Florida Football: Not everyone nationally is writing Billy Napier's obituary just yet

In the last week, several media members have expressed a glimmer of hope for the Gators in 2024

Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier gives fist bumps to fans during Gator Walk at Ben Hill
Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier gives fist bumps to fans during Gator Walk at Ben Hill / Doug Engle/Gainesville Sun / USA TODAY
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We here at Hail Florida Hail have been optimistically skeptical about the state of Florida Football heading into the 2024 season. After being sky high on Billy Napier at times, we have pointed out a handful of things that we feel could be handled better and have held the Gators back over the last couple of seasons.

But we also haven't thrown the towel in on Napier just yet, and while the national narrative seems to have given up on the Gators, there are a handful of national media members who envision a pathway for Florida to turn it around in 2024.

Florida Football: So You're Saying There's A Chance?

Last week we wrote "Five Reasons Why Billy Napier Will Still Be The Coach For Florida Football In 2025"

At the core of what we wrote, we acknowledge the flaws Florida has had the last two seasons but also highlighted that the Gators are closer to being a relevant team than many want to give credit for.

When we wrote the piece it felt like it was on an island surrounded by sharks of negativity waiting for Napier to put the wrong condiments on his hamburger to prove he doesn't have what it takes to succeed in Gainesville.

But in the week since we wrote the piece, three prominent members of the media, Josh Pate, Greg McElroy, and Jake Crain, all highlighted similar sentiments that while one shouldn't back up the Brinks truck on Florida winning the national title in 2024, one shouldn't rush to write his obituary in Gainesville just yet.

"A lot of folks have already sold Billy Napier and they've given up on him. I'm not there but everyone including him knows that it is a show me year."

Josh Pate on Late Kick With Josh Pate

"Maybe they pull off an upset there in the early part of the season against Miami. Maybe they beat UCF. Maybe they beat some teams in the SEC. I look at their schedule and there are some winnable games. I also look, too, they have Graham Mertz, who had a rock solid season last year.

I'm just saying, I'm not picking Florida to go to the SEC title game. I'm not picking Florida to go to the College Football Playoff. I'm not even picking Florida to be in the top-25. All I'm saying is that the roster is in much better shape when you dive into it than you might expect based on some of the outside noise. Just saying, don't sleep on the Gators."

Greg McElroy on Always College Football

"Am I going to come on here and say that everyone at Florida should be panicking right now and like 'Oh my God it's a natural disaster, it's Defcon One?' No. Am I going to come on here and say 'You know what it's going to be fine. No problem. They may have the best team in the country?' No.

The question is whether Billy Napier can use the narrative of no one believes in us, like we've seen Kirby Smart use...can Billy Napier tap into that and be able to use that to drive this Gator team?

But if they can stop with the stupid mistakes in big moments, Florida's going to have a chance to win some games people don't think they have a chance to win"

Jake Crain on Hightop Sports

Don't get it twisted, we have highlighted how this roster lacks depth in some key areas and we also highlighted how Florida's coaching staff is the third least experienced staff in the SEC in 2024.

But this roster has enough talent that it's not the Little Giants out there. Whether or not the moves actually work out, Napier made an effort to address perceived flaws within his coaching staff. The front seven games of Florida's schedule is filled with opponents their Gators will be coin flip underdogs at worst against.

If Napier can go 7-5 in 2024, he will return in 2025, warranted or not, and all those "Billy Napier has been fired" pieces will have to be put on hold for another season.

Next. Football. Graham Mertz is still undervalued . dark