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Dooley and Company – This is on you

How many points did the player’s respect for Steve Addazio get us last night against Alabama?

All throughout the last two years of watching Addazio try and call plays, pundits have backed Addazio with two main arguments.  The first is that he is a good guy who is well loved and respected by the players and the rest of the staff.  Of course, Ron Zook was well loved and respected as well, and we saw how much that actually translates to the field with 15 losses over three seasons under Zook.  Call me crazy, but I’d rather the guy calling our plays be good at calling plays than be a good guy to have a beer with.

The other major argument that people have made is that the Gators keep winning with Addazio calling their plays, and winning is all that matters.  In fact, after the Miami OH game when I launched this site, Gainesville Sun columnist Pat Dooley publicly blasted the site and made the same argument, stating

“With Addazio as coordinator, Florida is now 14-1. I think that has to count for something.  Let’s see what happens the rest of the way. Off the ledge, people. Like I’ve said a million times, nobody suffers winning like Gator fans.”

We’ve seen what has happened now Dooley, so what say you now?

Simply put, Florida has won as much as they have in the last two years in spite of Addazio, not because of him.  Our defense wins us 11 games a year by themselves.  All our offense has had to do is win us the other one, and even with immense amounts of talent Addazio hasn’t even come close to doing that.

The short-sighted see ugly wins against bad teams and say a win is a win.  Those of us with foresight and a shred of football knowledge realize that just because running the ball up the middle 30 times works against Kentucky, doesn’t mean it will work against a real defense.  Those of us with foresight realize that our defense can’t hold our opponents to a couple scores and set up our offense with 5 drives that start inside their opponent’s 40 yard line every week, and realize that eventually our offense will actually have to do something themselves.  Those of us with foresight realize that it takes an offense AND a defense to win a national championship, and not just one of them.  Those of us with foresight realize that national championship windows are small in college football, and that every week we stick with Addazio is just another week wasted in our window.

So let’s talk about the game.  You all saw it, you all know it was bad.  But here are some more things to remind you just how bad it was.  Addazio had a great idea this week, something that was really going to catch Bama off guard and keep our offense moving.  That exciting new wrinkle was….John Brantley running the option?  Really, that was it, that was the bright idea.  So, even ignoring the fact that any one of us could have told him ahead of time that our dropback passer running the option was not going to befuddle the top defense in the nation, things were worsened when Addazio fell into Addazio pitfall #1 and continued going back to the play no matter how many times it got stuffed.

The really remarkable thing about this game however is that, while our defense certainly had thier fair share of struggles early on as well, even if they had come out and played the best game of their lives we still would have lost.  Why?  Because the offense actually scored negative points, in a manner of speaking.  The offense gave up 7 points on an interception return for a touchdown, and only put up 6 points of their own to counter it.  They were actually outscored by the Alabama defense 7-6, and that’s not even accounting for the other interception inside our own 20 that led to points.

Alabama’s offense could have come out and taken a knee on every play of the game and still won.  And in the 2nd half, that’s essentially what they did as our defense pitched a shutout and held Bama to well under 100 yards of total offense, yet still the halftime deficit only grew.

So what went so wrong that our offense couldn’t even outscore themselves?  To answer that, let’s take a look back to the keys to the game I posted lasted week and see how many of them Addazio followed.

Play like you’ve got nothing to lose

My main contention here was that Florida needed to take a few shots early on to loosen up the Alabama defense and prevent them from stacking the box and playing aggressively.  Not only did Addazio fail to take any shots downfield early on, he failed to take any shots downfield over the course of the entire game.  It’s bizarre really, how can you be down in a game 24-0 in the 2nd quarter, and spend the entire second half down by 3 or 4 scores, and still never take a single shot downfield.  The closest the Gators came was a ~20 yard pass into the endzone intended for Moore.

