MONDAY HUDDLE: Patience might already be wearing thin for Florida Gators fans over Billy Napier

Seminoles survive against Hurricanes, Lake Mary rallies to avoid upset in prep playoffs

Florida head coach Billy Napier watches play during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) (John Raoux, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Huddle up! Here’s a look back at this weekend on the gridiron, with three key takeaways from the state’s football scene -- and a glimpse at what’s to come next week.

Awful defensive performance by Florida leads to more questions about Napier

It was a new low for the Florida Gators on Saturday in a 52-35 loss at LSU.

The Gators gave up an astonishing 701 yards of total offense in the loss, which was a program record for yards allowed.

Now sitting at 5-5 and with bowl-eligibility a tall task with games at Missouri and against Florida State to end the regular season, the ire against second-year head coach Billy Napier keeps growing.

One on hand, it’s understandable to preach patience since it is only Napier’s second year.

But on the other, in this era of the transfer portal and NIL money that makes it easier to engineer turnarounds quicker, Florida fans have reason to be upset.

The angst for Florida fans might grow louder given what Texas A&M did on Sunday when it fired head coach Jimbo Fisher.

Texas A&M and its boosters stunned the college football world by agreeing to buyout Fisher’s mammoth contract and pay him $76 million to NOT coach.

Florida fans might be looking at that saying if Texas A&M went to such lengths to part ways with its coach, how patient should we be with Napier?

The next two weeks might prove to be critical for Napier’s future.

Seminoles hold off Hurricanes

For a while on Saturday, Florida State fans might have been clenching their teeth and having flashback to the 1980s.

Miami ruined the national championship hopes of Florida State several times back then, and looked like it was going to do so again with a 13-10 lead in the third quarter.

But Florida State showed some resolve, scoring 17 unanswered points and then holding off the Hurricanes late in a 27-20 win.

It was another survive-and-advance type of game for Florida State, which should get a breather this week with a nonconference game against North Alabama.

Top-ranked Lake Mary barely avoids stunning upset

There was nearly a stunner in the first round of the prep football playoffs on Friday, with unbeaten and No. 1-ranked Lake Mary trailing for most of the game against a Boone team that entered 5-5.

But a late touchdown and an interception with more than a minute left helped Lake Mary earn a 42-38 victory.

Ranked No. 1 in Class 4 Metro and the top seed in Region 1, Lake Mary advanced to host Jacksonville Mandarin in the second round on Friday. Lake Mary beat Mandarin in September, 34-16.

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.