Things just continue to get worse for Billy Napier in Gainesville.
The embattled Florida coach looked to be turning things around after a 6-7 finish in Year 1, starting 5-2 with an upset over ranked Tennessee. However, the Gators were hardly competitive in a blowout loss to rival Georgia last week, and a brutal overtime loss to Arkansas — the Razorbacks’ first in the Swamp in program history — made things even worse.
Coach Sam Pittman’s previously 2-6 team ended a six-game losing streak against Napier’s squad, and with three remaining games against LSU and Missouri on the road before Florida State comes to town Thanksgiving weekend, a bowl game is beginning to look highly unlikely.
That’s a frustrating development at a program with much higher standards, and Napier’s message to the fanbase after the game did not exactly inspire much confidence.
“It’s not my job to preach patience,” Napier said. “It’s my job to coach the team.”
Asked about his message to the fanbase following Florida’s 39-36 OT loss to Arkansas, Billy Napier says, “It’s not my job to preach patience. It’s my job to coach the team.”
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) November 4, 2023
While this is factually true, it’s not exactly what fans want to hear after a loss that can largely be blamed on coaching. Florida attempted to substitute on offense to spike the ball ahead of what would have been a game-winning field goal, but an illegal substitution penalty pushed the attempt back, which kicker Trey Smack ultimately missed.
With the Gators in danger of missing a bowl game for the third time since 2013, pressure may be turning up on Napier, who has raised Florida’s recruiting ceiling significantly but has not seen the results on the field as he sits at just 11-11 overall in two seasons with just a 7-11 record against Power Five foes.