I feel like I’ve been a pretty rational person throughout the life of this site. As Addazio has run our offense and our program into the ground, I have sat back and calmly dictated the mistakes he was making from a football standpoint. I’m done with that. Nothing has changed, nothing has gotten better, and I’m just going to come right out and say it.
Steve Addazio is selfish.
There, I said it. Addazio has to know that he’s a bad offensive coordinator. No rational person could have watched this team over the last several months and think otherwise. We have loads of talented players on offense. NFL players that are going to miss out on millions of dollars because of the way Addazio misuses them and fails to help them translate their athleticism into football talent. Carl Moore is an NFL wide receiver, but no one in the NFL will ever know it because he’s not given a chance. Yet Addazio is content to go on, collecting his (probably large) paycheck while the fans and the players suffer at the hands of his ineptitude.
Steve Addazio, we as Gator nation ask you – no, beg you – to step down from your duties as offensive coordinator. Urban is your friend, don’t put him in the position of having to fire his friend. At this point as a perfectly sane individual you HAVE to realize that you can’t get the job done as offensive coordinator. Every day you stay in that position is just one day closer to you getting fired outright. If you step down now, you can save some face and keep your job as offensive line coach. You would finally get to do something that you’re comfortable with again, and the fans and players would be spared your inadequacies as a play-caller. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
So on to the LSU game. I could break down this game like I usually do. I could go on about the same tired issues that our offense continues to have with no signs of change. I could go on about how after a huge stop by our defense and a bad punt, with the crowd finally back in the game, our offense responds by running yet another bubble screen for a 4 yard loss to take them right back out of it. I could talk about how we still refuse to spread the field vertically and keep the defense (who was unabashedly stacking the box while our receivers sat 1 on 1 outside) honest. I could go on about how the Brantley “option” (AKA Brantley toss) play got demolished by a real defense yet again. I could tell you that Mike “grades out as a champion every week” Pouncey once again got manhandled at center. But you know what? We’ve been through all this before. It’s the same stuff as it’s always been. Every prediction and every criticism that we’ve made on this site since day one has been correct, and none of it has changed.
The really sad thing about this game is that some people are going to ignore how poorly the offense played because of how the game ended (with our defense getting beat). Let’s be real here people, our defense never should have been in that position, and never would have been if our offense could put together more than one real scoring drive a game. Our four scores tonight came off of two turnovers forced by the defense inside the LSU 20, a kickoff return for a touchdown, and the one good drive at the end of the game. 60 minutes, one good scoring drive. That does not win you football games, and it never will. I said at the beginning of the year that the offense was going to have to contribute (rather than just soley relying on the defense) once we got into the meat of our schedule. They haven’t, and the outcomes have been just as we expected.
And you know what the biggest slap in the face was with all of this? We had the ball, 1st and 10, with 3 minutes left in the half. After running our standard HB dive for 2 yards, LSU called a timeout to stop the clock. That’s right, they were so confident that our offense couldn’t pick up a first down that with THREE MINUTES left in the half they were willing to call timeouts to stop the clock. They disrespected us like that, and what did we do to make them pay? Almost get a safety on a horrible option play call that got mauled in the backfield for a near safety as Champion Pouncey laid on the ground looking backwards.
The crowd was great tonight, as loud as ever. Everyone wanted a win. And you know, people in the stands (though still not in the media) are starting to recognize more and more what we’ve all been saying on this website for the last few months. In the 4th quarter, the offense was boo’ed multiple times after questionable playcalls. It’s a good thing that our offensive talent bailed Addazio out with that long catch and run to Moore after Addazio had backed them into a corner on 3rd and 8 after two extremely predictable playcalls on 1st and 2nd down.
I also was pleased to look around the stadium and see the sign pictured above. The media, if they would even recognize it, would say that that guy is “not a true fan”. I disagree. That guy is a hero, because he’s willing to stand up and say what they’re not. And once again, listening to the post game presser on the drive home, there was no mention made of the problems we have with our offensive coordinator.
