Billy Napier praises seniors following big win over South Carolina

Billy Napier praises seniors following big win over South Carolina

Billy Napier was quick to praise his seniors following Florida’s 38-6 win over South Carolina on Saturday, which also happened to be the group’s last home game in the Swamp.

“You can’t have a good football team unless you’ve got some maturity amongst your seniors, some presence, some ownership, some leadership,” Napier said. “We’ve got a handful of players in this group in particular that I think have been difference makers. It’s certainly good that we were able to make a positive memory for that group.”

Napier didn’t need a prompt to give credit to his seniors, but he was more than happy to open up about the group after reporters asked him to dive a little bit more into the topic. The first-year Florida coach understands that the seniors have been through a lot, and he couldn’t say enough about the way they handled the adversity.

“It’s hard on young people to go through change, and these guys they’ve had a rough run at it,” he said. “When you think about what they’ve been through, ups and downs, there’s been a lot of good things, but there’s also been some tough things. Any time you have change, the uncertainty that comes with that, they embrace the work. I can’t compliment that enough about this group of players and these seniors in particular. They work and they love to compete.”

Florida honored nearly 20 seniors on Saturday, but there’s one player that stood out from the pack. Those who have watched Florida football over the past few years know exactly what Ventrell Miller means to this team. His absence was felt all of last year and the defense looked lost without their leader in the one game he missed this season.

Napier took a moment to talk about Miller, both as a football player and a person.

“Ventrell Miller is as good of a human being that I’ve been around in my career. I can’t compliment him enough. His ability to affect the other players, his consistency as a person, there’s no wavering on his words, his actions, his care for other people. He’s an old soul, man. He has the ability to see the big picture and really care for other people. A very unique player and he’s a heck of a football player. He in particular is one that I’ll remember for sure.”

The seniors may have played their last game in the Swamp, but there’s still business to take care of over the next to weeks to ensure the group goes out with a bang. Defeating Vanderbilt and Florida State would set the team up for a decent bowl game, and that will be their last chance to wear the Orange and Blue.

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