College Football

Press Conference | Napier: Gators Out to Regain Momentum, Missouri a Tough Opponent

Press Conference | Napier: Gators Out to Regain Momentum, Missouri a Tough Opponent

GAINESVILLE, Fla. โ€” It must feel a little like Groundhog Day for Gators coach Billy Napier and his players.

They have dropped three consecutive games and head to No. 11 Missouri on Saturday for their final Southeastern Conference game of the season. The following week, the Gators close the regular season against No. 4 Florida State in The Swamp.

Florida (5-5, 3-4) can still become eligible for a bowl with a victory. The Gators can still finish .500 in the SEC with a win Saturday at Missouri (8-2, 4-2). They are heavy underdogs in both games.

Hence, when Napier arrived for his press conference following Wednesday night’s practice, many of the questions were similar to those of the past two weeks.

There’s one way to alter the narrative of a season gone wrong and losses on the recruiting trail โ€” with a win.

“I think momentum’s real,” Napier said. “I think anyone would โ€” at any profession, I think โ€” momentum is a key component, right? I think ultimately there’s one way to get momentum back, and that’s to go compete. We specifically have talked about that. So, I’m watching [the NFL’s] Buffalo the other night, and I’m sitting there thinking we’re not the only team in America that can go through some challenges. I think it’s part of it.

“It’s what we sign up for. It’s part of the challenge. It’s part of the competition. I think recruiting is highly competitive. I enjoy it. There’s always going to be some of that. It’s not going away.”

Meanwhile, Missouri is coming off a 36-7 home win over Tennessee and has won eight of 10 in head coach Eli Drinkwitz’s fourth season.

The Gators could be without starting left tackle Austin Barber, who is questionable with an injury, and receiver Caleb Douglas is not quite ready to return after suffering a leg injury at Kentucky.

Napier is pushing his team to rise to the occasion in a game that most don’t give the Gatorsย a chance.

“We have to compete. We have to stay in the present, work on the issues that we have. Come up with solutions,” Napier said. “There’s a number of people that have turned it around, and there’s some that haven’t.ย I think, ultimately, Missouri is a good example. Eli is a good coach. He’s hired well. He’s done a good job evaluating. He’s got some veteran players, and they’re playing at a high level.”

To watch Napier’s complete press conference, check out the video below:


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