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Florida soccer: Coach Billy Napier discusses Jalen Kitna, different QBs, Las Vegas Bowl – Gatorsports.com

Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier waves at the crowd during Gator Walk before Florida takes on Georgia at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, FL on Saturday, October 29, 2022. [Alan Youngblood/Gainesville Sun]

Florida soccer coach Billy Napier stated he had no data of the investigation into backup quarterback Jalen Kitna till the morning of his arrest and known as it a “unhappy, tragic occasion” for all concerned.

Kitna, 19, was kicked off the group final Friday after being arrested on five felony counts of possession and distribution of child pornography.

“It’s a tragic, tragic occasion for all of the folks concerned right here,” Napier stated. “I feel actually attempting to assist all of the folks concerned. Clearly Jalen goes to have to maneuver ahead. However it’s a problem, and it’s one which I recognize our management.

“Actually, we’ve performed every thing we are able to do to assist our gamers and employees. However as you stated right here, there’s some issues that include that. We’re turning the web page and transferring ahead.”

Florida QB Jack Miller set to make first begin

Florida is transferring ahead with out Kitna and beginning quarterback Anthony Richardson, who declared for the NFL Draft on Monday. That leaves Jack Miller, a switch from Ohio State, to make his first profession begin at quarterback when the Gators face Oregon State on the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17 (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Behind Miller might be walk-on sophomore quarterback Kyle Engel and true freshman quarterback Max Brown.

Who’s Jack Miller?Florida football: Five things to know about probable starting quarterback Jack Miller

Switch portal:Florida football transfer tracker: Gervon Dexter headed to NFL Draft, Jalen Lee in portal

Miller missed the primary half of the season with a damaged thumb and was moved down from second to 3rd on the depth chart when he returned in late October.

“He has been taking part in follow for plenty of weeks,” Napier stated. “He’s completely wholesome. You’ve acquired to recollect, Jack joined us again within the springtime, proper? So, he went by means of spring follow and summer time and nearly all of coaching camp because the No. 2. And he was the No. 2 for slightly bit early within the yr.”

Napier stated Miller has been touring with the Gators and collaborating in movie classes.

“Clearly the quantity of labor might be slightly bit totally different for him,” Napier stated. “That’ll be the most important problem.”

Sufficient numbers to bowl

As for the remainder of the group, Napier stated not one of the 17 gamers at the moment within the switch portal will participate within the recreation. Additionally lacking might be defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr., who additionally has declared for the NFL Draft. Florida started the primary of 13 practices to arrange for the Vegas Bowl this week.

“There will be a number of positions the place there’s some challenges when it comes to follow and scout groups and people kinds of issues,” Napier stated. “However every group has acquired a stable group of gamers. We’ll be able to go.” 

Napier stated it presents alternatives for youthful gamers on the roster to steer and cited linebacker Derek Wingo for example.

“Derek Wingo addressed the group after follow (Thursday),” Napier stated. “He did an exceptional job. We’ve acquired a handful of gamers like that that perhaps performed for the primary time of their profession this season which are returning and I feel there’s a possibility to construct some momentum right here. We’re in yr one. There’s large alternative that comes with taking part in a extremely good Oregon State group in an early bowl recreation in Vegas.”

OL O’Cyrus Torrence, LB Ventrell Miller not taking part in

Florida might be down one among its prime offensive and defensive gamers as offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence and linebacker Ventrell Miller each will skip the Las Vegas Bowl to arrange for the Senior Bowl and NFL Draft.

Torrence was one of many highest graded offensive linemen within the nation, per Professional Soccer Focus, and was named to the AP All-SEC group as a first-team, proper guard on Thursday.

“Very comprehensible and a man that, you understand, did an exceptional job for us this yr,” Napier stated.

Miller ranked third on the Gators in tackles with 74 with two compelled fumbles, one fumble restoration and 7 quarterback hurries whereas taking part in by means of a foot damage suffered within the second week of the season in opposition to Kentucky.

“He’s the perfect Gator I’ve been round, and definitely understanding of the place he’s at in his profession and what he’s centered on,” Napier stated.

Extra depth at WR

Napier stated Florida can have extra depth at vast receiver within the bowl recreation after being down 5 scholarship wideouts in opposition to rival Florida State to shut the common season. Beginning receiver Xzavier Henderson returned to follow this week, together with Ja’Quavion Fraziars and Thai Chiaokhiao-Bowman. Napier is hopeful that receiver Marcus Burke might be again as properly.

“That group is rather a lot more healthy than the final time we performed,” Napier stated. “It’s good to see these guys again and a smile on their face, transferring round and taking part in follow.” 

QB Anthony Richardson’s resolution

Napier stated he understood quarterback Anthony Richardson’s decision to declare for the NFL Draft. Richardson will not play within the bowl recreation.

“Anthony sees a possibility,” Napier stated. “He’ll work extraordinarily onerous to solidify his place within the draft and, you understand, [he] did rather a lot for the Gators, man. You realize, and definitely pleased with him as an individual and the way in which he went about his enterprise and represented this place.”

Richardson had some rising pains early within the season however began all 12 video games for the Gators and improved because the season progressed, ending the yr with 2,549 yards passing, 17 TDs and 9 interceptions together with 654 yards speeding and 9 speeding TDs.

“Made a ton of progress,” Napier stated. “You realize, simply, most significantly I feel as an individual, consolation with the function, you understand, the management facet. And definitely, I assumed [he] made loads of progress on the subject of soccer intelligence and defensive construction, protections.”

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