What Florida football coach Billy Napier said following UF's second spring scrimmage

Florida football held its second spring scrimmage on Saturday at The Swamp.

It was the final tuneup for the Florida Gators before next week's Orange and Blue game, which will kick off at 1 p.m. on April 13 at Florida Field.

"The players played fast," Florida football coach Billy Napier said. "Ultimately, we're trying to create momentum. I think we're one week away from the Orange and Blue game and I think we've got a great weekend planned."

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Napier said determinations of each team will be made following next Thursday's practice with the goal of making Saturday's game as competitive as possible. Veteran players from each team will then draft coaches and staff.

"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,'" Napier said. "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."

Here's what Napier said stood out from Saturday's second scrimmage.

Florida football sophomore WR Eugene Wilson III 'ultra productive'

Napier said the defense got the better of the offense early in the scrimmage, but the offense responded with more plays in the second half. Sophomore wide receiver Eugene Wilson III was a catalyst for the offense.

"He was ultra productive today," Napier said. "He made a ton of plays out there."

Napier said Wilson has benefitted from a full offseason program. Last year, despite not enrolling at UF until the second summer session, Wilson was productive as a true freshman with 61 catches for 538 yads and 6 TDs.

"He was in Tampa going to the prom this time last year," Napier said. "Now he's been through a full offseason program. He knows what game day feels like and looks like. He's able to adjust his approach and I think he's a confident player. We're going to do everything we can do to get him the ball and allow him to affect our team and be productive as he has in the past.”

Tackling remains sound for Florida football defense

Napier said all facets of the defense fired early in the scrimmage — pass rush, tackling and forcing turnovers. But he's been particularly pleased at how well UF's defensive players have tackled this spring.

“The best we've tackled since we've been here," Napier said. "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.”

Two newcomers standing out for Florida football defense

Napier said two new incoming transfers — linebacker Grayson "Pup" Howard (South Carolina) and safety DJ Douglas (Tulane) — have stood out with their work ethic and ability to make plays on defense.

Howard, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound sophomore, had 19 tackles, 1 forced fumble and 1 tackle for loss for the Gamecocks last season.

"He's extremely bright," Napier said. "He's got character, he's smart, he can communicate, he's really done a nice job of picking up the system. At that position, you got to communicate, and you got to do that with confidence, and I think you got to be decisive. I think he's done a good job doing that."

Douglas. a 5-111, 212-pound redshirt senior had 54 tackles, three interceptions, two pass breakups and a tackle-for-loss at Tulane last season.

"What I appreciate about DJ is the consistency, we know what we’re going to get every day," Napier said. "He’s got great practice habits, he’s an effort player, he’s done a really good job of picking up the system."

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Florida football coach Billy Napier discusses second spring scrimmage