Billy Napier
Florida head coach Billy Napier speaks during NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Wednesday, July 19, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Coach Napier: An Update on the Team

On Monday afternoon, Gators Football Head Coach Billy Napier gave an update on the status of the team. Along with some updates on injuries and practice, Napier pointed out some position groups he was particularly pleased with.

Injury Updates

Some of the more experienced players on the Florida defense have been dealing with nagging injuries. During the press conference, Napier updated the status of two of them.

Sophomore linebacker Shemar James, expected to be a critical part of the defense this year, has been sidelined with a knee injury. When asked about a timeline, Napier said they were looking at a week to 10 days for his return. He also said they would probably “err on the side of caution.”

Another returning Gator, sophomore defensive back Devin Moore, has been dealing with some upper-body issues. He should return to action in the next couple days.

“An Annual Event”

On Saturday, the Gators hosted an open practice in The Swamp for fans to watch the team play. Coach Napier said that would continue in the future.

Coming Into Their Own

With the week one game against Utah on the horizon, many questions were asked about various position groups. Coach Napier expressed his pleasure with a few of them.

Depth in the Trenches

Florida is a team that has set the tone with a stout defensive line in the past. Football becomes an easier game when you can stop the run up front and put pressure on the quarterback.

Napier said he is happy with the way that unit is progressing. Some new additions have helped take it to the next level.

Stretch the Field

In the offseason, a big position of concern for Gators fans was the receiving core.

Napier thinks the young receivers on the roster, namely Andy Jean, Aidan Mizell and Eugene Wilson III, add valuable speed and depth to that position.

Stepping Up

In the momentary absence of linebacker Shemar James, Napier said they have had more time to evaluate players in that position. They are happy with the way some of the guys have stepped up.

The return of James is obviously big for the defense. While he has been gone, though, Derek Wingo and Scooby Williams have taken the opportunity to prove their value.

About Steven Hieneman

Senior Sports Media/Business Administration dual major at the University of Florida, ESPN Gainesville WRUF sports correspondent.

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