The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have it. The fans have taken that step. The coaches and the media have not. We have to spread the word. Our NC dreams are likely gone but we can still win the SEC. But we will never win it with Addazio, so hit up that Twitter, hit up Facebook, hit up campus with fliers, and do whatever you have to to spread the word. Save Gator Football.
They say that the first step to fixing a problem is admitting that you have one. If that’s the case, we are screwed.
You would think that, with as obvious as many of the Gator offense’s issues are to thousands of Gator fans across the country, they would be even more obvious to our offensive coordinator, right? Well, if you were hoping we would learn something from our shalacking in Tuscaloosa and start fixing some of these problems, the words out of Addazio’s mouth seem to indicate that you’re due for a letdown.
Addazio does not recognize that there is a problem. According to him, Brantley runs the option well and will continue to run the option going forward (he cites an average of 5 yards gained on option plays, but fails to realize that a play averaging 10 yards against Kentucky and 1 yard against Alabama does not help us), Pouncey is snapping the ball as well as any other player has in his time at Florida, and there was a lot of good to take from the offense in the Alabama game.
You can see his take on a few of these issues in this video interview, but please be warned that you may want to punch your computer screen while watching it.
The really scary part of this video is the complete disbelief and shock that Addazio reacts with when asked if he has considered moving Pouncey back to guard. You can tell from his reaction that he was genuinely shocked that someone would even suggest it, and that the thought had never even crossed his mind.
Look, I know that every snap isn’t going to be perfect. The snaps against Alabama, however, were certainly not “all in the norm” as he suggests. And let’s be honest here, even if Pouncey’s dad were making the decision the thought would have at least crossed his mind that he may need to be moved back to guard.
I understand that Florida prefers to have their best lineman at center to run the spread offense, but the complete shock on Addazio’s face really has to make you wonder how many more of these seemingly obvious problems he is completely unaware of. Does he have no idea that teams know he’s going to run the ball on 2nd and 10? Is he completely unaware that teams are able to play aggressively against the short game because they’re not being challenged downfield? From what I’m seeing out of Steve’s comments after these games, combined with the lack of adjustments being made, that scary thought may just be reality.
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.
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.
As Gators, we find ourselves in an interesting position this week heading into the Alabama game. A position we haven’t been in in quite a while. That is, for the first time in a long time, we’ve got nothing to lose.
For the first time in 40 games, the Gators are underdogs (and 9 point dogs at that). Nobody expects us to beat Alabama on Saturday, and even if we do lose, it won’t feel like the end of our season like it normally does. Realistically, Alabama will probably win the SEC West, meaning to go undefeated this year we would have to beat them twice. As unlikely as that is to happen, so long as we win the one that matters, it should be just as good. I know everyone feels like this is the year that Boise or TCU are going to sneak into the title game, but let’s be reasonable here, with the SEC dominating the last 4 NC games there is no way that a 1-loss SEC champion coming off a win against the #1 team in the country is going to be snubbed in favor of one of those schools. Even if Florida falls to Bama on Saturday, if we can win out the rest of the way (no easy task) and force a rematch, it may not end up mattering in the end.
But why let it come to that? We want to win and make it easy. Plus, I hate Alabama and Saban too much to let them feel like they’ve got our number. So here are the keys to Florida pulling off the upset on Saturday.
Play like you’ve got nothing to lose
I just went on about how we have nothing to lose in this game, and we need to play like it. If our first offensive play of this game isn’t a play action pass downfield then we’ll be sending Bama the wrong message. Let’s show them that we’re not scared of them. Let’s show them that we believe in Brantley. And quite frankly, let’s find out if we should believe in Brantley. Now is the time to see what our offense can do when we open it up and take some shots.
There have been reports that part of the reason the Gators have been taking fewer shots downfield is because Brantley has struggled with his downfield accuracy. This is the perfect opportunity to let him try and hit a few passes and build that confidence up to the level we’re going to need it to be at. Let’s take a shot. Let’s take a shot early.
