When the Gators hired Billy Napier as the head coach, none of the former coaching staff’s core assistants were retained. That means it was one of his first priorities to assemble an all-new coaching staff for the team. Many of the coaches he attracted to the Swamp had strong ties to his former teams, but he was also able to persuade a few others without obvious connections to join up and be a part of the #UFuture.
Without a real body of work to judge this group on, it is virtually impossible to know how well they’ll perform now that they hold the wheel in Gainesville. By all accounts, they’re putting on an impressive display of unity as recruits meet with the staff, but the real test of their abilities will come when the rubber meets the road and the Gators have to adjust to adversity through the coming season.
None of these coaches is an unknown element, though, and it’s an interesting exercise to put our expectations on record and compare them against the results. And, let’s face it, it’s fun to rank things. So, let’s dig into the ten coaches Billy Napier tabbed as his on-field assistants and rank them in terms of how well we expect them to do in their role with the Gators.
To be clear, I don’t think any of these hires are duds. They’re a more promising group than what Dan Mullen had to offer by the end of his tenure and each one has a completely worthy resume. Equivocation makes for less fun, though, so let’s start at number 10 and work our way up!
10. Linebackers coach Jay Bateman
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The list begins with one of the last coaches hired into this on-field staff, former Ball State, Army and UNC defensive coordinator Jay Bateman. His most recent tenure, a three-year run with the Tar Heels, ended with an unglamorous firing after UNC’s brutalization at the hands of rival South…