Florida ended its 2022 season on a rough note, with the Gators being beaten 30-3 by Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Post game, UF freshman head coach billy napier he spoke about what the team needed to improve going into the 2023 campaign.
“I think today is probably an outlier to some degree, if that makes sense,” Napier said, via Swamp247. “I think we had some momentum there and missed some opportunities, particularly late in the year and I think that’s what we have to learn from that experience. We’re in a position after Texas A&M and South Carolina, but what did we learn going to Nashville to play (Vanderbilt)? What did we learn when we went to Tallahassee to play (Florida State)? And then certainly a quick switch to play in the bowl game. I see an opportunity. What I’m looking at there, I think which is positive for the Gators, we have to learn from these experiences, not only from the players but also from all parts of our organization.
“Year 1, a lot of work has been done. That’s day 1 so far. We’re lucky to get a little break here and we’ll be back and working harder than ever.”
The Gators started the season flawlessly, with a win over a Pac-12-winning Utah team, but lost their last three games with a 6-7 record: a loss to the SEC in Vanderbilt, the Gators’ annual rivalry game. Gators against Florida State and then Saturday’s loss at the hands of Oregon State.
“Sometimes I think the result doesn’t necessarily show the growth that we’ve seen,” Napier said. “I think the dynamic within our team and within our locker room from where we started to where we are today, the connection there and the relationship piece. I think our issues on the pitch have been specific to execution. I think we’re always working on the culture part but I think we made a lot of progress in that area just what I observed in that locker room compared to some of the things we observed maybe when we first got here it’s a whole different ball club . .”
Napier was asked about his message to his staff ahead of the offseason, and with it, the opportunity to add talent to the roster.
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“You know, I think every decision you make from a personnel standpoint is an individual decision,” Napier said. “Every player, every staff member that you add to your team and organization. We have a very deep and thorough process, not only to evaluate the physical traits but also the character component, the other things that they bring to our team.” . Really excited about the group that we’ve engaged. As we add players, I think we’ll evaluate the roster. Where do we need help? And we’ll be intentional about adding good players to the team and good people to the team.”