In the era of mega conferences and NIL deals galore, the 2022 Southeastern Conference Media Days — when the country gets its first glimpse at the coaches and teams primed to take the next leap forward — looks to be one of the most hectic ever.
SEC Media Days in Atlanta begin Monday and end Thursday. Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier, redshirt sophomore quarterback Anthony Richardson, senior linebacker Ventrell Miller and junior offensive lineman Richard Gouraige will all take the mic Wednesday
The entirety of Gator nation will be listening.
Napier makes the biggest headlines for the Gators, making his first official SEC media session since departing as head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette.
The SEC can be an old boys club at times, with many of the same faces occupying the coaches panel each year. A newcomer every once in a while causes excitement within the conference.
While the media will likely grill Napier on topics like recruiting, his previous work under Nick Saban and a difficult 2022 schedule — anything is on the table. The period between spring camp and SEC Media Days is a quiet one, so the press conference will answer burning questions fans have asked since April’s Orange and Blue game. Napier has proven himself to be a cool head in front of the press before, so don’t expect any viral outbursts.
Since turning heads during his redshirt freshman season, Richardson has set himself up for a huge follow-up year. The Gainesville native owns the starting quarterback role, and he has already received plenty of buzz for a potential Hesiman-level season.
Most know of Richardson’s talent, but few members of the national media have gotten to know him personally. Richardson’s raw ability and flashy playstyle will garner attention from a media standpoint.
Miller and Gouraige don’t carry the same expectations into media days as their superstar signal caller. However, their attendance plays into an important narrative: the transition from former UF head coach Dan Mullen to Napier.
These two players started their collegiate careers with one coach and will end it with another, making them perfect candidates for all of the media’s questions. Both will provide interesting insight on similarities and differences between the two staffs to look out for.
The moment the regular season actually arrives, SEC Media Days become virtually irrelevant; all the talk fades when the teams hit the gridiron. Until that day comes, though, it’s time to analyze any crumb of information divulged.
Jackson Castellano is a second-year sports journalism student and the assistant sports editor at the Alligator. In the past, he has covered UF basketball and baseball for the Alligator and was an associate editor at ClutchPoints.