turnover that led to a touchdown, really 14 points there in a matter of minutes.
Two red zone opportunities early where we had to settle for field goals, so missed opportunities from a points standpoint but also momentum.
I also think that the penalties were a major factor. I think for the first time since we’ve been here, penalties had a significant impact on the game. Three third downs, where they get earned first off of penalties. We had two explosive runs that were called back as a result of penalties. Those are five significant plays in the game. One of those runs is down to the 4 yard line.
Then we were 0 for 2 on the two-point conversions. We missed a PAT. The hidden yardage was a disadvantage in the game. A couple weeks in a row there, we did what was required to win, and we did not do that Saturday.
On Anthony Richardson‘s decisions to run or not run the ball on Saturday
I think there’s not many plays where he’s not involved in it. I think much like a pass pattern that you call, sometimes the coverage dictates where the ball goes. Anthony was forced to hand the ball off quite a bit in the game.
So the design run, we came back with a few of those in the second half, but to some degree — and that’s happened before. I mean, when Montrell and Trevor get handed the ball and they have success, typically he’s eliminating one player by reading that defender. So I think the key there is that we continue to take what the defense gives us. So nothing significant on that end.
His message to fans who are discouraged about Florida standing at 6-5 after losing to Vanderbilt
I think — that’s an interesting question. I would tell you we’ve got a lot of folks working extremely hard, a lot of people that care. There’s nobody that cares and works like this group of people — players, staff members. The time that these people spend relative to doing their job at a high level, I would say that one day at a time, one person at a time, this group, we’re going to get it done.
Napier’s big picture on where the program stands
I think you’ve got to get consumed with the things that you know are under your control. You’ve got to get consumed with improvement, efficiency, refining every part of the systems that you run, what you do with your time.
We’ve been through this before, right? This is a process, right? These things aren’t — you don’t just flip a light switch and the house is built. I think it is truly one day at a time and it’s one person at a time.
I think that there’s lots of things that contribute here, but we’ve been here before. I’ve got a ton of confidence in what we do and how we do it.
On what went wrong with the run game on Saturday
I think it was probably the communication and us playing together and not being able to execute some of the plays that were called and not being on key with each other.
I want to give Vanderbilt defense some credit for coming out with a good game plan to get us out of our game. I think it slowed us down in the start, and we got behind. We had to lean on the throwing towards the second half of the game, and it just took the run game up out of it the first half.
On the frustration level of losing four winnable games this season
It can be pretty frustrating at times, especially when we think about how close they were, but I tend to look at it as a learning experience instead of letting it be frustrating. Like looking at things we can change on our part. It’s more of things we did.
Our line coach always tells us, it’s not about them, it’s about us. Most of the times, our mistakes and things we do bad in the game, it’s from us shooting ourselves in the foot. I feel like the majority of the time, things that happen to us, like the last game was a lot of penalties and just us beating ourself.
After the game, of course guys are going to be upset. Yesterday we watched the film and kind of put it to bed and see the leadership part of the team kind of stands out when we get in these types of moments. This isn’t our first loss. We’ve been here before.
So this is the time when the leaders of the team kind of really steps up and shows why they’re the leaders, and it kind of keeps the team in check because we know we’ve got a short week and we’ve got a big rivalry game. So there’s no need to mope on the last loss. We just get ready for the next game.
On the game against Florida State
It’s a rival game, a big game for the city of Gainesville, a big game for the University of Florida. We’ve got to bring it this week.
Growing up, I always heard about Florida State. I always heard about the Gators. A lot of people trying to pull you to one side or another, but it’s a big game for the state of Florida as well. Definitely got to bring it this week.
I do have some memories, not great ones, you know, especially me playing for the University of Florida. I remember watching Dalvin Cook just go crazy against the Gators almost every year. So that’s probably one of the biggest memories I have.
On how he would evaluate his performance as a runner against Vanderbilt
I know there were times I could have pulled the ball and probably ran backwards into the end zone. I didn’t realize until after I handed the ball off. Especially when it comes to RPOs and reads and stuff like that, sometimes you can misjudge the way defenses play at you or the way you’re supposed to attack the defense.
So I think there were times I could have did it, but it’s in the past now. I can’t do anything about it now.
Whenever there’s an opportunity for me to take the ball and run, I’ve just got to do it because I can potentially help the offense. That’s what I took away from it.
On Daejon Reynolds‘ big day
I didn’t expect anything less from him. He’s a great player, great guy, one of my best friends on the team. Just him being out there able to show what he’s capable of doing, I was happy for him.
I was definitely happy for him that he scored the touchdowns for us and got the yards that he did for us, helped us move the ball. So I was definitely proud of him.
On the importance of beating Florida State
A lot of people are disappointed, but it comes with the sport. You win some, you lose some. Even though we don’t want to lose, it happens if you’re not on top of your A-game. So things like that happen.
But momentum is always something that we try to work towards, always try to put something in our favor when it comes to momentum. We try to win every game. So we’re not really focused on who we’re playing because that can really alter your mind, what you’re thinking about when it comes to the game plan and stuff like that.
So we just try to focus on winning the game. When we win this one, it’s definitely going to build momentum for us.
On the fans being disappointed with how the season is going and his thoughts on where the program is heading
Coach Nape has a great plan, a great scheme. He’s a great coach. I don’t have any negative judgments towards him. Just knowing him for the past year and what he’s capable of doing, I trust him fully.
I don’t blame the fans and the supporters for the way they feel because University of Florida once was a great program football-wise, even academically. So they’re holding us to a higher standard, so we’ve got to hold ourselves to that standard as well. With Coach Napier, I feel like everything will get back on course.
More of what Billy Napier, Anthony Richardson, and O’Cyrus Torrence had to say today can be seen HERE.