This was Florida’s greatest fault, as Alabama’s defense quickly adjusted to our conservative offense and began to play extremely aggressively.  So aggressively that both of our brutal interceptions came on check downs, which are supposed to be safe passes.  Alabama was so confident that we weren’t going to get vertical that even when leading by several scores, their players were jumping short checkdown routes.  That can’t happen, and if it does we’ve got to make them pay for it.

Perhaps even more frustrating was watching Florida throw a couple quick 4 yard hitches and another quick 2 yard drag on 3rd and 10 plays.  Brutal to watch, but I’m sure you all know that.

Make Adjustments

I don’t know why I even bothered listing this, since we all knew Addazio wouldn’t do it.  In fact, I’m not convinced that Addazio knows the definition of the word “adjustment”.  Florida stuck with their gameplay of HB dives and short passes no matter how futile it proved to be against the Alabama defense, and rode it all the way to a blowout loss.

Be Less Predictable

Raise your hand if you successfully predicted exactly what play Florida was going to run prior to the snap of many of their plays last night.  Ok, you all look pretty goofy right now, reading this with one of your hands in the air, so go ahead and put them back down.

I said that Addazio was going to have to get over his “stay on schedule” mentality where 2nd and 10 was an automatic run down to set up a more manageable 3rd down.  I said that I feared Addazio was too confident in that mentality after we were consistently able to run for 8 yards on 2nd and 10 against Kentucky.  I said it wouldn’t work that way against Alabama and that we’d have to throw in those situations to set up manageable 3rd downs.

So what happened?  Exactly that.  2nd and 10 continued to be an automatic run play, and just as I feared against Alabama it set up 3rd and 9s rather than 3rd and 2s.  Our longest run on a 2nd and 10 play was 4 yards, and all the rest either resulted in a loss or a 1 or 2 yard gain.  It wasn’t until the game got really out of hand that we finally started to mix things up a bit on 2nd and long, and by then it was way too late, and we were dealing with way too many other Addazio inadequacies for it to matter.

So, here we are.  We’re 4-1, and by a miracle of the schedule things are actually set up that even with this blowout loss we could still win the national championship this year if we can win out.  But we can’t do it with Addazio calling the plays and running the offense.  I told you that with this offense we could not contend with top teams more than a month ago and some of you said “let’s wait and see”.  Now you’ve seen, and by a miracle it’s still not too late, but the time for action is now.

We could have spent the weeks against USF, Kentucky, and Tennessee with a new play caller working out the kinks so we were ready for the meat of our schedule, but instead we wasted them praying that a guy we all knew was a dud would miraculously turn things around.  Now, our only option is to throw someone else into the fire and hope it sticks.  It may sound rash, and it may sound like it can’t work, but the alternative, to let Addazio continue running this team into the ground, is certainly not a better alternative.

We no longer have any margain for error.  If Addazio retains his play calling duties, then the season is over.

And really, what has Addazio ever done to qualify him to call plays?  Prior to taking over for Mullen last year Addazio hadn’t called a play since 1994…in high school.  His resume was as a good offensive line coach.  He can coach up a bunch of linemen and run them through a practice, how does that qualify a person to call plays?  Florida was hoping that with the offense already set up by Mullen, a guy with little experience calling plays could step in and pick things up where they had left off.  Clearly, that is not the case, so it’s time to get someone who is actually qualified running an offense to run the offense.

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21 comments to Dooley and Company – This is on you

  • [...] LINK __________________ Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must. –Thucydides Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it. You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. –Gandhi [...]

  • Corch

    I didn’t read anything you wrote on your website, but i agree with its premise (Addazio needs to be demoted to strictly OL coach).

    WHY DOES BRANTLEY CONTINUE TO RUN THE OPTION?????

