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Florida Football

Davis message to the team - there's a lot still left to play for

November 23, 2021
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FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING COVERAGE
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Interim Defensive Coordinator Christian Robinson, running back Malik Davis, and linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper faced the media after Tuesday’s practice ahead of Saturday’s rivalry clash against FSU.

Here are the main takeaways.

Christian Robinson

  • Having coached under Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, it was only natural for Robinson to open with high praises for the former Gators head coach. “He means a lot to me,” Robinson said. “I wouldn’t be in the situation I am, getting the opportunity to be Florida’s linebacker coach without him,” Robinson added as he emphasized the opportunity provided by a rivalry game to end the season. “To lead this team to this game this weekend, that’s something that’s really important to me.”
  • On the opportunities Mullen provided him that kept him at Florida rather than a move to Michigan: “Dan helped me throughout my career here and just little things, whether it’s on the road recruiting, whether it was meeting with him just as the evaluation at the end of the year, he was always guiding me constantly with little details.”
  • Robinson added that Todd Grantham has always been someone who has provided him with support and help. “He was always somebody that was in my corner.” Robinson added that it was his job to ensure that team continued to improve upon what Grantham started, though Robinson said that he encourages the players to play for themselves, their teammates, and their school.
  • Robinson detailed the importance of defensive focus in limiting defensive breakdowns that have hurt the Gators in the past, especially after establishing a strong defensive rhythm. “We spent a lot of time last week getting prepared for Missouri, talking about ‘let’s get loose and play the way we can, taking it one game at a time.’” Robinson added that the defense did a great job throughout the week, adding that fans can expect a team that “wants to come play on Saturday.”
  • Special praise for Ty’Ron Hopper’s performance at Missouri drew its inspiration from Hopper’s high school days. “This is something I tell him all the time, I knew that when he was in high school,” Robinson added, “I told him when he first got here ‘one day you’re going to see what you become,’ the thing I love most getting to work with him is that you see he’s grown so much and sometimes they don’t see it in themselves.”
  • Robinson added the team looks forward to playing in the in-state rivalry on Saturday, saying that the stakes are as high as ever as the team wants to win for the sake of the rivalry, the seniors, and to end the season on a high note. He added that he and the organization want to spend more time with the players in the fight for a bowl game.

Malik Davis

  • Davis seemed to take it all in stride in what could be his last time facing the press as a Gator amidst turmoil and his last Florida-Florida State game. “I just think back since my freshman year when I first got here and everything I’ve been through.” Davis added that he had to mature faster than his peers due to injuries that saw two of his collegiate seasons' end. “What I learned is how strong the mind can be. Everything is mental. Once you get it down mentally, everything else is easier to get through.”
  • “I got a chance to get up and speak to the team today. I told those guys what they meant to me and everything I’ve been through and how much I want to win this game,” Davis said. “My message was that even though we don’t have the same goals we had at the beginning of the year; we still have a lot to play for. We have one another to play for, our families, the name on the back of our jerseys. That was my main message.”
  • On what it would mean to him to go out with a win against FSU: “It would mean everything; it would be my last game in the swamp. So, it means everything.”
  • Davis added that he was in shock at the news of Mullen’s firing but acknowledge the business side of the game and its relevance on the program. He extended praise for Interim Head Coach Greg Knox heading into Saturday. “I think he’ll do well leading us into the game Saturday. The guys love him, everybody has their own type of relationship with him. So, I think everyone will go out there and play hard Saturday.”

Ty’Ron Hopper

  • Hopper drew quick praise on his performance against Missouri. “It felt really good. I thought we had a really good game plan. So, we just had a lot firing on defense, everyone was playing well, and I just gravitated off that.” Hopper finished with 11 solo tackles against what seemed like a new, aggressive defense at Missouri.
  • On his transition from a high school safety to a collegiate linebacker: “I have a really great linebacker coach with C-Rob and I have a great strength staff with coach [Nick] Savage and his staff. So, it’s been really good for me.” Hopper said that it was good to see Robinson get the opportunity in what he considered great play-calling despite the circumstances of Robinson’s promotion.
  • Hopper added that the defense was locked in all week in practice, leading to the performance against Missouri. He added that the effort is being continued in practice and a better performance can be expected Saturday at The Swamp. Hopper said that the team did not need any added motivation for FSU. The circumstances have lined up for the seniors, extending to the whole team alike according to Hopper who hoped to “send them off on a good note.”

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WCC: Updates on everything they had to say can be seen HERE.

Davis message to the team - there's a lot still left to play for

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