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.