Arlis Boardingham: Touchdown Celebration, Development, and Kentucky Game Preview

by | Sep 28, 2023 | 0 comments

Ahead of the matchup with Kentucky, Arlis Boardingham, tight end for the Florida Gators, discussed several topics with the media. These included his first touchdown in The Swamp, his celebration, his progression as a blocker, and the importance of maintaining momentum. Boardingham also mentioned the influence of coach Russ Callaway and the return of Eugene Wilson to the offense. He expressed confidence in his ability to make impressive catches and highlighted the strengths of the Kentucky defense.

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On holding onto the ball on his first touchdown at UF:

“I kept the gloves, the ball I had to give it away. But just the first touchdown in The Swamp, it’s something I definitely will remember forever.”

On what was the celebration like:

“It was something I got from Tik Tok, I got something the day before and I was just like, looked cool so I tried to do it.”

On learning his celebration quickly:

“Yeah it took 5, 10, 15 minutes.”

On his first career start:

“To earn that it definitely came in practice. I feel like all throughout the season the practice tape is really what is going to tell you who gets on the field and I feel like the last two weeks, my last week of practice I definitely stepped my game up in terms of what I need to do to get on the field in games in practice, so.”

On his first year on campus:

“The first year of campus was definitely, I took it as more of a mental year, just to try to sit back and learn the game of football, it’s definitely different, especially west coast, east coast, it’s different ball, different ball in the SEC, so just being able to take that step back and just try to just process what’s going on, I feel like it will be good for me too.”

On his goals heading into the past offseason:

“I wanted to establish myself as a blocker as well. I know I’m known for being a receiving tight end and someone who can get open in spaces and do stuff with linebackers but I wanted to be able to show that I can block people as well.”

On how he’s progressed as a blocker:

“I feel like I’ve improved a lot, I definitely think that’s due to coaching as well, tight ends in the room, Dante, Keon all of them have helped me, helped me out of the little things on blocking that I may not have known, seeing how I didn’t play in my first year, since I was out, just letting know the little things, small details.”

On how often he had to block in high school:

“Never. I didn’t play tight end I was more of a wide out so I was running routes all day.”

On playing running back in high school:

“Maybe a couple of plays here and there.”

On the impact of Russ Callaway:

“I think Coach Russ is a coach that helped me develop more mentally and physically but helped me a long way in the meeting rooms just understanding the small details, the minute things that most people really won’t critique you on he’ll let you know that OK, well, you might need to get that, you might need to fix that because that’s going to hurt you in the long run, the smaller details become big things in big games, so I feel like he’s helped me in the run game a lot just for hand placement and technique.”

On what Callaway has helped with so far:

“Just getting hand placement, hat, feet, just making sure that everything, the technique is great, because we know there’s some big cats out there that technique is going to win all the time.”

On noise levels compared to Tennessee:

**“**Utah’s not even close. Utah was loud, but nothing compared to the Swamp.”

On if playing in The Swamp has prepared him for Kentucky:

**“**I think so. I think that we have one of the loudest places in the SEC. It’s going to feel like that forever. Very loud place. First time coming out there, couldn’t even hear myself talk. So I feel like Kentucky’s going to be loud but I feel like I’m prepared enough.”

On the importance of keeping momentum going:

**“**I feel like momentum is everything, we’re going into this game knowing what the mindset is, that the season’s on the line all the time. Every game that we play the season’s on the line. So we know that this momentum, we coming out swinging, is going to be a huge, huge factor, especially being away.”

On the importance of tight ends building on their momentum:

“Yeah I think it’s really important. I feel like we have great receivers, great running backs, we allow our tight ends to flourish, we give ourselves the opportunity to make a great play happen, it’s going to change the dynamic of the offense.”

On the return of Eugene Wilson to the offense:

“I feel like it diversifies us as well, cause we have a lot of different weapons and different people who are good at individual things. I feel like him being back in the mix is definitely going to be something that teams are going to have to watch out for.”

On Ricky Pearsall’s catch:

“ESPN top ten. As soon as I saw the catch. I couldn’t even believe it, I ain’t know what was going on. Watching it on the field, running the play, turning around, one hand, goodness. It was crazy.”

On rewatching the play in the film room:

“Yeah, no we’ve seen it more probably on social media than we have reviewed it, but it’s definitely a catch that we’ve seen a lot.”

On if he feels he can make that catch:

“I can, I feel like I can. I’m confident.”

On what stands out about Kentucky’s defense:

“I feel like their Dline is pretty big overall. I feel like they all have good length, good strength, they are all pretty long players, pretty decent.”

On if Kentucky’s defense will require UF to prioritize technique:

**“**Yeah, definitely, definitely. Definitely strains the importance of technique this week. Just seeing how, we know their personnel, we know their depth and their personnel, so we know that we are going to have to have our technique strong.”

On Kentucky’s secondary:

“I feel like the DBs are good, I don’t feel like they’ve played us yet, I feel like we have things that can change that dynamic, but they have a good DB core overall.”

On the confidence in Graham Mertz:

“Just getting leadership. Graham is a great leader who gets us prepared every day. He lets us know in the huddle that we’ve got this, we need to do this, we need to get this done. He keeps our heads in the game. Seeing him being positive and seeing him with that uplifting energy, definitely sparks us as a team.”

On the impact on this game of the team’s two-game losing streak to Kentucky:

“Definitely shifts our mind set for sure. We know that every game we play from now on is more of a game … that we need to win every game. Like we can’t lose another one. I feel like that mindset that we have had throughout practice has upped the ante a bit.”

On the noon kickoff:

“I don’t feel like it will be that big a difference for us.”

On how the daytime kickoff alters the routine:

“Nothing really changes for us except throughout the day except we get done earlier, nothing really too different.”

On if he prefers an early kickoff:

“It’s nice that we can play the game and be able to go home, get a nice nap in.”

On adjusting to Florida from California:

“I say that Florida’s just … in my mind it feels like California times two. Everything is just a little more. Everyone in California is a little more relaxed, but everyone in Florida is a tad bit more, a tad bit more energy. I don’t think I would want to be in any other place right now.”

On what brought him to Florida as a recruit:

“Just Billy Napier. I believed in this program. I believed in what he said, just trusted the process that he preached.”

On how he believed in him:

“Just that he is a player, how I’m going to develop into a unique player that can help this team tremendously.”

On UF’s defensive improvement:

“I’d day the people he’s brought in as well – Coach Armstrong, Coach Spikes. Everyone that’s around it … the defense is hungry. Last year we weren’t really respected as a defense. We had some great players, some very good moments, but at times we didn’t look as good. The defense knows that and has brought that spark from the offseason all the way in it to now.”

On watching the opposing defense break after a 7-minute drive:

“It puts a fire in your stomach, just makes you feel good.”

Photo credit: Molly Kaiser, UAA Communications

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