‘Fundamentals’ main target of improvement for Florida during bye week

The Florida Gators are returning to full force this week as they prepare to face their biggest challenge of the season, the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs.

Head coach Billy Napier and Co. were studying up during the bye week and working out some extra aspects of their game. The second-year head coach said the topic of the week was Florida’s fundamentals.

“I thought huge emphasis on the fundamentals last week,” Napier said. “I thought we got good quality work, including Thursday, I thought it was a really good workday. Then, I just think in general we played seven games. There’s not only a physical break here but there’s a mental break as well.”

Junior quarterback Graham Mertz agreed with the sentiment and even took time to get a few one-on-one throwing sessions with senior wide receiver Ricky Pearsall.

“Anytime you get to this point in the season,” Mertz said. “You’ve got to really dive back into the fundamentals of what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, because you can lose that in the season, because it’s just constantly going. On my end, footwork, timing, understanding the holistic approach of playing quarterback. Everybody kind of dove into that in their position room.”

Pearsall said his main focus was getting rest and relaxation. The senior took time to get some extra sleep and did his best to take care of his body, all while spending his free time in the film room.

The Mertz-to-Pearsall connection has been a highlight for the Gators’ offense, creating 619 yards in the air and averaging over 14 yards a catch. Pearsall is averaging 88 yards a game in 2023.

Mertz, on the other hand, is proving he can be more than a dink-and-dunk quarterback and had a career performance against the Gamecocks, completing 30 passes for 423 yards and four touchdowns.

If the fundamentals improved over the BYE and the kinks are out of Graham Mertz’s system, who knows what kind of damage the Gators can do on Saturday in the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.

The Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs are set to kickoff in Jacksonville at 3:30 p.m. EDT. The matchup will be broadcast on CBS Sports.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire