Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson shook his head as he read the stat sheet after a 48-35 loss to Florida State on Friday.
“I see nine completions and 27 attempts, that’s just crazy to see that it was only nice completions. That’s just crazy to me,” Richardson said.
When asked about a stretch of 11 passes that fell incomplete, Richardson took responsibility for the mistakes.
“That’s just us not connecting,” he said. “Winning matchups, we knew we were going to get one-on-one matchups in this game. We tried to attack them outside and they played pretty good defense and deflected most of the passes. But that’s just not winning matchups one-on-one and that’s something we talked about all week.”
Still, the disappointment on Richardson’s face was hard to miss. This was a game he wanted to win and was perhaps his last in the Orange in Blue.
“It’s an emotional game for everybody,” he said. “Last regular season game for us, a rivalry game at that, so it definitely meant a lot to a lot of people — the state of Florida in general. Just seeing how much it meant to people, it makes you want to go out there and play a little harder for them. But, you win some, you lose some. You just have to get better day by day.”
Richardson called the team a family, which is something they weren’t at the beginning of the season. The new staff has pushed to change the culture at Florida in year one, and Richardson clearly can feel the sense of camaraderie that’s developed over the season.
Head coach Billy Napier didn’t mince words when he was questioned about what many considered a shaky performance from Richardson.
“I think you have to evaluate each one of those plays individually,” Napier said. “I saw a guy that competed, that’s what I saw. I saw a guy that made some unbelievable plays as a runner, made some elite throws at times. So, when you play in a game like that, there’s going to be things you can do better. There’s no question. Even if you win the game, those same things that you can learn from, they happened. Regardless, there’s opportunity. Sometimes problems are opportunities in disguise. I’m proud of Anthony and the way he competed in the game.”
Richardson admitted that he was happy receiver Ricky Pearsall was able to play. Florida’s top two receivers, Justin Shorter and Xavier Henderson, weren’t available for this game, but Richardson maintained that the team would’ve been ready with whoever was available.
As far as the quarterback’s future at the Univerity of Florida, even Richardson isn’t sure what’s to come.
“I don’t know, we just have to get to the drawing board and find out why I’m 9-for-27,” Richardson said.
It seems like the door is open for Richardson to play in the bowl game and possibly return for another year at Florida, but only time will tell which decision he makes.
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