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Billy Napier Named 28th Head Coach of the Florida Gators

DRU2012

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It is official!
Geez!!!
I finally give in and doze off, fall asleep for a while on a Sunday late-aft and THATS when they finally decide to PULL THE TRIGGER ON THIS???!!!
Not that keeping ME “in the loop” is or was a major consideration here.
Well, here’s HOPING this turns out to be the clear “Slam Dunk” Choice we needed to get ourselves back on track:
As it turns out, there are certainly ample opportunities dead ahead for us to begin to see how true that is!
So here we GO.
Rather than begin with warnings or worries, I will instead simply wish for, HOPE for THE BEST.
Welcome, young Mr. Napier, to the UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA!
May you love it as we do,
“Live Long and PROSPER Here!”, and lead us to new heights here and NOW in THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY!!
GO GATORS!!!
 

Leakfan12

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Could be a good hire. I see he was a quarterback at Furman. He did great work with Louisiana and Levi Lewis. Hope he can do the same for AR. I hope he can recruit Florida.
 

DRU2012

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Could be a good hire. I see he was a quarterback at Furman. He did great work with Louisiana and Levi Lewis. Hope he can do the same for AR. I hope he can recruit Florida.
If “yes!” to your points above, Lf, he WILL be “the guy we were looking for”.
I think he’ll almost certainly want and be able to keep AR here, and I suspect Anthony will THRIVE under him—especially as he gathers more outstanding weapons to surround him, along with protective “big uglies” AND the components of a defense that will make sure a “typically high-flying Florida Offense”s output will hold up...
In other words, I anticipate this Coach stressing recruiting in the very way Mullen so clearly did NOT. That hallmark of his many apparent strengths shown so far elsewhere is one of the main reasons I think he was chosen—to the exclusion of just about anyone ELSE: When a practically “untouchable” Bob Stoops is the only other candidate even considered, you gotta believe such a fresh, fast-rising guy must be just COVERED in perceived “upside” among the “movers and shakers upstairs” that guys like Stricklin, Spurrier and the rest move among...
At this point, we sure are COUNTING on it!
 

DRU2012

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I just spent several hours researching what details I could of Billy Napier’s background, specifically as it applies to his time climbing the ladder that has brought him now to us.
All that, after having “put out feelers” among everyone I know who has personal experience and/or professional dealings with him or those he has worked with or among during those years... “feelers” (begun a coupla days back) that are just now yielding what I can only describe thus far as “enthusiastic responses”.
All in all, it would seem we got ourselves a GOOD ONE:
“Community”, “process”, “hard work” and “attention to DETAIL” are words that repeatedly come up in these first impressions.
That, plus my own poking points positively to the likelihood that with the hard work I think we can expect, plus patience from BOTH he and us, this man just might get things turned around and our house in order in a steady-handed, reasonable time frame...and then, the rest of the SEC, UGA/Bama included, will sooner or later just have to make way once more for a resurgent University of Florida.
Now, the cupboard isn’t “bare”, but there ARE enough “patchy spots” here to indicate it WON’T likely be any over night, “miracle” turn-around.
But let’s give the man a chance. We could just be rewarded with LONG TERM success.
 

Escambia94

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Here is my summary of the Billy Napier hire:

Overall: A-. Napier has a good coaching pedigree, and he has taken the steps to humble himself and learn from the best in the game. He certainly focuses on offense, but he has been running his program more like a CEO and less like an OC-turned-HC. He has a vision, and he has patience. There are some doubts because he is coming from the Sun Belt, but he did graduate from Nick Saban's school of coaching. He took a losing team and has them in position for another Sun Belt championship. His team record: #20 11-1 (8-0) in 2021 (conference championship this weekend), #16 10-1 (7-1, Sun Belt co-champion, First Responder Bowl champion) in 2020, 11-3 (7-1, Lending Tree bowl champion) in 2019, 7-7 (5-3) in 2018. Other than his transition year he took his team to 10 wins and a conference championship game each year. His predecessor, Mark Hudspeth, averaged 9 wins 2011-2014 (before vacating 22 of those wins) and 5 wins from 2015-2017.

Offense: A-. Napier is an offense-minded coach who has been an OC at Clemson, a WRC/analyst at Alabama, and a college QB at Furman. He currently has a bunch of 3-star athletes in the Sun Belt as the #63 offense in the nation (12 spots ahead of FSU) and he appears to be averaging around #63 over the past three years. Against his peers in the G5 he has the #20 offense, or #2 in the conference.

