Billy Napier
New Gators Football head coach Billy Napier speaks at a press conference when he was first introduced in Gainesville. Napier will hope to improve on the Gators 6-7 record from a year ago. Credit: CBS Sports College Football

Peterson happy to be home, has high props for Napier

Florida Gators assistant coach Mike Peterson spoke about the upcoming season and his planned role during a press conference Tuesday.

The 1996 National Champion is a member of the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame. The Gainesville native and former Santa Fe Raider said he was excited to return home.

Peterson previously coached at UF from 2013-2015. Since then, he said, the city has changed.

“Oh man, it’s amazing,” Peterson said. “I drive in and I’ve got new buildings and all types of things going on. It’s nice though. It’s good for the city. I love it.”

No Doubt About It

Peterson had been the outside linebackers coach at the University of South Carolina for six seasons before returning to Florida. When the call came from the Gators, he said, there was nothing the Gamecocks could have said or done to keep him.

He also lauded head coach Billy Napier’s attention to detail. Peterson expressed confidence in Napier’s plan for success at Florida.

Peterson also wants to fill multiple roles for his players. He does not solely want to be seen as Coach Peterson, he said.

He stressed the importance of physical health for players, making note of how imperative it is for them to take care of their bodies.

Peterson also touched on the future of NIL at the University of Florida, praising UF’s GatorMade program.

“I think it’s great,” he said. “It’s not about just helping guys on the field. I think it’s building a brand, setting them up for life after football. We all think when we’re playing the game that we’re gonna play it forever.”

Giving Back

After graduating from UF, Peterson played 14 seasons in the NFL for the Indianapolis Colts, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Atlanta Falcons. He was a second-team All-Pro in 2005.

He began his coaching career as a student assistant under head coach Will Muschamp, who he followed to South Carolina.

Football, he said, has given him a lot during his lifetime.

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