‘Perfect timing’ leads Florida receivers coach Keary Colbert to opportunity with former colleague Billy Napier – The Athletic

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — College football practice essentially functions like a roundabout, with co-workers inevitably coming in, out, and reappearing. Thus, it marked a beneficial moment in Keary Colbert’s career when he found himself in a Tuscaloosa boardroom with Billy Napier in the spring of 2014.

Colbert had given up his job as a post coach at Georgia State to become an analyst at Alabama, a move that came about at the behest of Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who had coached Colbert at USC from 2000 to 2003.

Working within the Nick Saban process proved quite the learning curve for countless people in the profession, Colbert learned from an unexpected mentor in Napier, who was Alabama’s receivers coach.

“The most prepared guy ever,” said Colbert.

Managing quality control for Napier meant diving into hours of cinematic work, whether it was evaluating Alabama personnel or diving into deep scouting of opponents. Because analysts aren’t allowed to actively recruit or coach players during practices and games, Colbert said those positions are where “you earn your stripes” inside the football building.

“Being in his bedroom and listening to him lead meetings, present and coach his guys. To see how he plans and works his tail in recruiting, on the pitch, off the pitch, everything, I got first-hand experience for two years,” Colbert said. “It was great. At the end of the day, it was probably the best of my coaching career from a growth point of view.

Alabama went 26-3 in Colbert’s two seasons there, won back-to-back SEC titles and made back-to-back college football playoff appearances, beating Clemson for the national championship in 2015. Behind the scenes, Colbert worked with seven future NFL receivers, including first-rounders Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley.