Montrell Johnson Jr.
Florida running back Montrell Johnson Jr. (2) runs up the field against South Carolina during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Stamey)

Napier Discussed Strengths and Weaknesses

The Florida Gators concluded their last home game of the season on Saturday with a victory against the South Carolina Gamecocks, 38-6. Napier talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the team during the game and shared preparation plans for this week against Vanderbilt.

Strengths in the Win

Napier recognized the team’s energy and urgency that contributed to the win on Saturday. It started the game strong with full energy and managed to take control on the line of scrimmage on both sides. He said he believes the energy along with turnover margin will be critical for this week’s game against Vanderbilt.

Seventeen senior players were recognized on Saturday at the program’s Senior Day. Napier said the team also worked hard for the win to create good memories for those players.

Defensively and offensively, the team has made significant improvements. Napier said the team managed to shut out opponents six quarters in a row, coverage of the rush worked together better, and it has been four games in a row without turning the ball over (with the exception of the last possession of the game).

Penalties remained to be one of the main issues Napier said he has to address. He said penalties are forced by the opponent team, hence, coaching better would be the way to resolve that.

Maintaining Momentum for the Road

The win on Saturday gives a healthy momentum to the team. Napier talked about the importance and the difficulties in maintaining that momentum for the road this week.

He said the team is working on strengthening momentum to every part of what they do. It is training self-discipline on and off the field. This includes running, recovery, training room, meetings, run-throughs, weight room and everywhere else. The key is to refine what the team is doing continuously, according to Napier.

In terms of adjustments of playing on the road, Napier said time allocation of the team would be crucial. He said consistency is key. The team is actively managing habits of the players and the staff as one of the methods to keep momentum for everyone in the program. He said habitual adjustments should be made Thursday and Friday night to prepare the team for Saturday.

Progresses in Team’s Culture

Overall, Napier had high praises on the improvement of culture among the team throughout the season. He said the team is becoming more vocal and extra on things that need to be addressed. Communication among teammates have significantly strengthened, according to Napier, and the constant stress on accountability has been core to the team’s success.

He said he sees an increase in intentional acts of leadership in the team. He mentioned Montrell Johnson, Amari Burney and O’Cyrus Torrence as some of the examples of great leaders on the team. Other than that, he said Anthony Richardson has also been getting more comfortable in his role and emerging as a leader. Richardson is becoming more intentional in what and why he says to the team, Napier said. He is actively taking time to think for the team in hopes of creating a bigger impact, he continued.

He emphasized finding leaders in the team continues to be a challenge and priority. It is important to see who has voice and influence over others on the team, he said. In addition, Napier mentioned the importance of offering opportunities to players to become leaders through assigning responsibilities, empowerment and praising things that are done well. He said this way, they will be able to promote long-term behaviors that they are looking to establish.

What’s Next?

The Gators (6-4) will play the Commodores (4-6) Saturday at 12 p.m. Catch coverage of the game here at 8 a.m.

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