What Florida coach Billy Napier said about Patrick Toney before both left Louisiana
Toney was just 30 years old during UL’s 2020 season, his first as a defensive coordinator. On Monday, Florida named him its new defensive co-coordinator and safeties coach.
“Patrick works hard, man,” Napier, a former receivers coach at Alabama under Nick Saban and former offensive coordinator at Clemson and Arizona State, said after UL’s Sun Belt Conference championship game-win over Appalachian State on Saturday.
“I’ve been around a lot of coaches, right? I mean, I’ve worked in some of the best programs in the entire country. I’ve worked in some of the best programs in the entire country. I’ve worked with not only with some of the best head coaches but – it gets overlooked – (also) some of the best assistant coaches you get a chance to be around. And this guy … he knows what he’s doing.”
Toney got his start as an offensive high school and junior college assistant coach in his native California.
He spent three year working under Ron Roberts at Southeastern Louisiana, including a 2014 season spent as safeties coach and special teams coordinator.
Toney, who also received a defensive coordinator offer from Texas Tech earlier this season, was Sam Houston State’s secondary coach in 2015 and UTSA’s safeties from 2016-17.
He joined Napier’s first UL staff in 2018 as safeties coach, when Roberts was defensive coordinator, and when Roberts left for Baylor two seasons later Napier promoted Toney to defensive coordinator/outside linebackers coach.
Toney's 2021 New Orleans Bowl-bound UL defense allows 18.31 points per game, 11th among FBS leaders.
“He was trained by an outstanding football coach in Ron Roberts, who is doing a terrific job at Baylor,” Napier said. “And there was no question. It took 30 seconds, five minutes, when Ron left to make the call to P.T.”
Napier was quick to bring Toney to Florida too, hiring him along with running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, strength coach Mark Hock and offensive analyst Ryan O'Hara from the Cajuns’ staff even before he made the full-time move from No. 17 UL to Florida.
“He’s done a great job schematically,” Napier said. “More importantly, he’s done a great job leading, his ability to have relationships with the players.
“He cares about the players. He works hard to get to know them. He’s a great teacher. And he continues to evolve. Man, this guy’s working around the clock. So, I’m proud of P.T. He’s made me better. … He’s a heck of a football coach. We’re gonna be telling stories about this guy one day.”
New Cajuns coach Michael Desormeaux has not yet announced who will succeed Toney.