Florida Football: The idea that Billy Napier will take his time filling positions on the Florida football staff has gained traction this offseason. He took his time appointing Gerald Chatman as the defensive line coach and Will Harris as the coach of the defensive backs.
Whether or not he will appoint an offensive coordinator is one of the more intriguing questions. UNLV‘s Brennan Marion is one name that Gator supporters are speculating about.
But is Marion a good fit for Gainesville, and who is he?
Florida Gators Football: Let’s Go!
We want to be clear about this: unlike the Willy Korn profile we produced, Marion’s appointment as Florida’s OC is not officially announced. However, it has become clear that many fans had him high on their wish list based on the response he received on social media last night during UNLV’s bowl game versus Kansas.
Marion’s first two seasons with Tulsa were spent as a wide receiver. All he knew how to do there was make big plays. In just two seasons, Marion amassed 2,356 receiving yards on just 82 receptions, for an incredible 28.7 yards per reception.
Marion, who is 36 years old, has already experienced a lot while instructing. He began his high school career at Waynesboro High School in Pennsylvania after attending Saint Patrick’s Saint Vincent in California. Before joining UNLV as the offensive coordinator this season, he made stops at Arizona State, Oklahoma Baptist, Howard, William and Mary, Hawaii, Pittsburgh, and Texas.
Marion is well-known for employing the GoGo offense, which is most known for producing unbalanced formations such as putting two running backs on the same side of the quarterback in the backfield. Despite being 45-point favorites when he unveiled his offense at Howard, the Bison defeated UNLV in a historic victory in 2017.
This season, UNLV’s attack was not dependent on long balls, much like Florida’s was under Billy Napier. This season, UNLV attempted 141 passes ranging from zero to nine yards, but just 51 of those throws were beyond 20 yards. Florida attempted 124 short passes and only went deep 40 times.
In 2023, UNLV used play action far more than the Gators (35% vs. 44%). The second notable distinction was their willingness to work medium-depth routes, which may have resulted from play action. In 2023, UNLV attempted 94 throws between 10 and 19 yards, compared to 68 attempts by the Gators at that same depth.
With his GoGo offense, UNLV ranked 21st and 22nd in the nation in points per game. Despite UNLV’s triple-option offense, UNLV’s rushing totals were mediocre.
The offensive coordinator at Liberty, Korn, has been the subject of much controversy. In the Fiesta Bowl, the Flames will play Oregon. Napier seems to be the betting favorite because of his prior collaboration with Korn.
As we have stated from the beginning, Marion’s name, like Korn’s, is currently only a wish list item for Gator enthusiasts.
To hire an offensive coordinator, Napier must fire another assistant coach. If Napier had to make room, Darnell Stapleton would be the last to go.
Remember, Napier’s decision to appoint an OC is not certain. Based on November’s results, he might think 2023 wasn’t about offense.
Considering that Napier has neglected game management issues during his tenure, Florida Hail believes hiring an OC would be the best course of action.
But if Napier does have someone in mind, we have a suspicion that, similar to his other staff appointments, he will make the hiring decision based on his timeframe rather than the timeline of supporters.