Billy Napier on dynamics of Year Two at Florida: ‘It’s personal’

On3 imageby:Nick Kosko05/03/23

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Billy Napier knows Year 2 has more pressure along with it compared to his first at Florida. But this time it’s “personal.”

Whatever Napier exactly means remains to be seen. But it’s clear the head coach took his first year with the Gators as a transitional period.

Now with more of his guys, a changing roster, despite a difficult SEC, Napier knows what it takes to go from Year 1 to Year 2 with success.

“Man, we just weren’t very good, you know,” Napier said. “We’re going to improve. Year one is a blender man. I mean there’s a lot that comes with it you know and certainly and the two new variables that were thrown into the mix and a transition year, I think contribute as well right? You gotta hire a group, you got to get to know a new group of players, new recruiting footprint, new investors, new leadership, you know, just a lot and certainly new competition. 

“I just really have got a lot of confidence in our approach. I think we’ve hired well, and I think we’re all going to get better and that starts with me, right? So you know, it’s personal, if that makes sense. It’s what we do, right? We teach, we coach. We evaluate, we recruit. You know, all those things are part of the job. But the most important part is the leadership component. And, you know, all these things start with me, and anybody that knows me will tell you that we’re gonna get it right.”

In Year 1 at Louisiana, Napier went 7-7 and improved to 11-3 in Year 2. So there’s proof of improvement and a solid trajectory to work off of in his career.

He went 40-12 at Louisiana and if a 6-7 season at Florida is any indication, perhaps eight wins could be a reasonable expectation. 

But a national championship program like Florida expects more. Napier must deliver, considering the circumstances.

After the spring game, Napier appeared pleased with Florida’s progress.

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“Lot of young players getting an opportunity to play,” Napier said. “New players, right. Overall, the defense made a lot harder. Certainly, you’ve got to be pleased with that given where we were as a team. Unbelievable experience and opportunity for this group. Great film to teach and learn from and looking forward to that opportunity on Monday.”