Defense: A-. Napier somehow manages to build a top-50 defense full of 3-star athletes year-over-year, which is currently at #41, six spots above Florida. Against his peers in the G5 he has the #11 defense behind San Diego State, Liberty, App State, Coastal Carolina, Western Michigan, Troy, UTEP, Fresno State, Tolendo, UTSA, or #2 in the conference.

Recruiting: A-. Napier's recruiting classes rank around #60 in the nation, or #4-#6 among G5 teams.
 

DRU2012

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Here is my summary of the Billy Napier hire:

Overall: A-. Napier has a good coaching pedigree, and he has taken the steps to humble himself and learn from the best in the game. He certainly focuses on offense, but he has been running his program more like a CEO and less like an OC-turned-HC. He has a vision, and he has patience. There are some doubts because he is coming from the Sun Belt, but he did graduate from Nick Saban's school of coaching. He took a losing team and has them in position for another Sun Belt championship. His team record: #20 11-1 (8-0) in 2021 (conference championship this weekend), #16 10-1 (7-1, Sun Belt co-champion, First Responder Bowl champion) in 2020, 11-3 (7-1, Lending Tree bowl champion) in 2019, 7-7 (5-3) in 2018. Other than his transition year he took his team to 10 wins and a conference championship game each year. His predecessor, Mark Hudspeth, averaged 9 wins 2011-2014 (before vacating 22 of those wins) and 5 wins from 2015-2017.

Offense: A-. Napier is an offense-minded coach who has been an OC at Clemson, a WRC/analyst at Alabama, and a college QB at Furman. He currently has a bunch of 3-star athletes in the Sun Belt as the #63 offense in the nation (12 spots ahead of FSU) and he appears to be averaging around #63 over the past three years. Against his peers in the G5 he has the #20 offense, or #2 in the conference.

Defense: A-. Napier somehow manages to build a top-50 defense full of 3-star athletes year-over-year, which is currently at #41, six spots above Florida. Against his peers in the G5 he has the #11 defense behind San Diego State, Liberty, App State, Coastal Carolina, Western Michigan, Troy, UTEP, Fresno State, Tolendo, UTSA, or #2 in the conference.

Recruiting: A-. Napier's recruiting classes rank around #60 in the nation, or #4-#6 among G5 teams.helpful in and the yûyyy guy uhû
Well, gotta note that far as I can tell, he HASN’T been recruiting OR coaching with any real advantage of “reputation”, historical OR financial far as I can tell at any of those PREVIOUS spots.
Whatever advances he has managed at each stop, it has definitely seemed honest and organic: SELF- and/or personally-created and seized upon to build on HIMSELF!
Overall, a solid and consistent “A-“ from you ACROSS-THE-BOARD, E—!
I feel like it’s a pretty DAMNED clear ratification:
Given our situation and various choices here at the moment, we pretty well don’t HAVE a lot of choices...!
“Welcome to the Florida Gators, Billy Napier! It won’t be the DANGERS AND DOWNERS that will shape your time here, but ‘CHAMPIONSHIPS’ yet-to-be-WON!!!”
 
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Escambia94

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Before I looked at Napier’s stats relative to other G5 teams I had him graded at C+ to B-. It is true that nothing jumps out when looking at raw numbers. Being ranked at #60 on offense and defense is not impressive until you realize that even among the other G5 schools, Louisiana is on the smaller end. In the Sun Belt, Louisiana is #6 in endowment and #7 in enrollment, but is #2 in offense and defense. Among all G5 schools Louisiana is about #62 in endowment and enrollment, but is #20 in offense and #4-#6 in defense. Among all P5 and G5 schools (130 schools total), Louisiana is about #85 in enrollment and endowment, but is #60 in recruiting, #43 in defense, and #63 in offense. Moreover, he improved all those rankings by about 15-20 spots over his predecessor.

He definitely had Louisiana punching above its weight in the Sun Belt, among G5 schools, and among all FBS schools.
 

Escambia94

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Here is some speculation on Napier's staff, assuming he can negotiate these coaches out of their current contracts. Note that NCAA teams are allowed to have one head coach and ten assistants with two graduate assistants in terms of on-field coaches.