Our defense is great because they’re not scared of anyone. They’re aggressive. It’s time for the offense to come into a game with that same demeanor. Alabama is going to be looking to stack the box and smother the run. Let’s get them out of that early.
Maintain Balance and Make Adjustments
I know, this sounds totally in contradiction of what I posted above, right? I want to be clear about what I was saying above. We want to take some shots downfield early. That doesn’t mean we fall back into Addazio inadequacy #1, and fail to adjust from there for the rest of the game. That is what happened during last year’s SEC Championship game. Addazio figured that Alabama would be looking to stop the run so we were going to catch them offguard by attacking through the air. And when that didn’t work…we just kept doing the same thing all game long and never made any adjustments.
Be Less Predictable
Addazio loves to stay on schedule. 1st and 10 becomes 2nd and 6. 2nd and 6 becomes 3rd and 3. 3rd and 3 becomes 1st and 10. He’d love to do that all the way up the field. And in a perfect world, it would be great. However, a struggling offense going up against one of the nation’s best defenses is not a perfect world. When Addazio is faced with 2nd and 10 he always chooses to run, or run some sort of short, safe play like a screen to pick up a few yards and set up a manageable 3rd down. If I know this, and you know this, then you can bet that Alabama knows this.
At some point, we’re going to have to actually pick up a 1st down on 2nd and 10 rather than just try and set up a manageable 3rd down on 2nd and 10. Against Kentucky we could just slam it up the middle on 2nd and 10 and set up a nice 3rd and 3. Against Alabama, if we just keep slamming it up the middle on 2nd and 10 all we’re going to do is end up with a bunch of 3rd and 9 plays.
Don’t Force Demps in There
I won’t hide the fact that I would prefer if Demps were our change of pace back all the time, and Moody/Gillislee were our workhorses. But even if you’re a believer in the Demps “slam him up the middle for 1 yard 80 times and eventually we’ll break a 70 yarder against one of our weaker opponents” methodology, you still can’t deny that Demps with a bruised foot isn’t an ideal situation.
Demps is a 185lb speed back, he’s not moving any piles. A small speed back with a bum wheel is just a small back. Reports are that they’re going to try and play Demps this weekend, and I think that’s a mistake if he’s not completely healthy. If you want to use him as a decoy a few times early on, then fine, but it won’t be long before Alabama can see how healthy or unhealthy he is as well.
Burton Must Pass
I’m going to operate under the assumption that Trey Burton is going to be a big part of our redzone offense going forward. I’m also going to operate under the assumption that Alabama’s coaches are smart enough to tell their DE’s not to crash on the HB when Burton is in the game, running a QB read play. Kentucky’s defenders and coaches were inbred enough the DEs continued to crash on the HB when Burton was in the game. Against Bama, they’re going to be targeting Burton, and we’re going to have to mix it up both by Burton making the right read, and by us letting Burton keep them honest with a few pass plays.
Apologies for the late post here, but it’s much easier to procrastinate on making a new post when you’re not pissed off at the end of the game for once. I’ll make this quick, so we can get on to a preview of the Alabama game.
There may be no better way for the Gators to get out of a funk than to play against Kentucky, and that was no different this year. After putting up 31 1st quarter points on the Wildcats last year, we put up a just as impressive (when you consider the struggles our offense has been through the rest of the year) 14 points in the 1st quarter this year, eclipsing our previous combined total for the year by….14. It was nice to see the Gator offense finally make some of the changes we’ve all been harping on all season.
The big story of the game was of course, Trey Burton, who changed his number and then scored six touchdowns to ensure that anyone who purchased a Rex Grossman jersey eight years ago was getting the best deal ever (from Grossman to Chad Jackson to Percy as a freshman to Chris Rainey to Dunlap to Burton/Brown). Pretty crazy what happens when you run dual threat plays with a dual threat QB rather than a pocket passer, huh?
Some other good things to come out of the game were an actual passing play out of the I-formation, bringing our run predictability out of that formation down from 100% to 99.5% and some more work for Moody and Gillislee (even though Demps’ injury was a part of that), and Andre Debose finally getting some good work. Brantley also had his best game of the year (even though it’s a bit scary that a 7.1ypa is our season’s best), particularly on 3rd down where we were able to convert on several 3rd and longs, something we’re going to have to be able to continue to do against Bama.