    -he does NOT pose a threat running the ball. opposing defenses will cover the pitchman/TE on the shovel pass, etc

    also, pouncey needs to play guard. move robey (our Center for the future) in @ C.

    open up the offense, sling it around, run some pitches, screens, slants, posts, deep-routes, etc.

    moody is done. he’s a senior, cannot help us next year, and does not help us currently. he (like pouncey at center) has earned his shot/chance and now proven not consistent. moody continues to miss key blocks, drop passes, slip and fall, fail to run north/south, failt to hit the holes, etc.

    barring injury, demps and gillislee are all we need @ the rb position.

  • Bham Gator

    I was in Tuscaloosa Saturday for the game and everyone in the stadium knew that the jump pass was coming!! I am so tired of seeing that dive play on 1st down, we might as well start with 2nd and 8 and forget about 1st down all together!!! I don’t know if this idiot realizes it or not but Brantley is not an option qb and every defense in the nation knows he isn’t keeping the ball on the option!! Urban needs to take over the offense NOW or Brantley gets hurt. We will lose again if something doesn’t change!!!!

  • 93Gator

    Thanks for starting this site. I agree 110% with all the points that you are making. One thing I do want to bring up that no one else seems to want to bring up is Urban’s role in this. If we all can see how absurdly bad Addazio is from a distance, how is it possible that Urban does nothing to correct the situation? Is it loyalty? Is it incompetence? Or is it simply that Urban has lost his fire after his incident last season? Somehow Urban needs to take responsability for this situation and take some action. If he does not, i believe that would be a clear signal that he has lost his edge and it is time for him to go. Whether that is voluntary or forced. I love what Urban has done at Florida and would never want to go back to the Zook days again, but he can’t be this blatantly incompetent and suffer no consequence. Let’s hope that he wakes up before it is too late. Gator football has been hard to watch since 2009.

  • popnlocke

    I would like to see Steve Addazio demoted. He needs to go as a offensive coordinator, but do we really want to fire him? He’s helped recruit some of the best talent in the nation and he’s done a great job with our offensive linemen (besides Pouncey as a center). It would be sad to see him fired when all that needs to be done is demote him and hire someone who has a mind for playcalling. Gosh do we need a good offensive coordinator.

  • It should have been obvious by now that Addazio is not qualified to be an OC. Meyer would do the sensible thing, remove this duty and call plays himself or maybe assign the duties to another assistant. It couldn’t get much worse. But I think he is letting his friendship with Steve blind him. Plus doing so would be an admittance on his part that he was wrong to select him to replace Mullen. One’s ego is not worth losing an entire season. Maybe Meyer has loss the fire in his belly. Who knows.

  • GatorRob

    I agree with popnlocke. If Addazio is great with the OL why not move him to where he can be of help? And it’s the same story for Pouncey. He’s playing out of position. If moving him was done to improve his draft status, well alot of good that’s doing. He was Great at Rt. Guard why not let him shine there!. How many miscues is it going to take before they make an adjustment. (I counted at least 11 mis-snaps against AL and it wasn’t his worst performance) Looks like Robey doesn’t have the same problems as Pouncey. (Isn’t he the guy who has been snapping for Brantley the last two years?)

  • NSBJIM

    I agree, Addazio needs to step aside and go back to coaching our terrible O-line, WTF Pouncey! I wish we never let billy gonzalez go to LSU. He could be the OC.

  • G8r gurl

    Jay Henrey says it best: “Florida is now 20 weeks into the Addazio offense, and has only shown life against scrub defenses. His offense is not dynamic enough to stick with teams that can score and play defense.

    Florida has enough talent to scrape by most of the SEC, but when it comes to Alabama, Addazio has zero answers.

    Between his unit slipping, and the offense as a whole disappointing, it’s probably time to pull in the reigns on Addazio’s control of the team.”

