Gators head coach Billy Napier paces the sideline during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Florida, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Napier talks Mizzou, team commitment

Florida football had one of its finest offensive performances on Sunday against FCS program Eastern Washington. UF quarterbacks Anthony Richardson and Jalen Kitna created chaos on the Eagle’s defense en route to a 52-17 blowout win.

This Saturday, Florida’s offense will face a more challenging test.

The Gators (3-2, 0-2) will look to secure their first SEC win of the season as they host the Missouri Tigers (2-3, 0-2) at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at noon. Florida, which holds a 5-5 record against Mizzou since 2012, will play in front of a homecoming crowd.

Florida head football coach Billy Napier addressed the media on Wednesday’s SEC teleconference to preview the matchup. He also discussed the Gators progress throughout the season.


Mizzou Strengths

Napier highlighted the Tigers’ defense and squad depth by recognizing their physicality. He also said Mizzou had done an excellent job at creating a solid foundation of veteran players on both fronts.

Over the offseason, the Tigers secured several players in the transfer portal, including former Gators linebacker Ty’Ron Hopper. Those defensive reinforcements have played an integral role in Mizzou’s competitiveness in the SEC.

On Sept. 24, Mizzou took Auburn to overtime before losing the game on a late field goal. Last week against top-ranked Georgia, the Tigers held a 16-6 lead at halftime before collapsing in the second frame.

Napier emphasized planning and preparation, as he believes all SEC games are challenging. The Gators will look to bounce back after losing to Mizzou, 24-23, last season.

Gators’ Strong Commitment to Improving

Napier praised his team’s commitment throughout the season. He said he was pleased with the program’s hard work, practice culture and character.

Napier also said the program is consumed with improvement but needed to keep working on defense, especially on explosive plays. In the Gators’ game against Tennessee, a couple of blown coverage plays affected UF’s fate late in the game.

Florida hopes to chain consecutive wins for the first time this season. Mizzou will look to keep the score low and take the win. The game is scheduled for noon and will stream on ESPNU.

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