Shane Matthews now works as an analyst on the Gator Radio Network.

Talking Gators football with Shane Matthews

Shane Matthews was an accomplished college quarterback for the Gators and 13-year NFL veteran, but he’s also a UF Warrington College of Business graduate.

Matthews (BSBA ’92) capped his Florida career with 74 touchdowns and more than 9,000 passing yards while being named SEC Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991, when he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Matthews signed with the Chicago Bears in 1993 and played for six different teams throughout his NFL career.

Today, Matthews is still around the game he loves. He works for a sporting goods company that sells gear to high school and travel teams around the southeast. He also works as the quarterbacks coach for the Orlando Guardians in the XFL. One year ago, he added a new role that was especially meaningful to him – analyst on the Gator Radio Network.

Matthews spoke with us about his role with the Florida football broadcasts and his expectations for this year’s team.

Q: How much did you enjoy your first full year in the radio booth?

Matthews: “I enjoyed it a lot. I called all the away games during the COVID season in 2020 and they asked me to do it full time. I had no experience before 2020, and I was surprised and appreciative that they called. It’s been a lot of fun. I got to do some games with Mick Hubert before he retired, then Sean Kelly came in and we had a good transition and got along well. I think it’ll be even better chemistry on the air for us in year two.”

Q: What are your overall thoughts on this year’s Florida team?

Matthews: “I expect them to win a minimum of eight games. I think they’ll be much better than last year. Obviously in each of the last two years, we’ve won six games each. But if you look at last year’s team, the best players on the team were ones that Napier was responsible for bringing in. He added more of his players this offseason through his evaluation process. He knows what he’s doing. He has a plan, and he’s put together a team that I really think can win at least eight games.”

Q: What is the biggest question mark for this team?

Matthews: “The biggest problem I’ve seen in recent years is in the defensive front seven (defensive line and linebackers). If they can play to an SEC level and what we’re used to seeing out of a Florida defense, I think this team can have a heck of a year.”

Q: Florida added Wisconsin quarterback transfer Graham Mertz in the offseason, and he will start at quarterback. What are your expectations of him?

Matthews: “I like him a lot. I talked to several coaches around the country that I know and respect, and they all really liked him as a prospect out of high school. What he did at Wisconsin doesn’t matter at all for what he’ll do here. Nobody has really had much success playing quarterback there. He’s a highly touted quarterback, very football savvy. He’s accurate with the ball. I think he’ll be just fine.”

Q: What are your overall thoughts on Napier?

Matthews: “I love Billy Napier. I think the world of him. He’s a really good person, down to earth. He’s humble. He truly has a plan for his program. I think he’s going to get the program back to where it should be.”

Q: What would you consider to be progress in year two under Napier?

Matthews: “Winning games matters the most, especially after a lot of close losses last year. I think the way he structures the program in year two is important since he’ll have more of his players. There are 53 new players on this roster. That’s a lot, but they’re his type of players and that will translate into wins.”