Edit: Napier will be the OC. Offensive Coordinator - Tom Herman (Chicago Bears, offensive analyst; Texas head coach 2017-2020; Houston head coach 2015-2016; offensive coordinator at Ohio State 2012-2014, Iowa State 2009-2011, Rice 2007-2008, Texas State 2005-2006; WR coach at Sam Houston State 2001-2004; grad assistant at Texas 1999-2000). Broyles Award 2014 at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

Offensive Line Coach - Brent Key (Georgia Tech). Worked with Napier at Alabama.
Offensive Line Coach - Rob Sale (New York Giants). Worked with Napier at Louisiana.

Wide Receivers Coach - Tim Leger (Louisiana). Works at Louisiana with Napier as co-OC and WR coach.
Wide Receivers Coach - Justin Stepp (South Carolina). Worked with Napier at Clemson.

Quarterbacks Coach - Willy Korn (Coastal Carolina OC/ QB Coach). Worked with Napier at Clemson.

Edit: Jabbar Juluke will be the Running Backs Coach. Running Backs Coach - Marquel Blackwell (Houston RB Coach).
Running Backs Coach - Desmond Kitchings (Atlanta Falcons RB Coach; South Carolina RB Coach 2020; NC State Co-OC/ RB Coach 2012-2018; multiple positions dating to 2004-20007 at Furman).

Edit: Tim Brewster not retained. Tight Ends Coach - Tim Brewster (Florida TE Coach).
Tight Ends Coach - Michael Desormeaux (Louisiana).

Defensive Coordinator - Doug Belk (Houston DC). One of my top two choices to replace Grantham if Mullen had stayed. His defensive havoc rate is second only to Geoff Collins'. His 4-2-5/cover-3 pattern match defense should be a good fit for Florida. At first glance the defense may look similar to Grantham's, so be sure to watch where he launches his blitzes. If the blitzes are launched from the line of scrimmage, that is good. If the blitz or pressure is launched from the secondary, then be worried.

Edit: Knowles is off the table. Defensive Coordinator - Jim Knowles (Oklahoma State DC; Duke DC/ LB/S Coach 2010-2017; multiple positions dating back to 1988 at Cornell).

Defensive Line Coach - Tosh Lupoi (Jacksonville Jaguars DL Coach). Friends with Napier from their time at Alabama.
Defensive Line Coach - Charlie Patridge (Pitt Assistant Head Coach/ DL Coach).

Linebackers Coach - Kevin Steele (Interim Tennessee Head Coach 2021; interim Auburn Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator 2020; Auburn DC 2016-2020; LSU DC/ LB Coach 2015; Alabama LB coach 2014; Alabama Director of Personnel 2013; Clemson DC/ LB Coach 2009-2011; multiple jobs dating to 1980).

Outside Linebackers Coach - Chris Rumph (Chicago Bears DL Coach 2021; Houston OLBC 2020; Tennessee Co-DC/ OLBC 2018-2019; Florida Co-DC/ OLBC 2015-2017; multiple positions dating to 1997 at South Carolina).

Defensive Backs - Patrick Toney (Louisiana). Works with Napier currently.
Cornerbacks Coach - Rod Chance (Oregon).
 
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Escambia94

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Fun fact: Billy Napier's wife, the former Allison Marie Gunn, went to Gainesville High School...Georgia. I just wanted to throw that out there when folks see that she is from Gainesville that they mean the one in Georgia. Together they share three kids: Sammy Nelson Napier, Annie Napier, and Charlie Napier.
 

DRU2012

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Here is some speculation on Napier's staff, assuming he can negotiate these coaches out of their current contracts. Note that NCAA teams are allowed to have one head coach and ten assistants with two graduate assistants in terms of on-field coaches.

Offensive Coordinator - Tom Herman (Chicago Bears, offensive analyst; Texas head coach 2017-2020; Houston head coach 2015-2016; offensive coordinator at Ohio State 2012-2014, Iowa State 2009-2011, Rice 2007-2008, Texas State 2005-2006; WR coach at Sam Houston State 2001-2004; grad assistant at Texas 1999-2000). Broyles Award 2014 at Ohio State under Urban Meyer.

Offensive Line Coach - Brent Key (Georgia Tech). Worked with Napier at Alabama.
Offensive Line Coach - Rob Sale (New York Giants). Worked with Napier at Louisiana.

Wide Receivers Coach - Tim Leger (Louisiana). Works at Louisiana with Napier as co-OC and WR coach.
Wide Receivers Coach - Justin Stepp (South Carolina). Worked with Napier at Clemson.