All in all, it’s hard to get too pumped up over a throttling of Kentucky, but with the way we started the year against a team like Miami OH we will take what we can get.
Now the real fun begins. We get Alabama, LSU, and a rejuvenated Mississippi State team in the next three weeks. It’s time to see if the offense can turn the corner or if we’re going to suffer some bigtime setbacks against our first real defensive matchups of the year.
In my long history as a Gator fan, Knoxville is one of the few road games I’ve never been to, until this week. Tailgating there is completely different than Gainesville. In Gainesville if you see a patch of grass it’s pretty much fair game, just pull your car up off the road, set up your tailgating gear, and get to drinking. In Knoxville though these spots are off limits, and you have to actually tailgate in parking lots for the most part.
Anyway, as I was walking through the crowded Calhoun’s to make my way to the bathroom, I came across several groups of Gator fans complaining about the offensive playcalling. Of course, I directed them here to firesteveaddazio.com, so if you’re one of those folks and you’re reading this, this is my shout out to you.
The Gators 1st half offensive ineptitude continued again this week. During our trip to Knoxville, we really didn’t hear much trash-talk from Tennessee fans. Tennessee is a bad team this year, and even their fans know it. As such, this should have been an easy win for us, but again we found ourselves struggling early. Urban really bailed out Addazio in the 3rd quarter. After Tennessee tied the game at 10-10, it was up to our offense to quell Tennessee’s momentum and take back control of the game. We did that by going 3 and out, and lining up to punt. This is where Urban really bailed Addazio out, as the fake punt that we ran to not only pick up the first down, but move deep into Tennessee territory, is what really turned the tide of the game back in our favor.
It seemed like after this Addazio finally realized that we could have success throwing the ball against Tennessee, and opened things up a bit. It only took two and a half quarters of wasted runs up the middle to figure it out, which is actually an improvement based on what we normally see out of the play calling.
At the end of the day, Demps finished with 26 carries for 73 yards for a whopping 2.3 yards per carry. Gotta stick with that, right Addazio? As a team, we averaged 3.1 ypc, but still ran the ball twice as often as we passed.
I understand that the defense was playing well and we were trying to prevent the offense from giving the game away, but that’s the problem. We can’t beat the good teams (especially not Alabama, twice, which is what we’re going to have to do) by just putting the whole game on the back of our defense. We don’t even know how good the defense really is yet, since we’ve only played against bad offenses. This is Florida. The goal of our offense should be to score points, not to avoid disaster. Our offense needs to help us win games, not make sure we don’t lose them. We tried this last year and we saw what happened when we needed our offense to step up for us. They couldn’t, and we got creamed by Alabama. And that was with Tim Tebow, a luxury that we don’t have this year.
We get Kentucky next and then things really kick off with Alabama, LSU, MSU, and Georgia after that. We’re going to need some help from our offense at some point in that stretch, let’s hope that we can things straightened out by then.
My Apologies for this post being a bit late, I had to get back into town and then yesterday was opening weekend for the NFL, you know how that goes.
Anyway, for the second straight week we put up a decent looking score against a weak opponent, and dropped in the rankings. This weekend’s USF game was a tale of two halves. The first half saw more of the same on offense, minus the snap debacles of week 1, of course. It looked like our Mighty Gators would be shut out in the first half before the defense saved the day and forced a turnover deep in USF territory that the offense was able to capitalize on for their only score of the first half.
