Sports

Billy Napier’s 5 most important staff hires at UF


Billy Napier has assembled most of his “army” and is ready to move on to the next phase of his plan, which is spring practice.

He has made so many hires that it seems difficult to keep up with them. And in doing so has reenergized a fan base that went through a pretty rough 13 months.

Of course, we are curious to see how all of this works when the Florida football team actually plays football games. Coaches and analysts and everyone else on the inflated staff will be judged on the wins and losses. It’s just the way it works.

Napier’s plan isn’t that complicated. Get better players, develop all players and put them in position to make winning plays.

It’s not rocket science.

But getting the right people on board to try to achieve a common goal is not always easy. Napier didn’t get everyone he went after, but he didn’t miss on many.

So, here are the five most important hires he has made as the head coach of the Florida Gators.

1

Katie Turner

This certainly got a lot of people’s attention because Napier came out of the box with guns blazing.

Turner is the assistant athletic director for recruiting strategy and the reason it was perceived as a big deal hire was that Florida took her away from Georgia, where she had played a big role in the recruiting classes Kirby Smart put together.

Turner has a knack for making players and their parents as comfortable as possible by her attention to detail. She has the ability to make everyone feel important without coming across as fake in any way.

2

Rob Sale

When Napier was named offensive coordinator at Arizona State, he took Sale with him. The two have run offenses at Alabama and Louisiana as well.

Even though Napier is calling the plays, he needs a right-hand man who knows exactly what he is trying to do.

Sale knows the SEC and has the NFL experience as well. And, let’s face it, he’s the offensive line coach and Florida hasn’t had a really good offensive line since the Pounceys left.

3

Corey Raymond

This was a hire that blew people away because Raymond is so good as both a developer of defensive backs and a top-notch recruiter.

We’ve already seen the impact in a transition year of recruiting and it’s only going to get better with a full year and a new facility to work with.

But there is also the challenge of making Florida DBU-worthy again.

He is going to have plenty of young talent to work with. Florida has had two straight years with single-digit interceptions. There won’t be a third.

4

Mark Hocke

There were a lot of people who wanted Nick Savage retained, but a new head coach is going to go with a strength coach who will develop the players the way HE wants them to develop.

Savage was more about building athletes than anything. Dan Mullen wanted a team that could run with anybody and, as a result, Florida was often undersized at some key positions.

Hocke knows that Napier wants to start winning in the trenches. It has already been a bit of a culture shock for the players who were fond of Savage, but they will adapt.





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