One of the themes for Florida football since Billy Napier took over as head coach is that the Gators are a process-oriented team trying to build a long-term foundation rather than take shortcuts for short-term success.
Appearing on the Gator Nation Podcast earlier this week, Napier reemphasized that no matter how murky things may look, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.
Florida Football: Putting the puzzle pieces together
During a 20-minute interview on the Gator Nation Podcast, Napier was asked questions in regard to his overall approach and strategy for Florida football.
As he built his narrative about the state of the program, he slipped in one quote that he and Athletic Director Scott Stricklin have been hinting at all offseason.
"“We’re gonna be successful here, it’s just a matter of how fast it’s going to happen”"
Translation: 2023 might not be a great season for the Florida Gators, but if you believe in the building blocks being put in place, there is an endgame to the struggle.
Throughout the podcast, Napier acknowledged the struggles Florida had during his first season, including being one of the worst teams in the country at third-down defense.
"“There’s a number of areas on our team where we know we sucked”"
He also pointed out that one of the areas they have adjusted to was early signing day in recruiting. During his time at Louisiana and during his time as an assistant at various Power 5 schools, early signing day didn’t have the impact it has for the Gators now. Last year, it felt like Florida was lagging behind in early recruiting.
This year Florida is set up to have a monster recruiting class. But to Napier’s point, the reward from that class won’t be felt for another year or two.
He also discussed his strategy on offense and how Florida would like to utilize “11 personnel” 60% of the time (Three WR, One RB, One TE) and “12 personnel” 40% of the time (Two WR, One RB, Two TE). That is in line with what he has been using, though his lack of high-quality TEs, between injuries and lackluster recruiting in this area, might force him to rethink that strategy.
You can find a link to the entire podcast below.