This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.
Mark your calendar.
Florida coach Billy Napier says spring practice will start March 15.
He made the announcement during a news conference Friday, when he disclosed the Gators are moving into phase two of his plan: the identity program. It will span 25 days.
“I think we’re trying to, really want players to have 100% focus and attack the work, right? We kind of define this for the players, right? Identity is qualities and beliefs that make it different than other people,” Napier said.
“The key here is that the players make a commitment to do the prescribed work the right way, and I really believe in the power of routine, structure, discipline. Certainly, this workload will challenge the self-discipline in the players, right? We need to control the controllable, and we need to work hard to create the identity of our team, and that starts inside out, and it starts with the players as people. We all know that significant change is always made from the inside out.”
The first phase was foundation, which began last month. Napier said the second phase started Friday.
🐊 Gators add to 2022 class
National Signing Day has come and gone, but changes to Florida’s roster continue.
The Gators got a late addition to their 2022 recruiting class on Wednesday when athlete Arlis Boardingham committed to Florida over Oregon.
The 247Sports Composite has Boardingham, who’s from Van Nuys, California, as a three-star player.
In an episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters, Will Miles, with Read and Reaction, and Bill Sikes break down where Florida’s roster stands after NSD and discuss some interesting trends.
And, in an episode of Gators Breakdown Plus, David talks about Boardingham’s commitment and answers a couple of questions pertaining to the 2023 recruiting class and who is on the wish list.
🏈 Carter, Pierce represent Gators at Senior Bowl
Defensive lineman Zachary Carter and running back Dameon Pierce participated the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl last weekend.
Both Florida graduates played on the American team, which lost 20-10 to the National team.
Pierce had five carries for 16 yards and one reception for five yards.
Carter started at defensive end and had a solo tackle.
✉️ 4 Gators get Combine invites
Carter and Pierce, along with linebacker Jeremiah Moon and defensive back Kaiir Elam, made up the four Gators who received invitations to the 2022 NFL Combine.
This year’s combine is scheduled for March 1 through March 7 in Indianapolis. It returns after last year’s cancellation due to the pandemic.
To see the full list of 324 prospects who were invited this year, click here.
🏟️ 5 former Gators in Super Bowl
The Gators will have five former players on the active rosters of this year’s Super Bowl teams.
They’re tied with LSU for the most.
On the Cincinnati Bengals roster: Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, offensive tackle Fred Johnson, and kicker Evan McPherson, whose heroics we highlighted in last week’s edition of Chomp.
On the Los Angeles Rams roster: Wide receivers Van Jefferson and Brandon Powell.
🏀 Castleton returns
Colin Castleton returned to the lineup and scored 17 points to help the Florida men’s basketball team defeat Ole Miss 62-57 in overtime last weekend.
Castleton had missed six games with a shoulder injury.
On Wednesday, he had 13 points in the Gators’ 72-63 win over Georgia — their fourth straight. In the victory, Myreon Jones made a career-high seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points.
Up next: Florida is on the road to play Kentucky at 4 p.m. Saturday.
❗ Auburn to reportedly retain Harsin
Meanwhile, Auburn and its football coach Bryan Harsin have made up much of the recent off-season talk.
On Friday afternoon, The Associated Press reported that Auburn plans to retain Harsin, whose first season with the Tigers ended with five straight losses followed by heavy turnover among players and coaches.
READ MORE: Auburn to retain Harsin, AP source says
According to The AP, if Auburn had fired Harsin without cause, the school would have been on the hook for 70% of his contract that runs through the 2026 season and averages $5.25 million per season. That would amount to just over $18 million.
✉️ Send us your Gators thoughts & questions
David and I want to hear from you. Do you have any thoughts or questions about the Gators football program? Agree or disagree with something we’ve said? Let us know here, and we’ll share our responses to your questions.