    ***Pat Dooley I’m sure you like the Zooker too, I like Ron Zook at Illinos thanks for keeping Urban Meyers spot warm.

  • Nancy

    Meyer and Addazio both had that deer in the headlights look during certain moments on the sidelines at the FL/AL game. Like one of the comments above, I don’t let Meyer so easily off the hook. As an analogy, what president of a company would allow one of his employees to negatively affect half his company’s production due to inexperience and/or incompetence…unless of course the president had some major blind spot to that incompetence?? While we’re all wringing our hands over Addazio’s lack of offensive play calling skills, perhaps we should be as much or more concerned with the fact that Meyer doesn’t seem to have a problem with it!! Tebow and Harvin were just terrific football players no matter their coach, though even Tebow lost some effectiveness while under Addazio’s ‘play calling’. Having said that, perhaps neither Meyer or Addazio is truly capable of managing, maturing and best utilizing their stable of allstar recruits. Kudos for the recruits…now stop wasting them! Is it just me or does anyone else notice how certain guys pop into games for a spell and then you never see them again’tillllll ….maybe a whole game later. I’ve found myself saying, “Oh, this must be the Dubose quarter. … Yeah, guess this is the Demps up the middle series.” Bottom line, I blame Addazio and Meyer equally and actually put the greater burden on Meyer because he’s the one with the most authority. Side thought – Meyer and Addazio may not know exactly how to best utilize Brantley, but I bet Spurrier would give his eye tooth for him. haha
    Signed – Frustrated Swamplifer

  • travy

    no doubt addazio is clearly the biggest problem but like others i think it’s beyond him. meyer seems dazed and out of it. his eyes are tired and distant. his answers to reporters question are programmed and monotonous. hell, our whole team is sleepwalking but it’s difficult to blame them when they are getting so little from their coaches. i don’t know if it’s a hangover from the media circus of the last few years or everyone still feeling shell-shocked by the head coach quitting on us, but something is up in gainesville and until we get our heads out of our asses we will continue to frustrate.

  • GtrNtn88

    I did not care for aDUHzzio’s playing calling last year and I sure as hell do not care for it this year. The playing calling lacks the creativity and balls that Mullen and Spurrier had with this kind of talent. He needs to step aside and coach the OL and find a coach that can teach Pouncey how to center the ball; cause he sure ain’t doing it!

  • G8r gurl

    The 49ers changed offensive coordinators mid-seasonwhy can’t we?

  • I hate to say it, and I know I risk shouts of “Blasphemy!” from the faithful, but is it possible that Urban is not the coach we think he is? I mean, Dan Mullen has been linked to Urban since Notre Dame and has followed him during what has been a fairly meteoric rise. He was offensive coordinator for both of Urban’s national championsips and QB coach at Utah for Alex Smith’s rise to prominence.

    He leaves for his own HC job, and we get Addazio. The rest is history. Painful, maddening history.

    Maybe I am wrong, and I hope I am, but it certainly wouldn’t be the first time an OC made a HC look better than he was.

  • brandon

    i couldn’t agree more….as a lifelong gator fan i’m not sure i’ve ever seen the offense this bad, even under zook. something has to be done or this season is over, and so is next season since apparently urban can’t see how horrid the situation is.

  • Scottyuf

    Thank you for this site and thank you for you posts. You all have been saying what my family, friends and I have thought since last year. Something needs to be done before we waste our good recruits. Foley where you at? You are the biggest gator fan of all!

  • Sinatra

    Word on the street; he’s not that well liked among the players.

  • Just let them drop a couple more games and you will see just exactly how not well liked he is.

  • gatorhead fred

    “Whenever you see him running the option you know he’s not going to run the ball,” Alabama safety Mark Barron said.

    A painfully obvious comment made about the lack of creativity in designing and calling plays for Brantley’s strong points as a passer. The “option” is no longer effective if the opposing defense can reliably predict the choice you repeatedly are going to make. How is it that an opposing player can publicly make a comment that he knows is no secret and Addazio seems to be completely unaware of it? Addazio is saving opposing teams a lot of money on scouting.

  • cantcatchuf

    This site is even more important now that the LSU game went to hell.

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