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STILL No Buzz?

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
With everyone here thus far still “in the doldrums”, down-in-the-dumps as seemingly all the question marks and few apparent “flashes of encouragement” currently on the horizon, for a more optimistic take on the Gators’ coming “transition year”, take a look at the recent “Gators Wire” article, “Take a look at 247Sports’ Florida football breakout candidates for 2022”.
Find it, read it—THEN we’ll talk.
Got ME looking at things a little differently.
Sure, there’s much that was already pretty “obvious”, but taken en masse, it begins to add up overall as strong “reason to BELIEVE”!
At the very least, to begin to get EXCITED about what’s POSSIBLE for our brand new, extensively revamped, restocked and reorganized Coach, staff and TEAM to accomplish in the months ahead, against a challenging SEC schedule.
I plead “Guilty!” to at least BEGINNING to write them off MYSELF before witnessing a DOWN of play!
Turns out they ALL may well deserve more than THAT.
But YOU read it, consider its merits, and get back to us here, OK?
 

Leakfan12

VIP Member
The Gators do have a chance at the SEC East. Who else is there besides Georgia? Really hoping for AR15 to start. Yes, Georgia will a tough challenge.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
The Gator program has too much uncertainty to start applying any buzz to immediate success in the 2022-2023 season. Heck, all the rules for predicting success in college football have changed (except for Alabama and Georgia) thanks to NIL. Several analysts at Gators Breakdown, Read and React, Swamp247, and On3 all seem to agree that 12 years of recruiting failures has put Napier in a hole talent-wise. They seem to agree that if we eliminate coaches who have won a national championship there are only five or so coaches (Lincoln Riley, Mario Cristobal, etc) who might be able to step up in this new era of football and rewrite the rules for success, and these assumptions are based on the old rules. We have no idea who will be "the next Urban Meyer", meaning, the next up-and-comer from outside any of the established coaching trees (as head coach) who brings new ideas, fresh energy, and a different perspective. Right now I can only think of two coaches who fit the bill of "new, fresh, and different" and those two are Billy Napier and Luke Fickell. The advantage that Napier has is that Florida has many more resources. Fickell's success will be predicated in his staff not being picked off by much larger programs, and his ability to steal victories from big teams. The disadvantage that Napier has is that he has to dig out of a 12-year hole dug by Zombie Urban Meyer, Offensively Inept Will Muschamp, Death Threat Lying Jim McElwain, and Lazy Dan Mullen. Before we continue bashing Mullen I want to say that he was an excellent offensive coordinator but a mediocre head coach and I truly enjoyed having him on the sidelines from August 2018 to November 2020.

Some things to be optimistic about:
- Napier's staff has been ranked as the best of the new staffs
- Napier has two RB coaches of the year (Jabbar Juluke 2019 and William Peagler 2021)
- Napier has some of the best on-field and off-field recruiters in the game
- Napier's on-field staff is a mix of coaches of from established SEC coaching trees, the NFL, and some outsiders. Oddly enough, the coach with the lowest potential on paper is the Florida alumnus and Gator Great, Mike Petersen!
 

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
The Gator program has too much uncertainty to start applying any buzz to immediate success in the 2022-2023 season. Heck, all the rules for predicting success in college football have changed (except for Alabama and Georgia) thanks to NIL. Several analysts at Gators Breakdown, Read and React, Swamp247, and On3 all seem to agree that 12 years of recruiting failures has put Napier in a hole talent-wise. They seem to agree that if we eliminate coaches who have won a national championship there are only five or so coaches (Lincoln Riley, Mario Cristobal, etc) who might be able to step up in this new era of football and rewrite the rules for success, and these assumptions are based on the old rules. We have no idea who will be "the next Urban Meyer", meaning, the next up-and-comer from outside any of the established coaching trees (as head coach) who brings new ideas, fresh energy, and a different perspective. Right now I can only think of two coaches who fit the bill of "new, fresh, and different" and those two are Billy Napier and Luke Fickell. The advantage that Napier has is that Florida has many more resources. Fickell's success will be predicated in his staff not being picked off by much larger programs, and his ability to steal victories from big teams. The disadvantage that Napier has is that he has to dig out of a 12-year hole dug by Zombie Urban Meyer, Offensively Inept Will Muschamp, Death Threat Lying Jim McElwain, and Lazy Dan Mullen. Before we continue bashing Mullen I want to say that he was an excellent offensive coordinator but a mediocre head coach and I truly enjoyed having him on the sidelines from August 2018 to November 2020.

