Billy Napier’s Florida tenure has not gone as expected in two seasons, but the head coach is sticking to his plan. Napier had a chance to shake things up on his staff this offseason, but entering Year 3, the head coach is staying the course with his Day 1 strategy.

It’s typical for an on-field college football staff to have one quarterback coach, one offensive line coach, one running backs coach, one tight ends coach and one wide receivers coach on offense. It’s not always the case, but it is the expected arrangement these days, depending on whether a coordinator or the head coach will also work with a position group. Occasionally, tight ends get lumped in with the receivers or with linemen.

Napier turned some heads when he named two offensive line coaches to his inaugural Florida staff. He does not have an on-field quarterbacks coach, with analyst Ryan O’Hara serving in the traditional QB coach role.

Rob Sale, who worked with Napier at Alabama, Arizona State and Louisiana, returned to the college ranks as Florida’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach ahead of the 2022 season. While Sale holds the title of offensive coordinator and a 7-figure salary, Napier has been UF’s offensive play-caller.

In addition to Sale, Napier brought along Darnell Stapleton from Louisiana, where he had served as assistant offensive line coach. Stapleton’s title at Florida was offensive line coach.

On Feb. 15, Stapleton was named assistant offensive line coach with the Washington Commanders. Stapleton’s departure opened up a spot on Napier’s on-field staff.

There was plenty of intrigue surrounding how Napier might use a post-National Signing Day staff opening to shake things up for Year 3. While fans may have hoped for an outside offensive mind or an on-field special teams coordinator, Napier instead stuck to his original plan. The Gators will again have two offensive line coaches.

Multiple outlets, including 247Sports, are reporting that Jonathan Decoster will be Florida’s second offensive line coach. Decoster joins the Gators after three seasons as assistant offensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns.  A Louisiana alum, Decoster has college coaching experience with Nevada (graduate assistant offensive line coach, 2013-14), West Virginia State University (offensive line coach/recruiting coordinator, 2015-16), LSU (grad assistant tight ends coach, 2017-19) and Old Dominion (tight ends coach, 2020).

Napier has made offensive and special teams staff changes in his typical style. Last month, it was reported that tight ends coach Russ Callaway has added the title of co-offensive coordinator.

The co-OC role has not been officially defined with no announcement from UF or Napier media opportunity, but involvement with the offensive scheme is widely presumed to come with Callaway’s promotion. Callaway has coordinator experience from his five seasons at Samford.

Some fans may be left wondering why Napier did not go with a different kind of promotion to fill his latest staff vacancy. In January, Napier addressed Florida’s special teams struggles by bringing in former New England Patriots assistant Joe Houston.

Houston, though, is set to be a senior analyst, as opposed to an on-field special teams coach. Florida struggled with lining up on special teams and having multiple players wearing the same number as Chris Couch, an analyst, oversaw the unit. Napier’s hope is that an analyst more senior to Couch can remedy the issues that loomed large in multiple 2023 losses.

Napier enters Year 3 with an 11-14 record through two seasons.

Some of Florida’s most prominent boosters have taken to message boards and social media to defend Napier against vocal critics in the fanbase. Athletic director Scott Stricklin also continues to defend Napier, rejecting any suggestions that the coach is on the hot seat despite speculation from the national pundits.

Napier’s staff decisions indicate he has full support to continue doing things his way, despite a rough start to his tenure. The college football world is watching closely to see if that support continues through Year 3 with what is expected to be the nation’s toughest schedule.

North Carolina sports betting is almost here! Follow SDS for the latest on this month’s launch in the Tar Heel State and get the best sign-up offer!