Florida head coach Billy Napier watches from the sideline in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Coach Napier Talks Gators Football Ahead of Orange and Blue Game

Spring football is underway for the Florida Gators and the swamp is starting to buzz. With many players exiting the program, it is evident that the team is going to look different come fall. The Orange and Blue game is circled on many calendars, and the wait is almost over. Florida Gators head football coach Billy Napier took some time to talk about his program following Thursday’s scrimmage.

Quarterback Questions

With Gators quarterback Anthony Richardson declaring for the NFL draft back in December, Napier now finds himself overseeing his first QB battle as head coach of the Gators. Redshirt sophomore Jack Miller III and redshirt junior Graham Mertz appear to be the front runners.

Miller spent some time at Ohio State before transferring to Florida before the 2022 season. He made his first career start versus Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl. Miller threw for 180 yards with 13 completions on 22 attempts.

Mertz by far has the most experience out of any quarterback on the roster. The redshirt junior started in every game for three straight seasons at Wisconsin before transferring to UF. Napier had high praise for his new transfer’s work ethic.

The Orange and Blue game will provide the first look at Mertz in Napier’s system and could give fans a nod as to who will take the starting role come season time.

New Spring Format?

As of recent, there has been a rise in the question on the future of the spring scrimmage format. The idea of teams playing other teams in actual spring games is gaining some traction. Napier spoke about his thoughts on the idea.

In the future, spring matchups with other schools could be something for teams and fans to look forward to, but for now the focus remains on competition against their own.

New-look Gators

Along with losing their quarterback, the Gators are losing many players in other positions, such as linebacker Ventrell Miller. Through two scrimmages, Napier knows the team has got work to do.

The Orange and Blue game offers an early look of what this new squad has to offer. Transfers have immediate pressure to produce and expectations to live up to. Napier noted that his players have been working hard to be at the point they are now.

All eyes are focused on April 13, the official date of the Orange and Blue game. Until then, Napier and the Gators will continue to work hard in preparation for it as well as the upcoming season.

About Jack Alperstein

Jack Alperstein is currently a sophomore at the University of Florida studying Sports Journalism.

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