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Florida flashed Billy Napier’s desired situational expertise, “legendary finish” against Utah

The Gators didn’t do everything right against Utah. What they did do well was enough for a huge win.

NCAA Football: Utah at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Well, you couldn’t start much better than that.

Billy Napier began his Florida career — the regular-season part of it, anyway — with a top-10 win in a night game at The Swamp. Pretty good way to kick things off in your first season, and while the result was obviously nice in and of itself, this game will also help Napier and his staff sell their vision to both fans and players alike.

It was only one game, but a lot of the things that Napier has been selling came to fruition. For example: Napier wanted his team to be situational experts.

One of the situations he really put a premium on when talking at clinics this offseason was “Four-Point Plays.” The “Four-Point Play” term is one that Napier stole from Bill Belichick: Basically, these plays are the ones that extend drives in the red zone and allow you to score touchdowns instead of field goals. During his clinic talks, Napier lauded his Louisiana teams for being especially good at these types of plays, and credited much of that success to earning third or fourth and short downs, which they converted at an extremely high clip.

These “Four Point Plays’’ showed up in a big way against Utah. The Gators turned all of their red zone trips into touchdowns, going three for three in the red zone. Utah, on the other hand, scored three touchdowns in the red area, but also sputtered to two turnovers and two field goal attempts.

The Gators’ Sean “Coach Chaos” Spencer told his defensive line to hold the line during the game: “Make them kick field goals, they won’t win kicking field goals.” If those threes were turned into sevens, the Gators aren’t feeling so good today.

Another part of Napier’s formula to win that he disclosed this offseason was “Legendary Finish.” This was about winning the fourth quarter. Napier has an unbelievable record in one-score games — he’s 1-0 at Florida, obviously, but also lost just two such games after his first month at Louisiana — and this is surely a part of it. (There is also probably some luck involved. We can be honest about this.)

Florida scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, and was able to (just barely) hold Utah to a single touchdown. And if you were looking for a “Legendary Finish,” I think Amari Burney sealing the game with a diving interception that will be talked about for a long time qualifies even by the Napier program’s specific definition of the term.

While the game went somewhat according to Napier’s plan, the Gators were not perfect, something Napier himself harped on in his Monday press conference. Specifically, there were some gap integrity issues on defense and a few other things that need to be cleaned up.

In the video below, though, I go through the good and the bad from Week One — and I think there was a lot more good than bad. And when considering the quality of the opponent, that bodes really well for the future of the Gators and Billy Napier.