David Wunderlich starts out making a good point about Florida’s opener against Utah.
In other words, UF will probably employ Richardson much the same way Utah does Rising. Both teams will also try to win with their strong defenses.
Can this end well for Florida? Utah is a good team that’s been doing this sort of thing forever. UF will be in its first game in new systems. That usually doesn’t bode well for the team that lacks continuity.
But then comes the Gators’ ace in the hole:
They can try that all they want, but nothing will match the actual conditions. There really isn’t anywhere that Utah has played recently that will be like Gainesville in September. Four straight quarters of 85% humidity or more, even after dark for a night game, can be just demoralizing.
Napier has reportedly emphasized the conditioning side of the strength and conditioning program more than several of the most recent Florida head coaches. It’s standard practice for new coaching regimes to generate reports of better S&C results during the first offseason, but the specificity I’ve seen leads me to believe that there is real truth to it. One of Florida’s best chances in this game is to pull away late because they are still going strong while Utah wilts.
I have no doubt Napier’s taking conditioning more seriously than Mullen did. What I do doubt is that he’s done a complete fix in time for his first game in Gainesville. And let’s not forget that, while Florida will certainly field a respectable first 22, there are serious depth issues Napier has to manage — one of them being at quarterback. I’m not sure Richardson is going to get turned loose running as much as David is expecting. In short, the wilting may not be on just one side of the field.