Quarterbacks Coach - Willy Korn (Coastal Carolina OC/ QB Coach). Worked with Napier at Clemson.

Running Backs Coach - Marquel Blackwell (Houston RB Coach).
Running Backs Coach - Desmond Kitchings (Atlanta Falcons RB Coach; South Carolina RB Coach 2020; NC State Co-OC/ RB Coach 2012-2018; multiple positions dating to 2004-20007 at Furman).

Tight Ends Coach - Tim Brewster (Florida TE Coach).
Tight Ends Coach - Michael Desormeaux (Louisiana).

Defensive Coordinator - Doug Belk (Houston DC). One of my top two choices to replace Grantham if Mullen had stayed. His defensive havoc rate is second only to Geoff Collins'. His 4-2-5/cover-3 pattern match defense should be a good fit for Florida. At first glance the defense may look similar to Grantham's, so be sure to watch where he launches his blitzes. If the blitzes are launched from the line of scrimmage, that is good. If the blitz or pressure is launched from the secondary, then be worried.

Defensive Coordinator - Kim Knowles (Oklahoma State DC; Duke DC/ LB/S Coach 2010-2017; multiple positions dating back to 1988 at Cornell).

Defensive Line Coach - Tosh Lupoi (Jacksonville Jaguars DL Coach). Friends with Napier from their time at Alabama.
Defensive Line Coach - Charlie Patridge (Pitt Assistant Head Coach/ DL Coach).

Linebackers Coach - Kevin Steele (Interim Tennessee Head Coach 2021; interim Auburn Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator 2020; Auburn DC 2016-2020; LSU DC/ LB Coach 2015; Alabama LB coach 2014; Alabama Director of Personnel 2013; Clemson DC/ LB Coach 2009-2011; multiple jobs dating to 1980).

Outside Linebackers Coach - Chris Rumph (Chicago Bears DL Coach 2021; Houston OLBC 2020; Tennessee Co-DC/ OLBC 2018-2019; Florida Co-DC/ OLBC 2015-2017; multiple positions dating to 1997 at South Carolina).

Defensive Backs - Patrick Toney (Louisiana). Works with Napier currently.
Cornerbacks Coach - Rod Chance (Oregon).
That’s an impressive selection to rely on, among it DEFINITELY a foundation upon which to build his and OUR future here.
Thanks for all that, E—:
The more we hear, the better this move looks—and the more hope I begin to have regarding that “future”.
 

DRU2012

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Herman would be a good OC
That one jumped out at me as well...Texas kept “jumping the gun” on their hires AND (subsequent) fires, to some extent IMO...But regardless of whether Herman was ready for the jump up from Houston to UT(Austin), the one thing he was strong on before, during and after remains OFFENSE (AND he’s a long time Napier friend, turns out).
He has the background, and he and Napier work well together, so that could be an ideal choice, should it come to pass.
 

DRU2012

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Clearly, along with upgrading our whole APPROACH to recruiting, there will HAVE to be a general striving (finally, once more) towards BALANCE on BOTH sides of the ball!
We have been struggling it seems on one squad or the other now for year after YEAR since Meyer’s last (strange Addazio-dominated) season here...and in the seasons since have had reason to bemoan our lacking first on offense, then more recently on defense—until they BOTH descended into choppy inconsistency as THIS season went on.
Yes, Mullen was an “unenthusiastic recruiter”, but I’m not so sure the coaching crew he’d gathered and relied on here were (or would have become) likely to find dramatic success WITH more talented or “higher-ranked” incoming classes. Oh, it would have probably HELPED—but there was more wrong, lacking somehow “underneath”, I fear.
The way things “collapsed from within” so quickly in the course of less-than-a-season would seem to have shown that.
I’m STILL trying to “catch UP” with all that: How many of us saw all THIS coming as we entered the season?
But maybe we just missed the early signs: From some strange performances from MULLEN himself early LAST year (remember the Mizzou game, our Coach’s postgame onfield “fighting freak out”, then the “Darth Vader press conference”, for eg), then that weird “downturn” in last season’s LSU loss and everything that came after THAT, well, we TOLD ourselves it’d be OK, but it was only our actually WINNING the first coupla games (against “warm up” patsies), then coming back to “make it close and respectable” in a loss to Bama that still had us in the Top 10 at that point—and then came “REALITY”...Our season was pretty well “in the toilet” by early October!
Sorry to rehash all that, but it is relevant here:
There is a lot of work ahead—more than simply “a couple of good recruiting years” alone will solve. We’ll NEED that—AND we’ll need a tight, energized and determined young Coaching staff that will hang together, roll up their sleeves and go to work—HARD, and for the LONG haul.
No more “patch and hope it holds”! “Build and EVOLVE” is more like it.
 