Some things to be optimistic about:
- Napier's staff has been ranked as the best of the new staffs
- Napier has two RB coaches of the year (Jabbar Juluke 2019 and William Peagler 2021)
- Napier has some of the best on-field and off-field recruiters in the game
- Napier's on-field staff is a mix of coaches of from established SEC coaching trees, the NFL, and some outsiders. Oddly enough, the coach with the lowest potential on paper is the Florida alumnus and Gator Great, Mike Petersen!
Cannot argue with your (as usual) deep analysis, nor therefore fault either your assumptions OR conclusions.
I’m confident we’ll “be OK eventually”, if given time able to regather our resources—to meet, even exceed previous heights.
The big question is “WHEN??!”
Napier and this brand new, seemingly extensive “A-TEAM”-staff will probably have to pull off some dazzling surprises on the talent trail, then do some imaginative scheming (not to mention outstanding coaching) to have us necessarily arriving ahead of schedule at a level-of-excellence that has us competing with those already AT the top, along with the “hard-comers” SOON seemingly likewise to join that race.
Probably too much to expect that to happen “over night”;
Promising, if sometimes uneven SIGNS of “what’s coming” are possible perhaps (it’s been more in the way of tantalizing “near misses” so far—still, “hope springs eternal” nonetheless), but our ascendancy to playoff contention appears doubtful for 2022.
Hard work, a full “buy in” on the part of the TEAM, and some immediate dramatic headway with in-state recruiting NEXT year is assumed if we are to even BEGIN to “catch that wave” by 2023, I figure.
 

Escambia94

Aerospace Cubicle Engineer (ACE)
Moderator
First, expect some turmoil over the next ~200 days.

Roster Management. We currently have about 90 players on the team for 85 scholarship spots (assuming NCAA rescinds the temporary cap of 95 due to COVID). This is the highest number of scholarship athletes the Gators have dealt with since the NCAA established the 85 scholarship limit in 1987. Every other Gator coach has kept the roster between 75 and 86 players—even Mullen during the COVID years. Even if NCAA allows 95 scholarships for one more year, the roster is imbalanced right now with a shortage of receivers and linebackers and an overage of quarterbacks. No Gator coach has been elite at roster management since Urban Meyer, and he did not stay long enough to show long-term, elite roster management necessary for sustained, repeatable, planned success.

The Trenches. The Gators have not fielded a skilled, SEC-sized offensive and defensive line since the last Pouncey left in 2010. Napier has to compensate for 12 years of lackluster recruiting along the trenches, and to do so he will need to upset Gator fans and find these kids in Louisiana, Texas, and other points outside of Florida where the linemen are just bigger and better. It is no secret to college coaches that Florida high schools are not producing many large, skilled linemen. Napier has already grabbed two of the largest yet skilled linemen Florida has seen in a while. Previous Gator coaches were lucky to recruit one or two at a time. Napier still needs to upgrade half a dozen other offensive and defensive linemen positions with depth and that could take a few years.

Discipline. No Gator coach has been able to minimize penalties and on-field discipline since Urban Meyer. No Gator coach has been able to minimize both off-field and on-field discipline since Steve Spurrier.

These are the building blocks to success that do not get talked about because we as fans demand immediate albeit fleeting success. Both Spurrier and Meyer took over rosters with better rosters of balanced skill, adequate size to build from, and better disciplined athletes to coach. Note that none of these qualities goes into offensive scheme, defensive scheme, quality of coaching, etc. There is plenty of discussion on that, and quite frankly, the Gators have shown fleeting windows of success in those areas necessary to win the SEC East. In order to get to the next level of winning the SEC, Napier has to rebuild 12 years worth of lackluster work. How long should we give him before we demand we fire him? His situation is more dire than Meyer’s, so two years is unreasonable. Even if his situation is more dire than Spurrier’s, in today’s era of college football it is not likely that he gets 6-7 years to build a national championship team. Like Spurrier, Napier has to contend with at least two SEC powerhouses at their peak. Maybe we should be patient and give Napier a couple years to fix the little things so at the very least it will prevent another decade mediocrity for the next guy.
 

DRU2012

Super Moderator
Staff member
Super Moderator
(re Above)
...Yes—Coach is arriving at a kind of “slo-mo disaster”; good thing he’s clearly hitting the ground with legs pumping and full-on POSITIVE ATTITUDE!
He appears to have skills to back it up, and came in having made “opening up our wallet” and surrounding himself with high-quality help and plenty-OF-it a major priority.
It all bodes well, as do what few early results we’ve thus far caught glimpses of.
But you’ve made some points, noted somewhat “hidden details” that need to be taken into account and figured into our sense of realistic patience over the immediate “next 2 or 3 seasons”, I think.
Like you, I doubt he’ll be GIVEN the UPPER LIMIT in terms of time to build a “longterm winner”—but I think he came in understanding that.
I believe Coach Napier came in having realistically figured he could build enough excitement and progress in his first few seasons that would in turn BUY himself (and a strong, detail-oriented staff) enough time for them to eventually build a real powerhouse here.
There are REASONS he took THIS job; he has A PLAN—and I for one am excited and at present SATISFIED to mainly settle back, give him room and let him operate.
Not forever, but “for now”.
 
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