Florida made drastic changes on the defensive side of the ball with the hiring of secondary coach Will Harris, defensive line coach Gerald Chatman, and linebackers coach Ron Roberts following the Gators’ 5-7 2023 season. Up until this point, no offensive coaching changes have been made. In fact, the Gators extended offensive line coaches Rob Sale, Darnell Stapleton, and running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, whose contracts expired on January 31st, Napier confirmed during Wednesday’s press conference.
Even with the extensions, Napier didn’t deny the possibility of adding an offensive coach to the staff, although he didn’t specify whether the potential hires would be on the field or off.
“So offensively, I think that we will, we may have different titles and responsibilities within that group of people,” Napier said on potential offensive coaching changes. “There could be an addition or two, we’ve shuffled the deck a little bit in terms of those things, but ultimately we’ll keep the same system and keep moving forward in that regard.”
Napier was directly asked about Florida’s play calling duties for the 2024 season.
“We’re in the process of defining those roles is what I would say, and I think we’re working our way through that,” Napier said on Florida’s offensive play calling in 2024. “I do think that we will, there’ll be different responsibilities to some degree, you know, I think you’ll see, we’ll probably talk more specific about that in the future.
“That is to be determined is what I would say,” Napier added. “You know, I think we’ve got time to figure those things out. But I mean, I don’t see any major overhauls outside of just how we organize that group and how we operate in house.”
Although Napier didn’t confirm whether he will be Florida’s play caller in 2024, he did say that tight ends coach Russ Callaway will take more responsibility in the future.
“I’ve worked closely with him for a year. I think ultimately, he’s a guy that obviously is going to acquire more responsibility,” Napier said on how Callaway can help with the offense. “How we define that, you know, I think we’ll work our way through that. Ultimately, Russ is a heck of a young coach. And much like me, he’s worked on defense in the past as a young coach, he’s called plays at different levels, played quarterback, has the leadership components, has the respect of the players. So, Russ is a guy that we certainly are excited about. And you know, he definitely in the future will acquire more responsibility.”
Callaway is an experienced coach at the collegiate and NFL level, arriving in Gainesville after spending the 2021 season with the New York Giants, serving as an offensive assistant, and the 2020 season as a senior offensive assistant and analyst at LSU. His resume also includes stints with at Alabama and Samford. He spent five seasons at Samford where he served as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2016-19.
It doesn’t appear as if Florida is going to reach outside of their organization for an offensive coordinator / play caller. Callaway seems to be the top candidate for the play calling responsibility shall Napier step down from his current role.