My biggest takeaways from Billy Napier’s intro as UF Head Coach – 247Sports

My biggest takeaways from Billy Napier’s intro as UF Head Coach – 247Sports

I’ve been through six of these introductory press conferences for the head coaching position at Florida, five in my current role as a reporter covering the Gators, and one as a staff member for the football program itself back when Ron Zook was hired to replace Steve Spurrier. They each have their own small things that are different, a few have some major things, and then there are a lot of things that are the same for all or almost all of them. Here are my biggest takeaways from Sunday’s introduction of Billy Napier as the newest head coach of the Florida football program.

He is deliberate

The man has plenty of coach-speak when he talks about not recruiting to stars and ‘we’re going to take our time and do it right’, whether that means taking on recruits or hiring assistant coaches. But I think that stuff is clearly coach-speak. It’s not that he and his staff are going to check the 247Sports database to select the players they want to recruit, but they are going to go after talented players that most of the time end up being the higher ranked players in the 247Sports recruiting database and better than we have seen recently. When he says stuff like that he is being deliberate, In case they get a player or two that aren’t rated very high with the recruiting services.

I say deliberate as well because he seems genuine and no rose-colored glasses about anything. For all of the ‘we’re going to do it this’ way because it has worked for him, he had a “there are going to be good days and bad days”.  Honesty up front will go a long way. He’s got some things to fix in Gainesville and that won’t happen overnight.

Napier and his staff will be organized and synced

I think the thing that was most noticeable about the press conference on Sunday was the fact that Napier is organized. I am sure this is one big reason he was able to convince the administration to pony up so much money for off-the-field staff and extras for the program. I’m not trying to say that UF Athletic Director Scott Stricklin is cheap, I don’t think he is. I do believe he realizes that it is going to cost some money in order to keep up with the Joneses in  the SEC. Napier was able to show the organizational skills to make Stricklin understand the massive amounts of changes that he would need in order to make things succeed. In his contract he procured $5 million for “other support staff members” which should allow him an army of extras that we haven’t seen around these parts.

In fact he talked a lot and was asked about how organized he is in every part of the program. He quickly broke down his eight phases of the calendar year for his program which were “foundation, identity, spring practice, discretionary period, summer regimen, training camp, in-season and postseason”.  He even makes sure they have times that they go extremely hard on the calendar followed directly by down time to recover. Both are necessities. He mentioned six phases to each recruiting cycle as well.

Not sold on him having so many responsibilities

I have to be honest and say that I couldn’t watch the ULL conference championship they played on Saturday and haven’t seen them play, but I really didn’t care for Napier saying he was going to call plays and be the quarterback coach, basically the HC, OC, and QB coach. We have certainly had success with that around here with Steve Spurrier and to a much lesser extent with Dan Mullen, but I have not heard Napier’s name mentioned with those in terms of offensive acumen. I actually assumed he would be a CEO type here like an Urban Meyer or like the guy that he tries to pattern things after in Nick Saban. But he seems to want to be able to control the outcome on the offensive side of the ball.

My biggest concern will be that if it isn’t working out, will he make a change?  I guess I am all for a guy with the confidence that Napier has in doing it. But what if it doesn’t work out? I will try and reserve judgment on that.

To that end, I did get the sense that he is a humble guy. I don’t think that this is hubris. I just believe he likely feels the most comfortable being in charge. It will also allow him an extra position coach since he will be the quarterback coach. He plans on having a second offensive line coach. That will be money well spent.

All of this leads to a plan

The organizational skills are for a reason. There is a plan for the program. It isn’t a one or two-year fix and try to get off to the NFL. He looked at what he would need at Florida in order to succeed in his eyes. He pushed the administration to get it before he arrived and then he got it. He didn’t go into specifics in recruiting but we know there will be a definite plan for that and there is nothing more needed than that right now.

It’s a fresh start. There may be parts of what we heard Sunday that weren’t pie in the sky like we get at these things. But that is part of the honesty and charm I think that Napier brings. And his organization skills should allow him to change any plan he has, especially when he has the program backing him like this one is now.