Panic attack

We’ve seen plenty of athletic director angst driving the rush to replace underachieving head coaches in time to be ready for national signing day, and it’s had an impact in certain places with recruits changing their minds in the wake of their schools changing coaches.

At Florida, though, it kind of feels like the opposite.

One of those new coaches – Florida’s Billy Napier – says he’s going to take a cautious approach this week while looking toward February.

“The reality is you’re getting in the game and there’s like three minutes left in the fourth quarter,” Napier said during his introductory news conference. “I think the last thing we need to do here is make some mistakes. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t sign many at all, to be honest with you.”

… Players aren’t the only ones facing major decisions. Coaches also must learn more about the prospects they inherited, which explains Napier’s approach toward the early signing period.

“For me, I think it’s important in recruiting that both sides understand each other and have had time to build relationships, to have conversations, to know who’s going to coach them, to fully understand what the plan is,” Napier said. “I think it goes both ways in that regard. I think it’s an injustice to them and an injustice to us to all of a sudden just hurry up and elope here right at the last second.”

Given Mullen’s lackluster efforts in recruiting and the diminution of Florida’s 2022 class in the wake of his dismissal, this isn’t a bad strategy on Napier’s part (not that it sounds like he’s got much choice).  Although he might be following in Mullen’s footsteps in one regard.

“You can expect us to be very conservative, very patient, trying to position ourselves for post-signing day to evaluate all the players who are left over, all the players who are in the transfer portal,” Napier said.

It doesn’t sound like that gap will be closing any time soon.

29 Comments

Filed under Gators, Gators..., Recruiting

29 responses to “Panic attack

  1. theotherdoug

    So the last coach didn’t recruit and left the cupboard bare and now his class is 7 guys?

    He’s doomed.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I can’t imagine he can say much different given the state of the class before his arrival. You almost have to focus effort on recruiting the players you really need to stay (for example, Richardson) to stop the bleeding, sign a small class and go hard into the portal. Pretty much the only thing you can do on the high school front is to focus on the 2023 class and see who may be available in February. I’m betting Napier has a lot of high school relationships to rebuild – on Thursday morning or as soon as permissible, I would be at IMG, Tampa Plant, American Heritage, Miami Northwestern, the Jacksonville schools, and Belle Glade Central meeting with those coaches.

    Liked by 6 people

    • theotherdoug

      The reality is they need to give him time to build the program back, but we both know that’s not going to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Down Island Way

        The 3-4 year hogtown resident expectancy count down of the current FU hc has officially started…new transport port-o-let master, who does this guy think he’s replacing…#FTMF

        Liked by 1 person

      • HirsuteDawg

        Hope the decision makers at Florida are so impatient they go through this same exercise – same time next year.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Throw in St. Thomas Aquinas on that list

      Liked by 1 person

      • Comin' Down The Track

        Urbs used to get a lot out of the Lakeland schools (Lakeland, Kathleen, Lake Gibson), as well. See also: Arian Smith, DGD

        Like

        • Yep – I’m guessing Napier has to spend a lot time with high school coaches in Florida over the next few months to repair what appears to be broken

          Liked by 1 person

          • James A Mercer Jr

            Napier is everything Mullen wasn’t. He’s an excellent recruiter…even with LSU being the main La magnet…and has built programs like Louisiana into competitive programs. He’s not a blatant idiot…an improvement at FU…and will eventually..not near time..become a problem to us. Let’s treat the coach better than Mullen and settle for a good rivalry without FTMF bing our primary response.

            Like

            • I agree. I just think Napier is going to have to spend as much time convincing the high school coaches in Florida to give him a chance after it appears MuLLLLet frayed some relationships.

              Like

  3. Ran A

    Actually think this is a good hire for Florida. But it doesn’t mean it will play out well for them. FSU now has a ‘jump’ with the same staff going into it’s 3rd year and they are recruiting well. Miami brought in Crystobal, known as a strong recruiter. Georgia recruits Florida really well, as does Alabama.

    Maybe he envisions becoming the new Portal Master? He’s got 3 years to beat Georgia or the Gator-Nation will get very-very restless.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. practicaldawg

    Whenever I hear Napier talk on mic, I feel like I need a cup of coffee. He seems like a “keep your head down and build things brick by brick” kind of guy. Probably worked well in the G5 where no one is paying much attention and there are no expectations. We’ll see how he’s doing after a 7-5 season or two in Gainesville.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. RangerRuss

    Fuck those motherfuckers.

    Liked by 12 people

  6. RC

    I actually think this was a great hire on their part. Don’t get me wrong- I don’t think he is Saban Redux, or even Meyer or Spurrier. I do think he will do enough to keep Kirby and our program more on their toes than Mullen ever did or could have done. As much as I detest everything about them, having a strong UF program can only make us better and enhance the difficulty and credibility of our schedule. Now we just need to hope Cristobal and Norvell do their jobs keeping Napier’s head on a swivel, fighting a battle on 3 fronts.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. David D

    FT new MF

    Liked by 7 people

  8. Granthams Replacement

    Lowering expectations to soften the blow.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. uga97

    His class is currently ranked 74th so its understandable that he’s got to dial back expectations with the public, due to Mullets massive recruiting shortfalls. His only shot at fielding a decent squad is to go portalling, but isn’t that every new coaches strategy these days? Best of luck to Billy with the new low bar, rockbottom jortvegas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • theotherdoug

      The best players in the portal aren’t going to waste their final 2 years rebuilding UF. He’s going to get guys that didn’t work out at their current school or want to play SEC ball for their final year.

      Take Tank from Auburn. No way that dude wastes his final year at UF. He’s going somewhere with a solid OL that can he can be the featured back.

      Liked by 2 people

      • miltondawg

        Yeah. I doubt that Napier is going to be able to lure a Spencer Rattler or Tank type of player for a rebuild/retool over the next couple of seasons. But who knows. Frankly, I don’t know enough about what UF has in their WR room or OL room to know what next year will look like. Could he get someone like Bo Nix? Maybe. We’ve all made fun of Nix and everyone knows his shortcomings, but the passing game at least would receive an immediate boost if Nix goes to Gainesville.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. argondawg

    Even in the age of the portal you cant fill a roster with portal players. I think the max number of players is 7 coming out of the portal. He has let a lot of players out of the net that are already signing with better schools. How can you basically punt on an entire class and survive?

    Like

  11. Ozam

    When a new coach uses the term “leftovers” with respect to recruiting, it is probably not a good thing.

    If the early signing date is not changed, universities would be smart to fire coaches at the beginning of the season and not the end!

    Like

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    I think the official term is ‘Throw away season’.

    Imagine the February signing day won’t be so hot if they lose to UCF in the bowl.

    Like