Escambia94

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I know that bashing Mullen is fun, but when he was hired in 2018 among other things were looking for stability. Muschamp and McElwain both had high turnover with coaches that hindered progress. Mullen also had the perspective from his time under Meyer when the team fell apart as players and coaches alike were in-fighting, so he kept coaches he was familiar with. They were all friends who got along until some point. There are reports that Hevesy and Grantham were having marital problems, and those home problems affected their work performance so much that it got them fired—and they both should have been fired a year earlier.

In 2018 I think Mullen fixed all of the problems with the Gator football program except recruiting, but the in-fighting popped up in 2020 for some reason and he never recovered. In 2021 Napier’s job will be easier because of Mullen as long as he fixes recruiting (the one part where Mullen failed) and as long as he does not get worn out by in-fighting like Meyer (in addition to health issues) and Mullen.

Note that there is no guarantee that Napier will hire all of these coaches—this is speculation based on rumor. If most of these guys sign on it will mean the coaching salary pool has increased from about $6M for 10 coaches to something much higher. Some of these potential hires can command $2M to $4M on someone else’s staff of nobodies.
 

DRU2012

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I know that bashing Mullen is fun, but when he was hired in 2018 among other things were looking for stability. Muschamp and McElwain both had high turnover with coaches that hindered progress. Mullen also had the perspective from his time under Meyer when the team fell apart as players and coaches alike were in-fighting, so he kept coaches he was familiar with. They were all friends who got along until some point. There are reports that Hevesy and Grantham were having marital problems, and those home problems affected their work performance so much that it got them fired—and they both should have been fired a year earlier.

In 2018 I think Mullen fixed all of the problems with the Gator football program except recruiting, but the in-fighting popped up in 2020 for some reason and he never recovered. In 2021 Napier’s job will be easier because of Mullen as long as he fixes recruiting (the one part where Mullen failed) and as long as he does not get worn out by in-fighting like Meyer (in addition to health issues) and Mullen.

Note that there is no guarantee that Napier will hire all of these coaches—this is speculation based on rumor. If most of these guys sign on it will mean the coaching salary pool has increased from about $6M for 10 coaches to something much higher. Some of these potential hires can command $2M to $4M on someone else’s staff of nobodies.
Please don’t get me wrong; I was as much a Mullen-supporter as anyone here, and do NOT want to come off now as among his “told-you-so detractors”! I agree about believing in him right up to and INTO the 2021 season, though I voiced my concerns (and the potential DANGERS) with retaining Grantham after last season...It indeed came back to BITE him AND us, “in SPADES” as they say, but I am more “disappointed” with our having to part ways with Coach Mullen than especially angry about it.
I had no idea about things like “background marital problems” among some of our top Coaches (and I KNOW how that sort of thing in particular can affect overall performance AND the “vibe” around all facets of a team’s sense of balance and mutual trust), but that is exactly WHY Coaches must somehow keep their personal lives’ personal “problems” isolated, AWAY from it affecting their feelings and ongoing performance somehow—or be ready to remove THEMSELVES from direct ongoing contact in an honest and forthright fashion—for the sake of their Coach and TEAM!
That’s a tough road, process and point-of-decision, if and when it comes to it, though.
“Easier said than DONE”, obviously.
Beyond all that, and in reference to your OTHER points E—, you YOURSELF warned that “an increased budget for, among other things, a higher paid staff of ASSISTANT Coaches” was in order coming IN for “WHOMEVER our next Coach” would be; I just assume that this was part of the package Stricklin was authorized and determined to acknowledge and make a part of that “NEXT Coach’s promised deal”. There is no point in, and frankly NO WAY TO FORGE FUTURE SUCCESS here now WITHOUT it.
I’ve gotta ASSUME it WILL come to pass. “HALF-measures” just won’t cut it here now!
In fact, all this gives perhaps new meaning, or at least reinforces that line I mentioned not quite grasping, the one coined by AR and has been thrown around out there ever SINCE:
“SCARED money don’t MAKE money!”
So maybe it’s just “SMART money” we’ll need to throw around now...
 
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