Lack of experience on the Florida Football coaching staff leaves Gators on an island

The Gators have the 3rd least amount of Power Five and/or NFL coaching experience on its coaching staff

Nov 11, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier looks at the
Nov 11, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier looks at the / Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
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This offseason Florida Football has welcome four new on field assistants to their program. On paper, all four of the hires Billy Napier has made have upside and have success in their background.

But while individually each coach on Napier's staff has merit, it is the staff as a collective whole that raises eyebrows with it's collective lack of big time experience.

Florida Football: Island Boys

With the hiring of Jonathan DeCoster to be the co-offensive line coach, Florida has rounded out its on field coaching staff for 2024. DeCoester comes to Florida with high praise and spent last season with the Cleveland Browns.

But 2024 will also be just the second season DeCoster has spent as an on field coach at either the Power Five level or the NFL. By itself, this wouldn't raise eyebrows as everyone has to start somewhere at some point.

But eight of Napier's ten on field assistants for 2024 enter the season with five or fewer years of Power Five or NFL on field experience, and this puts Florida in a category that almost no other SEC team is in.

With 66 years of combined Power Five experience among Napier and his ten assistants, Florida enters 2024 with the third least amount of experience in the SEC, ahead of only Missouri and Vanderbilt.

The median experience for Florida's coaching staff is four years of Power Five coaching. That is also the third lowest in the SEC, ahead of Vanderbilt and Mississippi State.

There is a positive way and a negative way to look at Florida's relative lack of experience.

The positive is that Napier needs guys who are hungry for the opportunity to turn around a sinking ship. He doesn't need guys who will rest on the laurels and shrug o well if Napier gets fired because they know they will have another high level gig waiting for them on the other side. Plus experience and previous resumes don't automatically mean success as was shown with Corey Raymond.

And as mentioned, Will Harris, Gerald Chatman, Ron Roberts, and DeCoster all come to Gainesville with the potential all be really solid additions to Napier's staff.

But when the entire staff is filled with "rising stars," there are going to be growing pains along the way in a season where Napier can't afford to have growing pains. 2023 was the first Power Five season for Austin Armstrong, and while we generally like his style, Napier already felt that he was in need of a mentor for 2024.

And it's not like Florida's coaching staff is close enough in experience that we are just arguing over semantics. Florida's median Power Five experience of four years is more than one standard deviation away from 11 other SEC programs.

If 2024 goes well for Florida and the band stays together for 2025, we will look at this staff as proof that we need to let Napier trust his own instincts and just because he is doing things differently doesn't mean it is wrong.

If 2024 goes south, it will be a reminder of why experience still holds value over youthful vigor.