Florida Gators

Gators finish miserable season with five consecutive losses

todayNovember 26, 2023



By Hays Carlyon

GAINESVILLE – Billy Napier is now onto Year 3.

His tenure as the Florida coach will largely be shaped by what he does over the next month.

Napier showed, once again, that his program has potential but ultimately can’t deliver results.

The Gators took a lead into the fourth quarter against rival Florida State only to lose 24-15 Saturday in the Swamp. Florida (5-7) closed the season with five consecutive losses. That’s hard to comprehend.

The Gators held a fourth-quarter lead in each of the final four losses: Arkansas, at LSU, at Missouri and against the Seminoles.

Now, Gators fans have to hope that Napier can unearth some new players that will be difference makers. Players that will flip these close losses into wins.

That certainly will have to be the hope of Florida’s administration.

Napier will likely need to win eight games in 2024 to earn a fourth season at the helm.

So, how does he do it?

First off, Napier is going to have to retain all of his key young players. Any first or second-year player that contributed this season has to remain a Gator. If Napier starts to lose his own players to the transfer portal, he’s doomed.

He then has to own the portal. Napier needs to bring in five elite transfers in the next month and probably a dozen players overall. When you read the lists of which teams helped themselves the most in the portal, UF better be high on the list.

Yes, the recruiting class is important. For now, it’s fifth in the country but probably dropping.

However, it’s foolhardy to expect many of those players to be high-level players in the Southeastern Conference in their first year.

Napier needs immediate help now.

That might go against his way. That might go against the way he wants to build his program.

However, he has no choice.

Napier would be naïve to try a long-term build this offseason. He’s out of mulligans.

Napier is 11-14. If the Gators weren’t about to whiff on their fourth consecutive coach — Will Muschamp, Jim McElwain and Dan Mullen preceded Napier – he would probably be fired now.

The Gators have paid plenty of buy-out money and that is serving Napier well now.

Will he work out? Probably not.

Napier hasn’t reached the “beyond a reasonable doubt” point where his firing is inevitable.

The players that are save him are playing college football now.

You’ve got a whole month to build this roster.

You can devote the time you would’ve spent in bowl preparation to scouring the portal for immediate difference makers.

You’re close. But close isn’t nearly good enough at Florida.


(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on X @HaysCarlyon).















Written by: Hays Carlyon

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