Photo: Billy Napier; Credit: Zach Goodall
There's no question that newly-introduced Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier has high expectations for himself and the future of the Florida football program.
That much will be born out by how his team performs over the course of his tenure in Gainesville. During his introductory press conference earlier Sunday, Napier was poised, calm and grounded in his answers, but complete in speaking about his vision for the program and how much his support staff will help in accomplishing just that.
"We're going to hire an army of people here," Napier noted when asked about rising expectations as he makes the leap from a head coach in the Sun Belt Conference into the Southeastern Conference.
"We're going to create an infrastructure not only in the personnel department but also from an on-campus recruiting, creative media, name, image and likeness. We're going to create -- we've got a great vision for the organization that we're going to create here."
Recruiting has been one of the primary criticisms of the previous regime at Florida under then-head coach Dan Mullen. Creating the infrastructure to have success in that area is something Napier honed in on seemingly since his first conversations with athletic director Scott Stricklin into his hiring last Sunday.
The advantages of being the head coach at Florida and what the program's history has created is something that Napierwill certainly be able to sell, but the support that Napier has been given by Stricklin and the University Athletic Association is incredible and will help in allowing his vision to come to fruition.
When asked during his post-press conference scrum how big his "army" will be, Napier answered succinctly: "Unprecedented".
According to the employment agreement for Napier given by the University, Napier will have access to $7,500,000 for his support staff (10 full-time assistant football coaches). By comparison, Mullen had an assistant salary pool of $6,185,000 for 2020. The staff now will certainly be robust.
"I think that the administration's willingness to invest in our vision and this organization that we're going to create, if you combine that with the resources that they're providing to hire an exceptional staff, I think that the new facility is going to give us an advantage that maybe we haven't had before here."
Florida will be opening a new, $85 million football facility next spring.
"So we're the University of Florida. We've got a lot to sell here," said Napier. "And I think the timing is right."
Given that, Florida's advantage from a recruiting standpoint will be something that the program hasn't seen in quite some time. Their ability to bring the players in, sit down with their families and be in close proximity to the given recruits will be something they'll certainly take advantage of, Napier said.
"If we can't sign 25 good players at the University of Florida, then you'll be looking for a new coach."
On the field, aside from the robust nature of Napier's future staff, his goals were clear for his football plan itself, broken into eight phases: Foundation, identity, spring practice, discretionary period, summer regimen, training camp, in season and postseason.
"Really what we try to do is create some intensity and urgency for small periods of time," he noted. "We have very specific goals and objectives for each one of those. And everybody in the building's got things that they're in charge of and that we're trying to accomplish."
Of course, all of that will be something Napier implements in order to reach a greater goal, a goal he understands are the expectations for a football program as historic as the one at Florida.
"We're going to build the best football team in the SEC conference. We're going to build the best football program in the SEC conference. We must have a championship approach in everything that we do to accomplish this goal."
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