If you thought that, after yet another offensive embarassment against Mississippi State, we might finally get some answers out of Steve Addazio, or a change in attitude, or a sign of change on offense, then prepare to be sorely disappointed. Addazio’s latest press conference looked pretty much like all the rest of them. One third dedicated to talking about how well things are going, one third dedicated to failed logic, and one third dedicated to talking down to the fans as if they don’t know anything. So let’s break the interview down…
00:00 – 1:00 Addazio makes excuses for the offensive line, tells us they’re not playing poorly, and explains to us the basics of why sacks happen. Mississippi State was not sending overload blitzes. They weren’t sending more guys than we could block, we just weren’t making the right reads in our blitz pickups. Earlier in the week Steve Addazio was asked about our issues with blitz pickup and he said simply “we’re fine”.
As I watched Mike Gillislee run across the front of Brantley to block nobody while the sole blitzing linebacker came through completely unblocked on the side he had vacated for yet another sack it became readily apparent to everyone outside of Steve Addazio that we were not fine in this respect. They sent 5 on that play, and we had 6 in to block, yet someone came through unblocked. That is a scheming issue and we all know who is in charge of our scheme. Mississippi State wasn’t overloading us with their blitzes, they were outsmarting us with them.
1:01 – 2:20 Addazio talks about “staying on schedule” to avoid 3rd and long situations. If you’ll recall, almost a month ago I talked about the way that Addazio’s stubborn over-use of this philosophy is one of the root of the problems for the Gator offense. Not once, but twice.
1st and 10 becomes 2nd and 6. 2nd and 6 becomes 3rd and 2. 3rd and 2 becomes 1st and 10. That’s the idea. The problem, Steve, is that defensive coordinators know that your goal on 1st down is to get 4 yards, so that’s what they defend. So now your safe 4 yard play becomes a 1 yard play, and we’re putting ourselves in long yardage situations anyway. 58 times this year Florida has run for 2 yards or less on 1st down.
What needs to happen, and I’ve been harping on this from day one, is that sometimes you need to try and get 40 yards on 1st down rather than 4. The defense is loading up the box so much that a 4 yard run is no more likely to be successful than a long pass play is. The difference is that when we waste a 1st or second down play with a 1 yard run, we’ve accomplished nothing. When we “waste” a long pass attempt with an incompletion, at least we’ve accomplished something by telling the defense that they’re going to need to back off some or it’s going to hurt them.
We saw Mississippi State do it against us last week. On 1st and 10, they completed a deep corner route for a 35 yard gain. On the next 1st and 10 they ran the ball up the middle, and it wasn’t until the running back was 20 yards downfield that our safety, Will Hill, finally came into the picture.
These are football fundamentals here. You can’t play the field like it’s 10 yards long every play because then the defense can play the field the same way, and you’re running plays that are just as likely to fail as the long ones, only with a much smaller payoff if they do work. Ron Zook had this same problem. The biggest difference between our explosive 2007 offense and our putrid 2010 offense is not Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, or offensive line play. The biggest difference is downfield pass attempts.
2:21 – 3:00 Addazio tells us about more players that are playing well, and more “good plays” that are happening. Nobody is fooled.
Perhaps the most infuriating thing about these interviews is the air of arrogance with which Addazio conducts them. He thinks the fans are idiots. Newsflash Steve, the type of people who take the time to watch your press conferences are no the casual football fan that thinks every play we don’t score on is a bad play.
He tells us that everything is ok, as if he believes that when we hear the offensive coordinator of the team say something, it’s going to mean more to us than what we see on the field just because of who it is. He explains to us basic football concepts as if we just couldn’t possibly comprehend all the intricacies of football to the extent that he does.
Then, on the flipside, he shows no ability to grasp many of those basic concepts himself. I’ve touched on them many times on this site. Predictability, stretching the field, adjusting a gameplan, designing routes with a purpose, and using players to their strengths. These are all basic fundamental football concepts that, quite frankly, appear to be beyond Steve Addazio’s level of comprehension. There are intramural football players at UF that draw up better route design in their plays than Steve Addazio does.
Let’s put it this way. If I met Steve Addazio without knowing who he was, and listened to him talk about these games with no mention of the issues I brought up above, I would not think he was anything more than a casual football fan who flipped the TV on on Saturday’s but didn’t really follow the intricacies of the game much. There is no way that I would ever predict he was actually someone who had been involved in football for years, and certainly not someone who was doing it for a huge program like the University of Florida.
This whole situation has really opened my eyes. Steve Addazio was promoted to our offensive coordinator position because he knows how to run a practice, and because he knows how to teach technique to offensive linemen. As far as designing plays, calling plays, and scheming an offense goes, Steve Addazio is no more qualified, and certainly no better, than a handful of hardcore football gurus you could find off the street.