#SECMD23: Florida coach Billy Napier (AUDIO)

Florida coach Billy Napier speaks to the media at the 2023 SEC Football Kickoff (Jimmie Mitchell/SEC)

Where has the championship level Florida program gone? That’s what Gator fans and national pundits are wondering. Back-to-back 6-7 records in Gainesville won’t cut it, and second year coach Billy Napier knows that. At his Wednesday afternoon session in Nashville, Napier launched a bit of a recruiting pitch espousing the virtues of Florida as a university and as a football program.

He has issues to solve in year two. He has to find a replacement for departed quarterback Anthony Richardson, and also find a way to improve a defense that allowed 29 points per game last season. Defensive coordinator Patrick Toney left for the NFL just before the start of spring practice, so Napier hired Austin Armstrong from Alabama as his new defensive coordinator with Sean Spencer serving as the co-DC.

The Gators will return a total of 11 starters with six on offense and five on defense. Those include their top two rushers from last season in Montrell Johnson and Trevor Etienne who combined for over 1600 yards and 16 touchdowns, and leading receiver Rickey Pearsall who had 33 catches for 681 yards and 5 touchdowns. The returnees do not include the defense’s top five tacklers from last season.

Florida coach Billy Napier at SEC Media Days

Florida 2023 Schedule

Aug. 31 at Utah
Sept. 30 at Kentucky*
Oct. 14 at South Carolina*
Oct. 28 vs. Georgia (Jacksonville)*
Nov. 11 at LSU*
Nov. 18 at Missouri*

2022 Results

6-7 Overall • 3-5 SEC
Home: 5-2 Away: 1-3 Neutral: 0-2 vs. Top 25: 1-5
Sept. 3 [RV/RV] UTAH (7/8) W, 29-26 90,799
Sept. 10 [12/19] KENTUCKY (20/20) * L, 16-26 89,993
Sept. 17 [18/21] SOUTH FLORIDA (1/1)* W, 31-28 88,496
Sept. 24 [20/22] at Tennessee (11/12)* L, 33-38 101,916
Oct. 2 [RV/RV] EASTERN WASHINGTON W, 52-17 72,462
Oct. 8 [RV/RV] MISSOURI* W, 24-17 88,471
Oct. 15 [RV/RV] LSU (rv/rv)* L, 35-45 90,585
Oct. 29 vs. Georgia (1/1) (Jacksonville)* L, 20-42 75,868
Nov. 5 at Texas A&M* W, 41-24 97,797
Nov. 12 SOUTH CAROLINA (rv/rv)* W, 38-6 89,454
Nov. 19 [RV/RV] at Vanderbilt* L, 24-31 30,136
Nov. 25 at Florida State (16/16) L, 38-45 79,560
Dec. 17 vs. Oregon State L, 3-30 29,750
SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl • Las Vegas, Nevada

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