Thoughts of the Day: December 3, 2021

A few thoughts to jump start your Friday morning:

SUNDAY, A NEW ERA BEGINS FOR FLORIDA FOOTBALL

Sunday afternoon at a press conference at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Billy Napier will be formally introduced as the head football coach at the University of Florida. He’s 42 years old, 39-12 as a head coach and could be arriving in Gainesville on the heels of a Sun Belt Conference championship.


By all accounts, Napier is a Nick Saban clone in the way he organizes things and goes about his daily business. It would be surprising if he arrives in Gainesville without every assistant coaching position already filled and without a plan to immediately recruit every player on the UF roster including the four who have entered their names in the transfer portal – Dante Zanders, Gerald Mincey, Khris Bogle and Lloyd Summerall III. He’s not going to run players off necessarily, but if he doesn’t get the right answers when he asks questions or sees any doubt about being a Gator, he won’t stop the screen door from hitting them backside on the way out.


Billy Napier is Florida’s head coach because he wants to be a Gator, which is why he’s turned down Mississippi State, Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee in the past. He is at a place where he (a) knows he can win and (b) has assurances that he will have every resource available to win. That means resources for recruiting that have been missing for quite some time are being made available.


Napier isn’t a rock star hire like Lincoln Riley at Southern Cal and he’s certainly not the type to abandon his players with a championship on the line a la Brian Kelly. Napier made it abundantly clear before he was hired by Scott Stricklin that his players come first and that means finishing what was started at Louisiana this season. He will arrive in Gainesville fully focused and ready to begin piecing the Florida football program back together again.


I’ve talked to quite a few people about Napier in the last few days and the near unanimous conclusion is that Florida has the right coach at the right time. I was told to look carefully at the two coaches who have influenced him the most – Dabo Swinney and Nick Saban.


“Nick’s been at Alabama 15 years and Dabo’s been at Clemson 14,” one coach told me. “Billy is taking the Florida job because he plans to be there for the long term. It’s not going to be four years and out the door, that’s for damn sure.”


THE SEC SOOTHSAYER

No. 3 Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC) vs. No. 1 Georgia (12-0, 8-0 SEC): What we’ve seen on the field tells us the SEC Championship Game will be all Georgia. The Bulldogs lead the nation in defense (229.7 yards per g