Florida Gators’ Billy Napier to continue as offensive play-caller

Napier is one of a dwindling number of head coaches who still call plays. That isn’t changing.
Florida Gators football coach Billy Napier said he'll continue to call UF's offensive plays despite a 3-2 start.
Florida Gators football coach Billy Napier said he'll continue to call UF's offensive plays despite a 3-2 start. [ BRIAN SIMMS | Lexington Herald-Leader ]
Published Oct. 2|Updated Oct. 2

GAINESVILLE — Florida Gators coach Billy Napier will remain the team’s offensive play-caller after a 3-2 start punctuated by Saturday’s loss at Kentucky.

Napier said in his weekly Monday news conference that everything within the program is evaluated constantly. That includes his performance on calling the plays for the nation’s No. 93 scoring offense (25 points per game). His Gators have scored only 76 points in four games against Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

“Everything that we do is always being evaluated,” Napier said. “I think one of the things that’s challenging as a leader when you have a core responsibility, if there’s things in that area that can be done better, you’ve got to be able to tell yourself the truth, if that makes sense.

“And I would tell you I’m a lot more critical of myself than anybody on the outside is. And I said it, I’ve said it publicly, there’s no sugarcoating this thing. We have no excuse. We can coach better, and we can play better. I’m hopeful we will do that.”

Florida is averaging 6.06 yards per play, which ranks 53rd in the country. ESPN’s SP+ advanced metrics rank Florida’s offense 40th.

Napier isn’t the only head coach who still calls the plays, but the number is dwindling. UCF’s Gus Malzahn and Missouri’s Eliah Drinkwitz both gave up those duties heading into this season. Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher hired former Louisville coach Bobby Petrino to take a larger role in the offense, too.

Napier pointed to comments he made during preseason SEC media days about his decision to continue in that role.

“I do think it’s part of the evaluation to some degree, but I feel confident in our process,” Napier said then.

“We’ve done it before, and I do think some of the growing pains that come with Year 1, I went through some of those things much like some of our other staff and other players did. So I’m very hopeful we’ll continue to improve, and I’ll benefit from Year 2 just as much as any player or any staff member.”

Florida hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday.

We’ll have more from Napier’s availability later today.

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