Nov 11, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier looks at the scoreboard against the LSU Tigers during the second half at Tiger Stadium. [Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports]

Napier Not Avoiding Challenge, Gators are ‘About the Work’ in Preparing for Mizzou

The Florida Gators have now lost three consecutive games after a 52-35 defeat at the hands of LSU. This loss puts the Gators at 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the SEC, with just two regular-season games remaining.

With the team in the midst of a tough stretch, coach Billy Napier emphasizes the importance of facing the challenge head-on.

“Don’t avoid it. I think you got to lean into it, you got to attack it. You got to embrace heart,” he said during his weekly news conference Monday.

Napier Talks Defense After LSU

With the Gators giving up 701 total yards against the Tigers, the most in program history, it has sparked questions about what can be done to fix the defensive struggles.

Napier pointed to some key areas that need improvement.

Although there are certainly improvements to be made, Napier said the effort level was good. He also gave credit to LSU, and more specifically quarterback Jalen Daniels, who was responsible for more than 600 yards.

Previewing Missouri

The Missouri Tigers are one of the biggest surprises in college football this year. A Tigers team picked to finish second-to-last in the SEC East preseason has defied expectations. Missouri is 8-2 and 4-2 in the league, with the only losses to Georgia and LSU. The Tigers are coming off a dominating 36-7 win against then-No. 13 Tennessee.

Napier knows it will be a challenge to face Mizzou, especially with the playmakers it has on the offensive side of the ball.

While he reemphasizes that Missouri will be a challenge and it is a tough place to play, Napier is confident in his team and its attitude before the game.

Mizzou QB Brady Cook presents another dual-threat problem for the Gators’ defense. Cook is fresh off his best rushing performance of the year. He had 12 carries for 55 yards against the Vols. While Cook is not quite the rushing presence that Daniels is, his running game still poses a threat to a vulnerable Florida defense.


Cook is not the only piece of an impressive Tigers offense. Running back Cody Schrader is also coming off his best performance of the year. Schrader had career-highs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, receptions and receiving yards against Tennessee. He accounted for 221 total yards on 40 touches, adding a rushing touchdown to the career day.


With a tough task ahead, the Gators look to fight through the adversity and gain bowl eligibility against No. 11 Missouri on the road. The game kicks off Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

Note:  The Florida and Florida State game Nov. 25 at The Swamp is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff on ESPN/Gainesville ESPN 98.1-FM/AM-850 WRUF.

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