Chomp: Gators football program sorting through many changes this spring

FILE (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) (Frederick Breedon, 2018 Frederick Breedon)

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

Hi, Gators fans.

Hope all of you are having a great start to the week!

🏈 Florida football has changes to sort through this spring

As spring football practice continues, the Gators are adjusting to a lot of changes.

The most significant change for the Gators in Billy Napier’s second season is the hiring of Austin Armstrong as defensive coordinator, replacing the departed Patrick Toney.

In the latest episode of Gators Breakdown, host David Waters discusses the change and highlights Armstrong’s emphasis on “negotiating with a hammer.” In addition, defenders Jaydon Hill and Justus Boone share their thoughts on the changes to the defensive side of the ball.

Florida also has changes to sort through in the offensive line and defensive back rooms. The offensive line will be adding a few new players through the transfer portal, while the defensive back room will now be under the guidance of assistant head coach and secondary coach Corey Raymond. In another Gators Breakdown episode, David discusses these changes and shares insight from offensive tackle Austin Barber and cornerback Jason Marshall on the adjustments.

And with all of the new pieces on the offensive line, there were some questions about how they would fit together. But offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Rob Sale has provided some insight on how the line is coming together in spring practice.

🏀 Florida men’s basketball team loses in 2nd round of SEC Tournament

Mississippi State beat Florida 69-68 in overtime on Thursday in the second round of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

The Gators rallied from 14 down in the first half and six down with 1 minute and 30 seconds to play to force overtime as guard Myreon Jones knocked in a pair of late 3-pointers to force the extra session. Florida also bounced back from a seven-point deficit with 2 minutes left in overtime to take a 1-point lead with 11 seconds remaining, but forward Tolu Smith’s late basket lifted the Bulldogs to the win.

“Obviously, a tough loss today for us. But with that being said, I was really proud of the way our guys continued to battle. Obviously didn’t get off to a great start, down 14, 6 and a half minutes to go in the first half,” said coach Todd Golden following the loss. “Obviously, that could have gone one of two ways. We got that thing back to having a 3-point lead with 13 minutes to go in the second half.

“Thought we did a great job of finding our stride, especially on the offensive end, during that segment. Two chances at the end of regulation, then overtime to win that game. Came up a little short.”

GAME RECAP: Mississippi State beats Florida 69-68 in OT

The Gators (16-16, 9-9 SEC) earned a No. 4 seed in the National Invitation Tournament and will host UCF on Wednesday at 7 p.m., with the game airing on ESPN 2.

Gators & Seminoles baseball teams to face off in Jacksonville

The 2023 Fresh from Florida Sunshine Showdown between the Florida and Florida State baseball teams is back.

This year’s neutral site game will be held on Tuesday, March 28, at 121 Financial Ballpark in downtown Jacksonville, with the first pitch at 7 p.m.

FULL STORY: Florida, Florida State to face off as ‘Fresh from Florida’ baseball game returns to Jacksonville

For more information on the event, visit

✉️ 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.

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About the Author:

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