The Florida Gators are in what many will say is a transition. This is head coach Billy Napier’s second year. The Gators finished 6-7 last year. They lost quarterback Anthony Richardson to the NFL. With Richardson leaving the good news is that Graham Mertz transferred from the Wisconsin Badgers has developed well. The Gators are set up for one of the hardest schedules in college football. Their out-of-conference schedule features the Utah Utes who the Gators beat with a late interception. The other team is an in-state rival the Florida State Seminoles. The Seminoles have a ton of talent coming back and are favored to win the ACC. With those two the conference games will also be more challenging. The four games to look at would be Tennessee Volunteers, Arkansas Razorbacks, Georgia Bulldogs, and LSU Tigers. Let’s see how they do in the twelve games this year.
The Florida Gators offense took a big hit losing Anthony Richardson and offensive tackle O’Cryus Torrence. But Napier did well when he was at Louisiana in year two his team averaged six more points per game. This will all come down to Graham Mertz and the one-two punch of Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne. They also still have Ricky Pearsall who had a good season in one game, he did very well. In the game against Florida State, he had 148 yards and two touchdowns. The Gators lost veteran Xzavier Henderson to the transfer portal. On the bright side, despite losing Torrence the offensive line may have been upgraded. The players that they have added are tackle Austin Barber, Micah Mazzccua, Kiyaunta Goodwin, and Damieon George Jr. who are all transfers. These are the types of players that Napier loves to have.
One of the aspects that the Florida Gators have been strong in is the defensive side of the ball. Last year they took a step back. They ranked near the bottom of the SEC in third-down conversations and yielded at least 30 points in their six losses. Fingers were pointed at young defensive coordinator Patrick Toney, but he left for the NFL. Napier replaced him with a younger coordinator in Austin Armstrong. Since Armstrong joined the team, the players have loved his energy. Just like with the offensive line, it has some transfers and one is Cam Jackson from Memphis. They also have Kelby Collins and Princely Umanmielen as new members. Behind the offensive line is sophomore linebacker Shemar James and in the secondary Jason Marshall, Ja’Keem Jackson, and Kamari Wilson. These are elite players in the secondary. Let’s see how they do.
With all the changes I am interested in how Billy Napier will do. One of the cool things about the upcoming season is the Florida Gators will wear all-black uniforms against Arkansas Razorbacks. Florida might have a better season or the same that happened in 2022. That will all determine how the new pieces fit and how the coaches do. Hopefully, for the fans, this team can have a better season in 2023. They can win some of the games that were mentioned earlier in the article. Napier is a good enough coach to get the Gators a winning season. We all know there are changes that happen in college football.
How do you think the Florida Gators will do in 2023?
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