Billy Napier updates how the Gators are handling the bye week

by | Oct 18, 2023 | 0 comments

Billy Napier SEC Teleconference

Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier spoke to the media during Florida’s bye week, providing insight into how the team is handling the week. Additionally, Napier discussed the utilization of Montrell Johnson, the team’s growth, and other topics.


Opening statement

“Right in the middle of really doing some quality control for all three parts of our team. Solid practice yesterday. We’re back out there today, and then Thursday. Going to give the players off Friday, Saturday. I’ve been working on the Gators yesterday and today, kind of developed a practice around the areas we needed to improve. Been healthy. Do think it will create an opportunity to get our guys fresher, a little healthier as a team, then work on Georgia the back half of the week and once we get back here Sunday. Overall, pleased with the attitude and the effort and looking forward to the next opportunity.”

Brock Bowers’ injury and how it impacts preparation for Georgia: 

“Yeah, we’re in the middle of the open date now. We’re working on ourselves. We’re obviously right in the middle of evaluating what we do well and the things we need to do better. We’ll start commenting on Georgia and work on Georgia later in the week.”

Montrell Johnson’s progression, wrinkle of using him as a lead blocker:

“Montrell is one of the more impressive young men we have. Obviously he’s physically talented. More importantly, he’s got really good practice habits. He’s tough, he’s durable, he’s smart. He can catch, he can protect. He’s been very productive. The guy’s over 2,000 yards now in his career. He’s been with us, this will be Year 3. I think Montrell wants to please; he wants to have success; he works as hard as anybody; and he’s a selfless guy. So anytime we ask him to block he does a fantastic job. I think one of the things you gotta do is try to get the ball to your players that are explosive and capable. Sometimes that will require the running back to be a blocker and Montrell has done that really well.”

The growth of the team this season:

“Well, we’re right in the middle of that growth, is what I would say. We’re going to try and find out what we’re made of here in the back half. It’s important that we keep humility. I was reading earlier today, Mick Cronin the UCLA basketball coach, said show me a guy that’s not humble and I’ll show you a guy that’s getting ready to be humbled. I think it’s important for us. We have to view where we’re at relative to the entire experience and not just last week’s experience. Keeping the big picture approach. Your team is really close to being below average and really close to being really good. I think we’ve proven that this year. We’ve yet to play a complete game and I think we’re still pursuing that. We do have a bunch of young players and new faces from the portal who are in their first year at Florida that I do think are getting better at preparing and practicing. I like this group. They’re fun to be around. They’re fun top coach. I think the key is that we continue to work hard, stay humble, that we continue to seek improvement, and continue to learn. We’ve got to think big and I think this group is close-knit. They’ve got good chemistry and I think those are qualities of a good football team.”

Players earning more playing time during the bye week:

“I think that’s a week-to-week thing on how healthy we are. Who’s available? Who can practice? Ultimately, we adjust how we allocate reps week to week depending on what we’re observing. How are they in the meetings, on the practice reps? Certainly, there’s a self-discipline component to that to in terms of academics and just living life the right way. It’s very competitive in every position room to some degree on our team. We’re basing our decisions on what we see each week, one week at a time.”

Examining the pass defense during bye week:

“Yeah I mean I’d say we’ve got our in-house, you know, process that we go through. I think we evaluate all parts of our team. And we’ve got a long list of things that we can do better at. Certainly you guys have your opinions, you know, you have your vantage point, but I think we’re going to focus on what we observe and see and what we’ve been a part of for the last seven weeks and look, you know, I think without getting really technical, there’s a lot of areas on our team where we can get better, and we’ve constructed the meetings and the practice yesterday and today around those areas. Some of that is situational, some of that is fundamentals and techniques, and some of that is personnel, right, so open date’s always beneficial in that regard because you do have some time to take a deep breath, look at the analytics, look at the stats, and really evaluate those numbers relative to what actually happened in the game, what contributed to that, and I also think there’s an intangible part of the open date. It’s important that you get the right messaging and the right approach with the players as well.”

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