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Billy Napier Doubted by Fans After Oregon State Routs Florida in Las Vegas Bowl

Erin WalshDecember 17, 2022

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 17: Head coach Billy Napier of the Florida Gators on the field as his team warms up before the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl against the Oregon State Beavers at Allegiant Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
David Becker/Getty Images

The Florida Gators fell to the Oregon State Beavers 30-3 on Saturday in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl, finishing the year with a 6-7 record in Billy Napier's first season as head coach.

Florida kicked a field goal with just seconds remaining on the clock to record its only points of the game.

The Gators were short-handed Saturday, with the biggest loss being quarterback Anthony Richardson, who opted out and declared for the 2023 NFL draft. However, the team's performance as a whole was still unacceptable.

Quarterback Jack Miller III completed just 13 of 22 passes for 180 yards. Running backs Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson Jr. each rushed for just 14 yards, and wide receiver Ricky Pearsall caught four passes for 65 yards.

The offense was hideous, but the defense wasn't much better, allowing Oregon State to total 353 yards.

With Napier's squad putting together a disappointing performance Saturday, and for much of the season, Twitter questioned whether the Gators made the right decision in hiring him to replace Dan Mullen.

Andrew O'Brien @aobrien7

I'm not sold on Billy Napier as a coach— and he'll get next season — but losing every rivalry game, losing to Vandy, losing to Kentucky, barely beating USF and blowing the 435-game streak of not being shutout would be a horrific start to his <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gators?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gators</a> tenure.

Matt Baker @MBakerTBTimes

Thus, mercifully, ends Billy Napier's first season. Back-to-back losing seasons for Florida for the first time since 78-79. What happens over the next few weeks will go a long way in determining what a turnaround might look like

Brandon Sprague @BrandonSprague

Billy Napier and Florida are a bunch of cowards 😂😂. Pathetic.

Josh Newman @Joshua_Newman

Billy Napier should get wholly crushed for kicking a field goal there.

G. Allan Taylor @GAllanTaylor

Billy Napier, now in his 20th season as a college coach, has experienced one losing season. That was a 6-7 finish in 2010 at Clemson. <br>Trailing 30-0 in the Las Vegas Bowl, the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gators?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gators</a> are staring at another one today.

Brandon Walker @BFW

Florida fans, are yall sure about Billy Napier?<br><br>Last time I'll ask.

Chris Hilling @cityonahilling

Two straight 6-7 seasons. First back-to-back losing seasons since the '70s. Needed a garbage time field goal to avoid getting shut out for the first time in 30 years. <br><br>Billy Napier better make a LOT of progress next year to prove he's worth anything as a head coach.

🏈ItsABucsLife☠️ @TampaVinny25

Billy Napier is not it. Sorry fam. It needs to be said. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoGators?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoGators</a>

Jayden sharp @ricohunter35

Billy Napier is a joke we got rid of Mullen for this ?????

Jesse Irwin @JesseeJamess15

Billy Napier is not it. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gators?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gators</a>

Before joining Florida, Napier spent four seasons at Louisiana, going 40-12 and 2-1 in bowl games.

Saturday's loss is frustrating for Florida and its fans, but Napier will likely be sticking around for longer than one season, and the Gators will be hoping the 2023 campaign goes far better.