Billy Napier and multiple players have indicated throughout the season that Tuesday and Wednesday practices often determine how the team performs on gameday.
It’s safe to say that Napier was not pleased with this week’s practices following Florida’s week three upset victory over No.11 Tennessee in The Swamp.
“There’s a mindset that we’re trying to develop here, to where we can be consistent and not depend on external things to motivate us. And that’s an attitude. That’s a culture and we’re working on that,” Billy Napier said during Wednesday’s press conference. “I think we’ve been a little bit inconsistent in that this week, in my opinion. So we have a lot of work left to do to get ready to play Saturday.”
Junior edge rusher Princely Umanmielen commented on this week’s practices.
“This week, I wouldn’t say it was nothing like we got comfortable or nothing. I just feel like, you know, we’ve just got to go harder,” Umanmielen said. “You know, like, it was a gloomy day outside today. We had a couple of bad plays. But yeah, I just feel like we’ve just got to go harder.”
Napier was pleased with how his veteran players stepped up to address the team after a rough Wednesday practice.
“I do appreciate the players being vocal about the things that need to be done better, I think that’s a healthy thing,” Napier said.
Transfers Cam’Ron Jackson and Teradja Mitchell were two of the players to speak to the Gators after practice.
“Like after practice, we all came up as a defense and talked to each other as a team. And you know, we just, we’re looking to get that fixed,” Umanmielen said. “Cam Jackson, he was letting everybody know that the way we practiced today is unacceptable. And then Teradja [Mitchell], he was just saying, like, ‘We can’t talk about it. We got to be about it. We got to go out there every day, we can’t have two good weeks in a row and then a bad week one week and then another two good. We’ve just got to make sure that we be consistent throughout the entire season.”
“It’s not going unnoticed,” sophomore safety Miguel Mitchell said on the veterans speaking at practice. “A lot of the leaders stepped up today, they pointed out, Teradja Mitchell and for example, Cam Jackson, they came up, brought the defense together, spoke on, this is not it, we need to step it up, keep building, let’s not go downhill, let’s go uphill.”
Napier is looking for a more consistent approach week in and week out.
“This game requires execution, it requires work, and 11 players working in synchronization,” Napier said on what he hasn’t seen in recent practices. “It’s an attention to detail game, and look, you got to erase the board completely. I mean you got to hit the reset button. You got to start over, it is a completely different entity. It is new personnel, new variables, different players available, and different competition. So each week is its own entity. And I think when we allow the past maybe to affect us, that’s not what we want. We want a certain consistency here, a culture of, you know, competition, and we can do better.”
It’s more than just creating a consistent practice environment for Billy Napier; it’s about creating a consistent culture.
“It’s not where we want it to be right now but I think we’re getting closer,” Napier said on the culture of the program. “I think it’s week-to-week. When you get into this time of year, it’s week-to-week. We’re a 2-1 football team. We played average, below average, played McNeese and played pretty good against Tennessee. Next. What’s next?”
Next is Charlotte led by Head Coach Biff Poggi. The 49ers are set to travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators in week four.