The grumblings around the stadium in the 1st half could be heard in their silence. Fortunately the half was not a screen-fest like week 1, but many of the same issues were still there with the playcalling. Demps up the middle, Moody to the outside. We took some shots downfield, but the routes were no better than before. A particular 3rd and 7 or so comes to mind where we had Hines running a short hitch out of the left slot and our receiver out wide left running a streak. The pass was dropped of to Hines who was tackled well short of the 1st down, and it just left me wondering, what was the point of those routes? They don’t beat any defense. If the defense is playing cover 2 then the dimeback has Hines and the safety has the receiver out wide left. If the defense is playing cover 3 (which if I recall, they were) then the dimeback has Hines and the CB has the receiver running the go. Cover 4 and its the same, as is man. If the receiver out wide left were to run a deep in route, then that dimeback suddenly has to choose between him and Hines. If he jumps up on Hines, then the deep in is open. If he drops back to cover the in, then maybe he’s back far enough that Hines can turn and pick up the first down after catching the hitch.
Anyway, luckily for us football is a four quarter game, and things got much better in the 2nd half. Addazio finally started using guys to their strengths better (Gillislee and Moody out of the I, up the middle, and Demps to the outside which led to a long touchdown). From their, we really wore South Florida, who was clearly not as deep as us, down. The only major mistake of the half came on a goaline play that nearly went for six the other way, which would have gotten USF back into the game. On the play, the right slot and wide receivers both ran outs, and didn’t get nearly enough spacing between them, as they ended up in almost the same place nearly costing us a 14 point swing. Luckily, the pick was dropped and we survived it unscathed.
In the end, Florida finished with 420 yards on offense, a huge improvement over week 1. The offense put up 31 points, but really only had one legit scoring drive to go along with a big run (which we can’t discount, since we live on those). The rest of the points came on “drives” that started deep in USF territory after a turnover over long kick return. Brantley put up 172yards passing on 31 attempts, which still leaves him down around 5ypa on the year. That number that has to rise, especially given the competition in these first two games (Tebow averaged over 9ypa every year), and they’re going to have to start hitting some of those big plays to the WRs to stay in it with SEC teams and keep them honest, because we won’t be able to wear them down like we did USF.
In the end, I give the offensive performance a grade somewhere in the C- range, a huge improvement over week 1′s F-. We’re headed into the heart of our schedule now though, and near shutout halves and pounding a weaker team with the same basic plays out of the I-form aren’t going to cut it anymore. Hopefully Addazio will spend this week putting together some passing plays from sets under center to keep these SEC defenses honest.
“I am sure there are some really good efforts in there, and I’m sure there are some really good things in there, but that’s all masked by the turnovers”. Addazio’s post game interview seems to focus solely on the turnovers, as he tries to convince us that the offense was fine other than that. I hate to break it to you Steve, but the turnovers weren’t the problem. Turnovers are flukey, they happen. We could have lived with that and written off all the fumbles as a fluke if the offense was still clicking the rest of the game. The problem was that even if you take away the turnovers, that doesn’t change the fact that we had 26 yards of total offense through three quarters against one of the worst teams in D1 college football. That doesn’t change the fact that through three quarters of play we were averaging 1.1 yards gained per snap. THAT is the problem, and THAT is your fault, not the turnover’s fault.
If you can bear to have flashbacks of Ron Zook telling us everything is going to be ok, go ahead and watch the video up above where Addazio promises us that they’re going to get back to work and everything is going to be fine. The problem is, the only issue that he acknowledges is the turnovers, and there is a lot more to be fixed in this offense than turnovers. A good start would be the playcalling, and only one guy needs to get to work on that. Urban Meyer, by finding a new guy to do it, by finding someone that will use all our talented players properly.
Florida center Mike Pouncey had some almost unbelievable issues snapping the football against Miami OH in Florida’s 2010 season opener. ESPN credits Pouncey with 13 bad snaps for the game, many of which led to fumbles and huge losses. As much as Steve Addazio had some responsibility in this, since he’s the one teaching Pouncey to snap, this ridiculous performance from the center actually helped Addazio out.
This may seem like a crazy statement, but consider this. When ESPN and all the news sources have been talking about this game, all they’ve been talking about is the bizarre number of bad snaps out of Florida. This has completely drawn the attention away from one of the worst offensive performances in the history of Florida football.
