Florida Football Mailbag part one

We are a fourth of the way through the 2022 season and the Gators’ hold a 2-1 record. Gator Country provides you with a mailbag, answering all your Florida football questions. 

MrB-Gator : How are the following players doing?

Lyons, Svaiinaea, Pyburn….will they contribute this year?

And Griffin McDowell was on DL during the spring and was apparently one of the stronger players on the team.

Do you think he will go back to DL to provide depth?

Nick M: Jamari Lyons is the only player from that group I could see making an impact this year, and that’s mainly because he’s at a position of need. I heard really good things about Andrew Savaniinaea coming out of fall camp. I think you will see Savaniinaea and Pyburn redshirt this year. 

I don’t believe Griffin McDowell will go back to the DL as he’s already in his 5th season and the staff wanted to move him to TE. 

UFMBA14: I’ve read in some places that even if Miller were healthy that it wouldn’t change anything because coaches believe we are truly starting our best QB. Do you know anything about that? Even with Richardson’s play the last 2 games would it still be better than what they would expect from Miller?

Nick M: Richardson is this team’s starting QB. The staff believes that Richardson gives this team the best chance to win each game. However, if Richardson continues to play poorly, I can’t imagine the staff wouldn’t consider starting Jack Miller down the road. Even with Miller healthy, this is Richardson’s team.

Travilngator: How injured do you think AR is and is coach purposely avoiding the subject because he does not have a second option and doesn’t want our opponents to get any kind of edge by knowing his issues.

Nick M: I don’t think it’s fair for me to make a guess on whether AR is injured or not because my guess is as good as yours. I can tell you that AR said he was banged up in the Kentucky game and it limited him on four to five plays. Richardson has been seen limping a few times during the games and he claims it’s just in-game injuries. However, if he was injured, it would make sense for Napier to try and hide that from people. 

Cbcoakley: Why was our DB giving the south Florida receiver a 10 yd cushion? Is this some sort of scheme? What is Bateman’s actual role? Does he call plays or is he strictly a position coach? Why is Wingo buried in the depth chart after last year? Does toneys scheme almost always play 2LBs and 5 DBs? If so, what’s a prototypical LB look like for toneys defense?

Nick M: There’s advantages to playing off a receiver; It allows you to keep your eyes on the QB and the receiver. Bateman coaches the LB’s, Patrick Toney calls plays. Wingo only started in the bowl game last season. It’s now a very crowded room with Ventrell Miller back and the emergence of Shemar James and Scooby Williams. Toney’s scheme often has five defensive backs. I would say he’s looking for a guy that’s very versatile, someone that is efficient in both the pass and run game. A prime example is Shemar James. 

Ovillegator: Can we use two RBs at the same time? Wouldn’t that give us a 3-headed beast because of AR’s running ability and our good OL? And open up some occasional short tosses by AR to a TE, WR or RB out of the backfield?

Nick M: I think there are certain situations where multiple RBs on the field makes sense. Only issue with that is it takes away another blocker. I would love to see the Gators get the RBs involved in different ways though.

CTG8TR: Separation continues to be an issue, or it at least seems to be. Thoughts on exclusively playing 2&7 as RBS and moving 5 to the slot… Seems like we can do a lot more with motion, screens etc. with him there as opposed to the backfield.

Nick M: I don’t see Wright being much better in the slot than the guys we have now. You also want three capable running backs ready to play at all times. However, I would love this staff to use Wright in the pass game. RB screens, wheel routes, motioning him into the slot etc. I don’t see him permanently moving to the slot though. 

Pan: Is the tight end position being utilized as expected based on Napier’s coaching history. I’ve only noticed Zipperer and Zanders play. Where are the rest of them, if that’s all we have then why did we pass on several tight ends last signing period.

Nick M: I don’t believe the tight end position is being utilized as much as this staff would want. The reason for that is simply a lack of talent at the position. It’s clear that Zipp and Zanders are the only two tight ends that this staff is comfortable playing. There also just hasn’t been much of a receiving threat at all this season. If the passing attack improves, you’ll see an uptick in their numbers. 

G8trGr8t: How can they preach a program with discipline and then let Dean and others showboat out there after the 8th play of another long drive?

Is our LB natural instinct/talent that void or is there a coaching problem or a personnel problem

WTH do they play so soft on db play, especially with Kimbers now playing. Kimber and Marshall should never be more than 3 feet from their guys. let the safeties help with the run or cover the TE, those 2 can go man and play. coordinate the hell out of the other 9 guys but leave them two the puck alone and let them play

Nick M: That’s just who Dean is as a person and a player, that isn’t going to stop. As long as he’s not receiving penalties for showboating, I don’t see the big issue. Napier got onto Etienne after his touchdown run against USF because he spiked the ball. This team hasn’t had many personal fouls or unsportsmanlike conducts this season, that alone is an upgrade from last season. 

As I mentioned earlier, there’s advantages to playing off the WR in certain situations, it allows you to look for the ball and make a play on it. Gators have an interception in every game this season. I think the pass defense has been pretty good to this point in, Tennessee will be another test for the defensive backs. 

GatorDon: Should Napier reconsider his decision to also being the OC?

He won’t reconsider that. Napier is going to call plays at Florida. He may bring in another guy to help him out, but Napier is calling the plays. I also don’t believe the majority of Florida’s struggles have been because of play calling or game plans. There are some things I want to see differently, but Napier’s play calling has been good enough for this team to be 3-0, the Gators just didn’t execute. 


Nick Marcinko
Nick is a recent graduate from the University of Florida with a degree in Telecommunications. He is passionate about all sports but specifically baseball and football. Nick interned at Inside the Gators and worked part time with Knights247 before joining the Gator Country family. Nick enjoys spending his free time golfing and at the beach.