Chomp: Billy Napier’s 1st fall camp at Florida underway

Florida head coach Billy Napier speaks during an NCAA college football news conference at the Southeastern Conference Media Days, Wednesday, July 20, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore) (John Bazemore, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

This story first appeared in Chomp, our Gators football newsletter. Subscribe here.


Hi, Gators fans!

Fall camp is underway for the Florida football team, so let’s get into it.

🏈 Napier promises ‘this will be difficult’

Tuesday was the first day of a 22-day training camp for the Gators football team.

Since it is Florida’s first fall camp under head coach Billy Napier, it’s a tone-setter. Napier made no bones about it at a news conference Tuesday, saying the Gators are going to work hard and create a team identity over the next month as they prepare to open the season on Sept. 3 against Utah.

“It’s a critical time of the year. We want to work really hard, but we’re going to work smart. How we execute the plan is the most important part. Everybody is going through training camp. It’s going to be our diligence when it comes to the discipline and the detail, taking feedback,” Napier said.

“I think we’ve got to be really intentional with our actions and really deliberate in terms of how we practice, create intensity as an organization, the urgency, the detail, the focus that’s required. This training camp is going to be difficult. It’s going to challenge the intangibles of not only the players but the staff, as well.”

READ MORE: Gators open 1st camp under Napier

Sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson is back as the unquestioned starter, and while he didn’t speak at Tuesday’s news conference, there will be a lot of eyes on the Swamp to see how he and the rest of the Gators look in Napier’s first year.

“Anthony is focused on the work, and there’s certainly a lot of work to do,” Napier said. “Improving as a leader, growing and maturing as a person, very much a young person. Increasing his football intelligence, developing his skill. There’s just so much more out there for the young man.”

Richardson has been listed as a potential first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft despite the fact that he has only one college start under his belt. His performance in the spring game certainly helped his draft stock, but it will be how he handles the pressure of being the starter in the Southeastern Conference that will determine his future.

“I think when your standards and expectations are much higher than anyone on the outside could have for you, I think that gives you an opportunity,” Napier said. “I think Anthony is very aware. That’s one of the things I really like about him. I think he has good awareness, good self-awareness that he is an inexperienced player, that he has potential, but also, that he can improve. There’s lots to learn.”

In this episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters and Will Miles discuss fall camp.

And in the latest podcast episode, David reacts to what junior offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence, sophomore defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr., offensive coordinator Rob Sale, co-defensive coordinator Patrick Toney and co-defensive coordinator Sean Spencer had to say on scheme and philosophy for this year’s team.

🙌 Standalone football facility FINALLY opening

As fall camp continues, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin gave an update on the long-awaited standalone football facility.

Today, Stricklin tweeted that the Gators football team will be moving into the James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Training Center on Sunday.

I actually visited Gainesville this past weekend and got a firsthand look at the facility. Here’s a look.

The Gators are getting ready to move into the James W. “Bill” Heavener Football Training Center. (Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

🤷 Florida nowhere to be found in preseason coaches’ poll

The preseason USA Today coaches’ poll was released Monday, and not surprisingly, the Gators were not ranked among the top 25 teams.

The Gators did receive votes, but only accumulated 17 points. For example, Alabama, which was voted No. 1, received 54 first-place votes from a panel of 66 major college football coaches and got a total of 1,634 points.

Defending national champion Georgia came in third, following Ohio State at No. 2.

The Utes, who the Gators will host in the Swamp to start their season, are ranked eighth.

Click here to see the full rankings.

The Associated Press preseason Top 25 will be released Aug. 15.

✉️ 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.

🎙️ Listen to more Gators Breakdown

You can catch up on previous episodes of Gators Breakdown at News4JAX.com/GatorsBreakdown or click one of the following to tune in: Megaphone | Apple Podcasts | YouTube | Google Podcasts | Stitcher


About the Author:

Jacksonville native and proud University of Florida graduate who joined News4JAX in 2016.