The 3 biggest questions for UF football entering the 2022 season
With Florida football’s first game against Utah still over 100 days away, there is a long period of time between now and then for the roster to change. A completely new regime has begun in Florida, with new head coach Billy Napier taking over the reins and trying to get UF back on track after a 6-7 2021 campaign. But there are still some questions with the team that need to be answered either prior to or during the season regarding Florida football, and how it will fare in the upcoming 2022 season. In this article, I will be covering the 3 biggest questions for UF in 2022, and what Florida can do to answer them.
Is Anthony Richardson going to stay healthy long-term?
The first major question that needs to be addressed this season is the medical concerns with potential star quarterback Anthony Richardson. While his talent is clearly palpable, and he has the starting role essentially guaranteed for this season, his previous injury concerns are going to be a factor that needs to be watched. For those who don’t know, Richardson suffered a meniscus injury in high school in his knee, and then “tore it off the bone” according to himself on Instagram post-injury.
On top of that, Anthony also suffered a concussion against Georgia in 2021 as well, which set him back some time to get through protocols. While there is not necessarily a fix to this at the moment, him having time to rest prior to the season is most definitely key. Getting him a stable workload through spring will be a priority for the coaching staff to get him ready for the season, which the spring game did to an extent. We will see how his health holds up over the season, and as long as it does, we will get to see him as a full-season starter for the first time in his career.
Who steps up at the WR & TE positions?
The next question for the Florida football program, is who steps up for them at wide receiver and tight end? The tight end position has been pretty much thrown up in the air after some major injuries to start the spring process. Jonathan Odom, Nick Elksnis, and Nick Wilcox have all suffered injuries, Wilcox having a career-ending injury earlier this year. With that, they would need one of Keon Zipperer or Dante Zanders to step up and make plays for the time being until the other two can return. On top of this, the receiver room, while promising, needs to figure out who the #1 is and who will be the primary playmaker. Another option is a potential transfer target in Ricky Pearsall from Arizona State, who the Gators visited with late last month. We will see how this plays out at the WR position, but watch for Justin Shorter, Xzavier Henderson, and Trent Whittemore, among others, to fill the role on the current roster.
Will Billy Napier’s scheme be able to turn the Gators around this quickly?
The final question for Florida football in 2022…can Billy Napier turn the team around that quickly? While Napier has done a phenomenal job recruiting for 2023, pushing the Gators up to 35th on 247Sports recruiting rankings, that will obviously not take effect until next season. He has also done a solid job this offseason getting 2022 recruits and transfers, but there is definitely still work to be done.
Turning around a 6-7 team in one offseason is an extremely difficult task for anyone, never mind a new head coach for a team. I have the utmost faith in Billy for the future and think he does have the potential to turn the Gators around, it is just a matter of how long it will take, and if these improvements immediately show up for this season. I expect a trend in the right direction this season, most definitely above .500 as a floor would be the hope. We will see if Billy can immediately change this whole team, or if it will take a year or two to really set in stone.