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Defensive Presser Notes: Florida Week

Defensive coordinator Blake Baker and select defensive players met with the media to recap the Georgia game and preview Florida.

NCAA Football: Georgia at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Faurot Was Rocking

The atmosphere at Faurot on Saturday night, with a little over 58,000 fans in attendance, was electric, and coaches and players alike took notice. The crowd made themselves heard.

“I wanna thank the fan base, the entire student section,” defensive coordinator Blake Baker said. The atmosphere was amazing. That was a big time atmosphere.”

“That was the loudest I’ve heard it since I’ve been here,” Jaylon Carlies echoed. “The team just fed into it, seeing the crowd behind us.”

Baker even went on to say that the unusually fast start for the defense was in large part thanks to the crowd. “Probably the atmosphere had something do with it, too. It’s hard not to start fast when you can feed off of that,” he said.

Former Gator Ty’Ron Hopper Taking Over

Florida transfer Ty’Ron Hopper leads the defense with 7.5 tackles for loss and has been a disruptive force all season long. Now, he returns to play the school he just left, and is focused on continuing his stellar play.

“It’s just another game, we’re just trying to win in the SEC,” Hopper said.

“As a playcaller, I’m figuring out what he’s most comfortable with, and our relationship is improving to where he can talk to me about what he wants,” Baker said. “A guy that can do as much as he can do, the challenge is finding a way to use all his skills. It makes it fun.”

Jaylon Carlies called him an ‘animal’, although he explained that Hopper is actually fairly quiet and humble in the locker room.

When asked to compare him with former star linebacker Nick Bolton, Darius Robinson said, “Hopper is probably a bit more athletic, while Bolton was really intellectual with how he plays… Both very, very good players, though.”

Tyrone Hopper gave some insider insight on how his cousin Ty’Ron got to this level. “It feels amazing to be able to be out there with my cousin and see him step up,” Tyrone said. “He’s worked hard to get where he’s at, I’m not surprised. Me and him put in a bunch of work this summer.”

The next Cam Newton?

Anthony Richardson has had an up-and-down 2022 campaign, throwing for 1,116 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions. However, he leads the Gators with 241 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns.

“He’s big and he’s fast,” Baker said. “Playing against him last year, he’s the closest thing to Cam Newton since he was at Auburn. I think they do a good job schematically getting him in good situations running the ball.”

“It’s another great quarterback that we have to face,” Carlies said. “Gotta contain and keep him in the pocket, keep everything in front of us.”

In terms of how to contain him, Robinson provided an analogy. “You can think about it like a well,” Robinson said. “You want to keep him inside of that well and mind your angling. Everybody has to run to the ball and get him to the ground.”

Ty’Ron Hopper has experience seeing Anthony Richardson on the practice field from his time as a Gator. “He’s a really good player, real atheltic and fast,” Ty’Ron said. “He has some wiggle to him; we’ll have to bring our A game.”

The Dawgs Were Stunned

Georgia’s offense had been prolific all season, but the Missouri defense challenged them on Saturday night.

“I don’t think UGA had played a defense like us yet,” Baker said. “The film didn’t lie; I thought we’d be the most physical team they played yet, and that was true.”

In the end, the Bulldogs did score on their final six drives.

“We were extremely physical all night long, didn’t execute as well as we had in the last couple games, but our effort was giving Georgia fits,” Baker said. “At the end of the day, we ran out of gas.”

Jaylon Carlies summed things up perfectly. “There are gonna be real close games that you don’t win, and there will be close games that you do win,” he said.

Quick Notes

“I think Norwood. And Marcus Clarke, he had a really good practice today. They’ll get the lions share of the load.” Blake Baker on who will take the snaps for the injured Kris Abrams-Draine

“Daylan is someone we’re toying with now with his position flexibility.” Blaker Baker on Dylan Carnell’s role with the defense

“Everybody from Florida on the team seems to be doing well, blessings that my family was safe.” Jaylon Carlies on the team’s Florida natives and how they’ve handled this past week with Hurricane Ian

“I thought I had known the words to Mr. Brightside, but clearly I didn't. I learned Saturday night.” Blake Baker on what he took away from the environment (the crowd screams the words to Mr. Brightside each game, but with 58k in attendance, it was probably easier to hear this time)

“You could tell that they do that every game, we were just the first ones that weren’t feeling it.” Darius Robinson on the pregame scuffle with the Bulldogs

Kristian Williams walked in with colorful sunglasses, a neon green sweatshirt, and a huge smile. That’s all you need to know about him.