When: Thursday, April 13, 7:30 ET
How to watch: SECN+/ESPN+
While almost every big football program is having its spring football game on an upcoming Saturday, Billy Napier and the Florida Gators will play their orange and blue game on Thursday night instead.
With no other major football programs playing on Thursday, the Gators will have the full attention of the college football community, and many will be looking for the answers to some burning questions.
No question is bigger in Florida than the quarterback battle.
Anthony Richardson shocked the program when he announced his decision to enter the NFL draft. And backup QB Jalen Kitna was dismissed by the team after being arrested on heinous charges.
This left the quarterback room pretty empty in Gainsville and left Billy Napier no choice other than to attack the transfer portal.
The Gators landed Graham Mertz from Wisconsin, in a slightly underwhelming move for fans who were hoping for a bigger name. He has been competing with Jack Miller for the QB1 position through the spring.
Fans are hoping that Graham Mertz's troubles in Wisconsin were not his fault. But the fault of an unfriendly quarterback system and he can flourish under Billy Napier.
The orange and blue game won't give us a definitive answer at quarterback. But may give us an insight into who is leading the race for QB1.
Whoever wins that quarterback battle will spend a lot of the season handing the ball off.
Trevor Etienne and Montrell Johnson are two dynamic, playmaking running backs who will carry the offense this year with a two-headed rushing attack. Expect them to get the crowd fired up with big plays this Thursday.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Gators are going through a lot of change.
Austin Armstrong enters his first year as defensive coordinator in Gainsville. However, he will be without many key pieces from last year's somewhat rocky defensive unit.
The heart and soul of the defense — Ventrell Miller — is gone. As are Gervon Dexter and Trey Dean.
Meaning there are many spots needing to be filled all over the defense.
Depth was an issue last year for the Gators. So, now without the key starters, the spring game will be key for Austin Armstrong to gauge who his starters for the upcoming season may be.
The Florida Gators football program is deep-rooted with championship success. So, with two consecutive 6-7 seasons and no bowl win since 2019, it's not unsurprising to see the Gator faithful growing impatient.
With the program being pumped with money, Billy Napier must restore the Gators to a winning season at the very minimum.
For as unfair as it may be, his job may depend on it.
A good spring game showing, with all of the college football community watching, is as good as any time to kick off a successful campaign.