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Billy Napier one of college football’s ‘most intriguing coaches’ in 2022

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Florida’s first-year head coach Billy Napier has been garnering a lot of attention this offseason, coming in at No. 14 on Sports Illustrated’s list of the most intriguing coaches of 2022.

The former Louisiana head coach is taking over a Florida team that finished the 2021 season 6-7 after a 4-2 start. Napier’s predecessor, Dan Mullen, was criticized for his lack of results on the recruiting trail, prompting Napier to place a priority on acquiring top-level talent in his first off-season as Gators head coach.

Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde believes that Napier has a lot of work ahead of him, both on and off the field. Here is what he had to say about Napier heading into the 2022 season.

He’s the next man up as the Gators continue their efforts to rekindle the Spurrier-Meyer glory days. There is a lot to like: Napier won at a phenomenal clip at Louisiana (34–5 the last three seasons) and comes with a Saban coaching pedigree. But some patience will be required, with Napier inheriting a less-than-flush roster and a few early recruiting setbacks eliciting some panic from the fans. That Utah-Florida opener isn’t just big for Whittingham; it’s a fascinating first-impression game for Napier, too. Last Florida coach to lose his debut game at the school: Charley Pell, in 1979. No pressure, Billy.

Napier is one of seven coaches taking over new programs on Forde’s list and is ranked one spot behind Utah’s Kyle Whittingham. Whittingham and Napier’s teams will face each other to open the season in Gainesville on September 3 at 7 p.m. EDT on ESPN.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire