The next step – putting it all together for four quarters

Nov 7, 2022 | 1 comment

(Photo courtesy Florida Sports Information)

Florida head coach Billy Napier as well as O’Cyrus Torrence and Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr. addressed the media on Monday to recap the win over Texas A&M, the defense’s second-half dominance, and a look ahead to this weekend’s contest against South Carolina.

Here are the highlights.

Billy Napier

Napier reiterated what was pointed out in our weekly look at where Florida stands in NCAA statistical rankings, once again, the Gators’ special teams units performed well.

We had 156-yard advantage in the special teams, hidden yards there, which was huge in the game.

Nay’Quan Wright started the season at running back, but the position has evolved into the tandem of Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson.

I think those two guys have been a huge bright spot relative to what we’ve been able to do offensively. No question. Two new players, both of which are getting more comfortable, very capable. Both are smart players. Both are very consistent in their work ethic, their practice habits, and their prep during the week.

They’ve got discipline. They take care of themselves. They both have character. And they certainly have been very productive.

Starting right guard O’Cyrus Torrence was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week. Napier said he didn’t have any doubt that Torrence would be able to transition from the Sunbelt to the SEC.

No question for me. I think we played a number of Power Five opponents at the other stop. He always played really well. The guy’s 6’5″. He’s 335 pounds. He’s got 11-inch hands. He’s got long arms. He’s got more lean mass on his body than any player on our team. He’s a big-time player.

More importantly, is he has discipline. He has character. He’s tough. He’s a very consistent worker. He’s durable. And football comes easy to him. He processes really well. He’s a good communicator.

It’s really been a big deal, one of the reasons we’ve played well up front, I think, is his ability to translate because he had played in the system.

You can rest assured there will be plenty of attrition after the season. Roster management is something Napier said he thinks about daily.

 A lot of variables contribute to that. And I would tell you that I would think it’s one of the reasons we had success at the previous stop is that we worked really hard at that component. There are a lot of rules. A lot of things that contribute to that.

We’ve got lots of ways that we keep up with it. We’ve got a very systematic approach. But it’s something we’ve refined. It’s one of the great things about those jobs, those G5 jobs. You’ve got to become an expert in that area. It will be beneficial for us.

After having third-quarter issues for most of the season, these last two weeks against Georgia and Texas A&M, Florida was able to dominate the third quarter.

I woke up thinking about that. That’s who we are. That’s where we’re at. I think we’re still chasing that. Can we put it together, possession after possession?

I think we are taking care of the ball better on offense, which is really if you look at our teams, that’s the way we play. We’re getting takeaways.

We’re just very — we’ve got a lot of work to do. And I really believe — I know you guys don’t like to write about this, but it’s the human element part of the game. That’s just who we are right now. We’re working on that component of our team. The football I think will take care of itself as that becomes more of who we want to be.

Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr.

Powell-Ryland Jr. said that he wasn’t nervous about getting his first collegiate start.

Not really, because I’ve been playing all season. So I mean, being a starter, just going out there first.

On his strip sack.

So, it was — I felt it was a mismatch with me and the guard. So I slammed in, made a move on him and get a sack.

What will it take for the defense to play an entire game like they played the second half on Saturday?

I just feel like we just need to come in from the jump, pumped up, riled up, because at halftime we had to get right with each other. We had to get each other — we had to get together, talk to each other, make sure we was good, like let’s go. We knew coming in we could win. We could beat these guys.

On Ventrell Miller.

He’s the heart of the team, for sure. I tried to pick up from whatever I can get from him to try to help him out, make his job easier. Everything he does he works hard at it. He’s going to tell you that he’s working hard. He’s going to show up.

Montrell Johnson Jr.

Johnson talked about how it felt to the century mark on the ground Saturday.

Felt really good going out there, playing in front of all those people and felt really good to finally come out with a win and do what I know that we were capable of doing. It felt good playing out there.

On forming a one-two punch with Trevor Etienne.

I would say the rhythm has been going great between us. Trevor is a great player. He’s going to be great in the future. And he’s great now. I think that going future in the season that we’re going to continue to get better, continue to break those long runs that the fans want to see and we’re going to be grateful to Gator football.

I think our two skill sets combine really well because he’s a very shifty guy. I call myself a hard-nosed guy. I get the dirty yards sometimes in the long run sometimes. He’s the guy that does, makes guys miss. You know what I mean, shifting like you said.

Johnson, who was at Louisana last year with Napier and Jabbar Juluke, was asked if he saw any differences between last year and this year.

Year two, I see we’re trying to pass the ball more than run the ball. I kind of like that because it takes off the running game. The defenses have had to spread the box out and account for everyone that’s on the offense. And I enjoy that.

On O’Cyrus Torrence, who was also at Louisana last year, but took several visits before transferring to Florida.

With O’Cyrus? I was just glad he came because I didn’t know he was going to come or not. He was playing games. He was taking his visits and stuff like that. I didn’t know he was going to come. I was really happy he came. I think he’s gotten better in his off-the-field things like nutrition. I think he’s done well in that. He’s very disciplined with that. He always eats salads at lunch, stuff like that. And I just think he’s overall got better at his pass blocking as well and run blocking. I think he’s getting better throughout his career.

Everything Billy Napier, O’Cyrus Torrence, and Jaydon Hill had to say today can be seen HERE.

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