Florida Football: Three takeaways from Billy Napier's press conference

Napier spoke following Saturday's scrimmage
Matt Pendleton/Gainesville Sun / USA

Florida Football is less than a week away from its annual Orange and Blue game and the Gators held their second scrimmage of the spring season this past Saturday.

Head coach Billy Napier stepped behind the podium afterwards for a press conference and the following are three observations to be made following his comments.

Tackling Is Better

We highlighted on Friday a viral clip that showed freshman Teddy Foster bringing down Tre Wilson. After being the worst tackling team in the SEC in 2023, all indications coming out of spring camp are that Florida has been placing an renewed emphasis on bringing guys down.

It's one thing to see isolated clips from camp; seeing results on the field is another challenge. In the eyes of Napier though, he has seen a genuine improvement in team tackling that stretches beyond when the cameras are rolling.

"The best we’ve tackled since we’ve been here. And I think in particular in the secondary. Look, that goes back to the fundamentals are cleaner, the ball declares, the DB’s in a position to make the tackle. The fundamentals are better. Experience is better. The defense’s depth (is better). If we can tackle like we did today, if we can create takeaways like we did today, we can play with that type of energy, I think we’ve got a chance to have a good group over there.

Billy Napier

Florida Will Be Faster In 2024

Beyond Ricky Pearsall and Tre Wilson, the perception for the Gators in 2023 is that the wide receiver group didn't quite have the speed many fans would have hoped for.

We have highlighted the addition of freshman Tank Hawkins to the mix, a 10.3 second runner in the 100 meter dash, and the transfer of Chimere Dike, former teammate of Graham Mertz with 4.4 40-yard dash potential himself.

Add in a healthy Aidan Mizell and Florida's receiver group should have multiple speed options at receiver in 2024.

"We’ve been intentional about adding speed to the roster, especially at receiver."

Don't Expect Any Crazy Gimmicks For The Spring Game

Florida is partnering with Florida Victorious for a meet and greet after the game, but when asked about how the teams will be selected for Saturday, Napier didn't indicate any thing crazy would happen.

While he didn't directly say this was the case, one would assume he is going to stick with the set up he has used in the past where one side has the first team offense and the other has the first team defense. Likewise both second team units will be split.

"Really what we do is we divide the players up to try to make the game as competitive as possible based off of who’s available and then we allow the veteran players on each team to draft all parts of the organization. So we divide the entire organization in half and we give them a little ownership in terms of, ‘Hey, I want this guy to be my OC, I want this guy to be my DC, he’s going to be the assistant head coach.’ They pick their strength staff, they pick their — every part of the building is broken in half and then we give the players some — just to make it competitive, you either win or you lose and I think it’s healthy and it certainly makes it fun."