Anthony Richardson and the Gators plan to finish strong


The past three weeks have defined exactly what this season has been for the 2022 Florida Gators: a true tale of ups and downs. Just recently, it seemed as if the Gators were starting to play complete football on a consistent basis. That all changed last Saturday when Vanderbilt took down the Gators, making it the first time Florida has lost in Nashville since 1988.

Since then, Florida fans have seemingly lost hope that this football team has what it takes to win this Friday in Tallahassee, but this football team hasn’t lost any hope. 

The Gators have struggled with the same lingering issues all season, which have been corrected some games. This team knows what needs to be done in order to win this game, and the Gators plan on doing just that this Friday when Florida takes on Florida State. 

“A lot of people are disappointed, but it comes with the sport. You win some, you lose some,” Richardson said on the loss to Vanderbilt. “Even though we don’t want to lose, it happens if you’re not on top of your A-game. Momentum is always something that we try to work towards, always try to put something in our favor when it comes to momentum.”

Although the momentum has been lost, it doesn’t seem like that will be a factor in how well this team performs Friday night. 

“We try to win every game. So we’re not really focused on who we’re playing because that can really alter your mind, what you’re thinking about when it comes to the game plan and stuff like that. So we just try to focus on winning the game. When we win this one, it’s definitely going to build momentum for us,” Richardson said.

Despite big numbers throwing the ball, Anthony Richardson wasn’t the player we expected and needed him to be last weekend. 

There were multiple times where Richardson should have kept the ball instead of handing it in off in Saturday’s loss. Knowing when to keep the ball and when to give it off to Montrell Johnson or Trevor Etienne seems to be a big focus for Richardson this week. 

“I know there were times I could have pulled the ball and probably ran backwards into the end zone. I didn’t realize until after I handed the ball off,” Richardson said on option reads. “Especially when it comes to RPOs and reads and stuff like that, sometimes you can misjudge the way defenses play at you or the way you’re supposed to attack the defense. So I think there were times I could have done it, but it’s in the past now. Whenever there’s an opportunity for me to take the ball and run, I’ve just got to do it because I can potentially help the offense.” 

This team has come roaring back in many games this season but have fallen short almost every time. If the Gators have any chance of hanging with the Seminoles this Friday, they can’t start out flat in the first half. 

“It shows what we’re capable of doing when we actually want to go out there and attack the game how we’re supposed to. It’s just eye opening for us and just lets us know we’ve got to go harder every time,” Richardson said.

With the game being on a Friday for the first time ever, Richardson and this team don’t seem to think ramping up the weekly schedule will have any negative impact on the Gators.

“It’s not really a distraction for us,” Richardson said on the game being on a Friday. “It’s just a quicker turnaround for us. We have the same game prep, schedule. It’s just bumped up a little bit. So nothing has really changed for us.”

Anthony Richardson is someone who’s grown tremendously this season when it comes to dealing with pressure, which could come into play for the Gators this weekend. 

“The only time we do have pressure is when you put it on yourself,” Richardson said. “If you worry about what everybody else is thinking about you and what they want you to do, that can make things harder for you. Just staying true to yourself and understanding who you are and what you are, it just makes it easier for the pressure to go away.”

“Just thinking hard about that and understanding where I kind of veered off from that, it kind of made me understand how much pressure I was putting on myself. That was one thing.”

To say the least, It’s been a rough first season for Billy Napier. There have been really good games, and there have been really bad ones. Yes, things may not be going the way Florida fans expected this year, but Anthony Richardson only sees this program moving in a positive direction under Billy Napier. 

“Coach Nape has a great plan, a great scheme. He’s a great coach,” Richardson said on Napier. “I don’t have any negative judgments towards him. Just knowing him for the past year and what he’s capable of doing, I trust him fully.”

“I don’t blame the fans and the supporters for the way they feel because the University of Florida once was a great program football-wise, even academically. So they’re holding us to a higher standard, so we’ve got to hold ourselves to that standard as well. With Coach Napier, I feel like everything will get back on course.”

With two more games left to play in the 2022 football season for the Florida Gators, it’s incredibly important that this football team enters 2023 with huge momentum after the way this season has gone.

Getting a win over a ranked FSU team and winning a bowl game would be huge for this program in every aspect. 

This Friday, the Gators will have one final shot to put a happy ending on what’s been a gloomy season for Florida. If Anthony Richardson goes back to his old self and runs the football, with the defense playing complete football, Gators fans just might get their wish. 


Gentry Hawk
Gentry Hawk is a student at the University of Florida studying sports journalism. He is a writer and reporter for GatorCountry. You can find most of his work on Twitter @gentryhawkgc, or right here on Gator country.