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Alliance of American Football

Legendary Florida coach Steve Spurrier may be in a new role as an ambassador to Florida athletics, but "The Old Ball Coach" still isn't shy when it comes to expressing his opinion about the direction of his former program. Going into Year 3 of the Billy Napier era at Florida, the man who guided the Gators to a national title in 1996 has plenty of concerns about the way Napier's staff is organized. 

"There's a feeling around the Gators of 'what the heck are we doing?' There's a lot of questions that I don't have the answers to about organization," Spurrier told "Just because you hire the most people doesn't mean you're going to win. All these extra people, I question how much that really helps.

"Billy [Napier] is a good guy who works his tail off. I like Billy, good family man. But we do wish the organization was a little bit more tidy."  

Napier is just 11-14 with the Gators and fresh off a 5-7 campaign in 2023. There was speculation that he would give up playcalling duties to focus more on program oversight going into 2024, but he recently confirmed he will continue his active role on that side of the ball. 

"Yeah, I do," Napier said on the Gator Tales podcast when asked if he wants to retain play-calling duties. "I think that big-picture wise, we're taking the group of people that we have and we're trying to develop some people, groom some people. We've done a ton of work in the offseason to kind of evaluate that in terms of what that looks like. 

"I think down the stretch, we played pretty good offense. We created a bunch of explosive plays. We scored points. I think we've got a quarterback that's returning in the same system. I think ultimately for me it's about all these other areas being taken care of so that I can focus, do my best for the team in that regard."    

There is some reason for optimism as Florida opens spring practice on March 7 ahead of a pivotal year for the program. The Gators return veteran quarterback Graham Mertz for a sixth season of eligibility, fresh off the best year of his lengthy career. He threw for 2,903 yards and 20 touchdowns to just three interceptions and 14 of his touchdowns came during Florida's offensive uptick over the last seven games. 

The future at the quarterback position looks bright as well with prized five-star freshman DJ Lagway already on campus. Lagway was the No. 1 quarterback and No. 3 overall prospect in the 2024 class, according to 247Sports.