RB Montrell Johnson Jr. explains how QB Anthony Richardson affects the running game
The Florida Gators pulled off an upset in Week 1, knocking out No. 7-ranked Utah at home 29-26. Strategist Anthony Richardson was dominant in the Gators’ win, rushing for 106 yards and three touchdowns. After the game, Florida running back Montrell Johnson Jr. explained Richardson’s effect on the running game.
“It affects the running game a lot because it takes a lot of pressure off me,” Johnson said. “With me faking the ball this way and Anthony the other way, the defense doesn’t know who has the ball so it affects the running game a lot.”
Johnson carried the ball 12 times for 75 yards and a touchdown in the win. In addition to Richardson’s 106 rushing yards, he also completed 17 of 24 passes for 168 yards.
“If a team has a guy like Anthony on their team, they’re in a great position to win the game,” Johnson said.
First-year Florida head coach Billy Napier was also pleased with his quarterback’s performance after the game.
“The thing with Anthony sitting in the locker room right now, he’s probably thinking about the six or eight games he could have done a little bit better,” Napier said. “That’s what I like about him. He is very critical of himself. He’s an incredible competitor. We all know the kid has talent, we’ve known that for a long time. What impressed me was his work ethic, his discipline, his attention to detail. He’s a great teammate. It’s a great example, isn’t it? He is selfless. This kid has long been in the spotlight. You might be worried it would affect him, but I think it made him a better person. Being from Gainesville, I think he realizes the platform and example he can give to our building and our community. This is his first start in the swamp and he will continue to improve and I am certainly grateful that we have him.
“I think I said to one of our guys during the game, can you believe they’re paying us to do this? That’s football, right? I think sometimes we get caught up in the event, but what is rewarding is when you know what happened in the event the preparation for the event. Countless hours on the books, off the books. Not just the players, the members staff. You can put the work into the show and it’s rewarding for the players. When they’re successful and they’re in the fight, there’s a lot of things about this game that are rewarding.
Florida is back at home in Week 2 against SEC foe and No. 20-ranked Kentucky. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. ET, and the Gators are currently a seven-point favorite.