Florida had a bunch of bad snaps and a bunch of fumbles. But neither of those are what are really the major problem here. The major problem is that, against a Miami OH team that was 1-11 last year, Florida had 26 yards of total offense through three quarters of play. That is the single most pathetic stat in the history of Florida football, and fortunately for Addazio it was overshadowed by the most bizarre center play in the history of college football.
The play calling and the preparation for this game were absolutely inexcusable. Consider just how little 26 yards is. If Florida had had TEN TIMES that amount through three quarters of play (260 yards), it still would have been considered a bad offensive performance, given the competition. Bad snaps or not, Florida should’ve had 15x that amount of total yards through three quarters, and Addazio got to avoid the spotlight once again thanks to Mike P0uncey.
There are many things that keep Steve Addazio from being a good, or even competent offensive coordinator. Here are the five most prominent.
1. Inability to Adjust
Steve Addazio completely lacks the ability to adjust the gameplan as the game goes on.
In 2009 against Tennessee and Mississippi State, we saw Florida come out trying to run the ball up the middle. It was completely shut down, but Addazio refused to change it, and continued to call futile HB dives that were stuffed over and over and over again. Later in the 2009 SEC championship game, Addazio decided to come out 5-wide and throw against the Alabama defense. It did not work, but Addazio never adjusted, and Florida never even tried their hand at the running game.
In the 2010 opener against Miami OH we saw it again. Addazio continued to call screen pass after screen pass, even though they were stuffed for no gain (at best) every single time. The one time they let Brantley throw downfield, Deonte Thompson dropped a 50 yard touchdown pass. Miami OH had no safety back deep all game long and the Gator wide receivers could manhandle Miami OH’s weak DBs, but they never got a chance as Addazio continue to call screen passes and HB dives against stacked fronts.
2. Pass Routes Have No Purpose
When an offensive coordinator sits down to draw up a passing play, every route has a purpose. They may have a slot WR on one side run a short drag and a slot WR on the other side run a deep in, so that a linebacker playing zone in the middle would have to pick which to cover, leaving the other wide open. They may run streaks on the outside with a TE running up the seam in the middle with the intent of exposing the hole in a cover 2 defense. However, I am convinced that this concept is completely lost on Steve Addazio.
When Addazio sits down to draw up a play, I’m convinced that he just randomly picks routes. ”Hmmm, I’ve got five wide receivers. Let’s see, this guy should run an out, this guy should run a hitch, this guy should run an in, etc”. There is no design to his passing plays, they are just a random collection of routes. There are often two receivers in the same area, in each other’s way, and there is never any design to them to get a certain player open.
3. Inability to Develop Talent
No one has ever done less with more than Steve Addazio. Every player he has coached has underachieved. Tebow regressed as a passer in his season under Addazio, and everyone that has played for him has underachieved. We saw this most recently with Mike Pouncey’s attempt at playing center against Miami OH. There’s no excuse for having an entire offseason to teach a guy how to snap the ball and not being able to do it. Further, there’s no excuse for not replacing him if it’s clear he can’t do it. High school stars will not want to play for Florida much longer, because they know that Addazio will destroy their future.
4. Does Not Use Player’s Strengths
Why is it that Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, two tiny scatbacks, are always running HB dives up the middle while Emmanuel Moody is always running tosses to the outside? Why is John Brantley running the option and not dropping back to pass?
5. Scared to Throw Downfield
A huge part of Florida’s success under Dan Mullen was that if team’s started to stack the box and play the run, he would punish them by throwing over the top. Neglecting the deep ball is one of the main reason’s Florida struggles to run the ball at times. Florida’s receivers have 10x the talent of Miami OH’s defensive backs, and Brantley throws a great deep ball. Yet Florida continued to let Miami OH play the run and the short pass, and never take advantage of the mismatches in single coverage that the defenders had down field. After Deonte Thompason dropped the long TD pass against Miami, it was two full quarters before Florida attempted another pass that was more than ten yards downfield.
Florida has got to stretch the field with the vertical passing game to open up the running game and the underneath passing game. They have all the weapons to do it, the only thing holding them back is, you guessed it, Steve Addazio.