Napier
Coach Napier during Monday's media availability (via floridagators.com).

Napier Talks Heavener Center, Florida’s First Scrimmage and Recruiting

It was a big weekend for Gator football as the team moved into the Heavener Center, had their first fall scrimmage, and continued to bring in recruits. On Monday, Florida football coach Billy Napier was joined by wideout Trent Whittemore and defensive back Trey Dean III to speak to the media about the big weekend. 

Heavener Center 

The Gator football team moved into their new 142,000-square foot, 85 million dollar training facility on Sunday.  “They did this thing the right way now, I mean you’re talking about every bell and whistle,” Napier said. Napier went on to discuss the impact the new center will have on the athletes and the program as a whole. 

First and foremost, Napier says the biggest practicality of the new center is time. “The opposition has the same amount of time as you,” Napier said. He emphasized the importance of efficiency and how the center provides just that. 

Whittemore agreed that the best part of the facility is how convenient it is that everything is in one place. 

Whittemore shared how he and some of the players were nostalgic about their last walk to the practice field after having done it so many times. The Gainesville native also expressed his gratitude for everyone that made this dream of a new facility come to life.

First Fall Scrimmage 

While assessing the team’s performance during their first fall scrimmage on Saturday, Napier said he has seen fundamental growth since the spring. “We had a very physical scrimmage but we were able to stay healthy and make progress…overall I think we’re heading in the right direction,” Napier said.

Dean spoke on how the scrimmage also showcased the team’s progress in paying attention to detail, which he credits to Napier. “It wasn’t only more physical, there was also a lot of attention to detail. Every game is going to be coming down to the detail, taking the right steps. Great coaching equals great results,” – Dean said. 

Furthermore, Napier applauded the Gator defense for playing exceptionally well, especially in their ability to limit explosive plays. Whittemore also praised the defense on their performance during the scrimmage. “Yeah the defensive guys were flying around, they’re playing with a lot of confidence right now. I think they have a good scheme and it’ll work well throughout our conference play,” Whittemore said. 

Additionally, Napier spoke on how the first offensive unit was the only group that didn’t meet their quota for the day.  Napier clarified the quota to be measured by one penalty in every 30 plays. “We like those to be technical and not discipline oriented,” he added. 

Napier explained how the quarterback efficiency was not where he wants it to be as they ran into trouble with scoring touchdowns in the red area, as well as a few turnovers. Napier was quick to add that several things contributed to that but that it was nothing alarming and the mistakes that were made are easily correctable. 

Strides in Recruiting 

Following a big weekend for recruiting, Napier spoke on the recruiting momentum that the program has built over the summer. 

He gave thanks to the staff, administration, on campus recruiting, Gator Made, the on-field assistants and more. Whittemore also credited the staff for showing a real commitment to recruiting, which he feels is “really paying off.” 

“The Gators aren’t going away on the recruiting trail,” Napier said. 

Napier referenced the old adage “plan your work and work your plan.”  The old saying demonstrated the diligence and consistency that the recruiting staff has vowed to uphold since day one. Napier shared how “excited and humbled” he is by the high caliber players and families that continue to show confidence in his plan. 

“I think the vision here in the beginning was to create an organization that has life-changing impact,” Napier said. “We’re going to work hard at who they are as people, we’re going to prioritize their education, and we’re going to teach football at a high level.”

About Ellie Shreve

Ellie is a third-year sports and media journalism major at the University of Florida.

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