Former Cajuns Coach Billy Napier Has Successful First Outing As SEC Coach
After an incredibly successful run as the head coach of the Ragin' Cajuns football team, Billy Napier shocked the football world by leading the Florida Gators to a narrow win over No. 7 Utah, 29-26.
The star of the night was Flordia quarterback Anthony Richardson, who went 17 for 24 against the Utes for 168 yards and rushed for another 106 yards in 11 runs.
One of the highlights of the night came with a 2-point conversion from Richardson that left Utah players stunned.
"His legs, they're a difference maker," Napier said of Richardson after the game. "You saw it tonight. The fourth-down play, in the last drive. The 2-point conversion, I mean, come on. He did that exact same thing in practice one day. I'm talking about the exact scenario.
"I think we're figuring out here that this guy's a pretty special player," he added.
That last drive shocked even the television commentators, who questioned Napier for letting the clock run down and burning a timeout. The plan worked, however, as the Gators scored and left Utah with little time left. The Utes drove the ball down the field, but the high-pressure situation gave the opportunity for Amari Burney to intercept a Utah pass on 2nd-and-goal to effectively end the game.
Napier wasn't the only local name out there. True freshman Trevor Etienne of Jennings, younger brother of Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne, had an impressive showing last night. While he did have a fumble near the end of the game, he recovered it quickly, prompting a reaction from his older brother on Twitter.
Napier's first outing as an SEC coach gives the Gators a solid start to the season. The Gators football program, which started its season with two wins last year, went six of nine in its remaining games, leading to Coach Dan Mullen being fired before the season was over. Napier came into the program focusing, much as he did at UL, on discipline.
Napier has also built an offense with a heavy run focus with players like Richardson, Etienne, and Louisiana transfer Montrell Johnson Jr.
The Gators will host Kentucky next weekend.