Florida became allergic to the end zone this year, suffering from severe shakes anytime they approached the red zone. On the rare occasions they fought through those ailments and broke inside the 20, the symptoms ramped up to the point that all bowel control was lost and shit exploded on the field. Florida’s offensive coordinator was Steve Addazio. So why exactly will he be missed in Gainesville?
By all accounts, Addazio is a great person. He was beloved by his players and fellow coaches. His character can never be questioned after the burden he took on when Urban Meyer melted down last year. If we think this offseason has been tumultuous, imagine what would have happened last year when Meyer’s resignation was a complete shocker and Florida was on the verge of the #1 recruiting class in the country. Addazio held things together and helped save the entire class. If Addazio hadn’t stepped up, the entire program may have collapsed. Instead, even with the coaching change this month, the cupboard is still stocked with top athletes and the recovery won’t take long.
When Meyer officially returned, Addazio kept some of the typical head coaching tasks to help ease Meyer’s burden. In addition, he coached the offensive line and called the plays. Addazio is a great offensive line coach. He is a shaky offensive coordinator. But perhaps the blame rests with Meyer for giving him the job. If I put one of my employees in a position they weren’t ready for and they failed, I would have to share some of the blame. So it should be with Meyer.
Lastly, everyone laments the downward offensive spiral we’ve seen the past couple of years. Many point to Dan Mullen’s departure of the title game in January ’09. But Percy Harvin also departed at that time. Over the past couple of years, the talent level of playmakers to leave Gainesville for the NFL could easily compose one of the better offenses in the league – Harvin, Tebow, Hernandez, Cooper, Murphy, Pouncey. Those guys were replaced by some big-time disappointments – Thompson, Brantley, Moore, Hammond, Rainey. As for Mullen, how great has Mississippi State’s offense been the past couple of years? Even this year, Florida scored more points per game (29.2-27.1) than the Bulldogs.
Of course, we should be excited about a new face, a new direction and a new philosophy for our anemic offense. Addazio did not do a good job calling plays and failed miserably at getting the most out of the strengths of his players. But all the blame should not fall on his feet – Meyer and the players deserve a good chunk. And let’s remember all he did for this program. He was a huge part of Meyer’s tenure, two national championships and countless great memories. So while you toast his departure, savor a sip to celebrate his time here.