Were offense’s struggles really Addazio’s fault?

By Adam Silverstein
October 19, 2009

A popular conversation topic the last two days (though some have discussed it all season) has been the play calling of Florida Gators offensive coordinator Steve Addazio. The contention on this issue is that Addazio has done a poor job thus far – calling too many dive plays, not utilizing the ability of some players, and the list goes on. Hell, I was leading the charge. Then I stopped and thought about it for a second. Yes, the Gators offense played terrible Saturday night. But how bad really was Addazio’s play calling? I propose this: Florida moved the ball just fine, it simply did not appear that way.

CommitPos.Rating
Diwun Black (53)
ATH
Moh. Diabate (144)
LB
Tyron Hopper (207)
LB
Jae. Humphries (215)
DT
Jalon Jones (258)
QB
Jaydon Hill (264)
CB
William Harrod
OL
Wardrick Wilson
OL
Chester Kimbrough
DB
Riley Simonds
OL
Ja'markis Weston
ATH
Ethan White
OT
Jesiah Pierre
LB
Trent Whittemore
S
Dionte Marks
OL

In 13 Gators drives, five ended with a score (38.5%), eight ended with a score or in scoring position (61.5%), 3.5 ended in a miscue (27%) and one ended in a special teams gaffe. In all, Addazio’s play calling, while you may not necessarily agree with it, resulted in 3.5 attributable failed drives (27%) over an entire game’s span.

If you want to blame Florida’s offense for its struggles on Saturday – that is fine. Just blame the right people. Two fumbles by quarterback Tim Tebow, one by tight end Aaron Hernandez and one more by running back Chris Rainey are unacceptable. Two of said fumbles occurred while the Gators were in the red zone on the way to score, and Tebow’s first fumble was on Florida’s own 30, which resulted in an Arkansas Razorbacks rushing touchdown. And of course there is kicker Caleb Sturgis’ missed field goal on the first drive. Take away the miscues – which are the blunders of players and not the coordinator – and the play calling is not looking so much at fault now, is it?

Now check out Florida’s previous game against the LSU Tigers. The Gators scored on three of eight drives, were successful on four, and were in scoring position for two more (missed field goal, interception). Only two were bad drives – a 7-play 44-yard effort that ended on downs and a 5-play 16-yard drive that ended in a punt – 25% of the failures.

And all of this is if you attribute the failed drives to the play calling and not the execution.

I am not here to contend that Addazio is doing a great job, does not need improvement and is taking over where his predecessor Dan Mullen left off. Quite the contrary. I just want the blame to fall on those who deserve it the most – in this case, the players.

18 Comments

  1. Gatormiami says:

    I don’t know where you’re getting these stats… The Gators scored one TD in 6 inside the Red Zone. That was a called dive, which Demps veered instead around the end (according to his commentary following the game). Tebow averaged just over 2 yds per carry in 27 attempts. Rainey & James did NOTHING & Moody got a couple carries again…. Where were the screen passes?

    Now let’s look at the O-Line.. This is Adazzio’s resposibility….allowed how many sacks…5….and several near sacks.

    So far this great offense has performed so brilliantly vs SEC competitors with a combined 6-9 record within the conference. No need to go into detail on turnover ratio, total sacks allowed, red zone success, punt returns, so much more. It’s pathetic! This team is winning despite incompetence on the sidelines & thank goodness a less than strong schedule.

    a 180 degree turnaround will be necessary in order for this team to live up to its potential. (And remember, this bunch beat Alabama without Harvin last year, but couldn’t do it today under present conditions.

    Go Gators…Go away Addazio!)

  2. Gatormiami says:

    When you get inside the 20 & settle for a FG….That’s not a positive, but has become the norm with Addazio!

  3. The numbers are from the drive chart – which is why I included it in the post. I think you should re-read the post again. Nothing you are saying equates to the fact that only 27% of Florida’s offensive drives were stalled drives, either by the fault of the player or Addazio. The remainder ended in scores or miscues by the players. The post is about Addazio being given all the blame for the struggles on Saturday, when it was not solely his fault and the blame deserves to be placed elsewhere, too.

  4. Mr2Bits says:

    I will blame Addazio as it’s our players making him look good and not his Zooker play calling book. Our offense has looked absolutely pathetic. He continues to call the same calls over and over despite then not working, makes zero adjustments because he thinks the play that was stopped will all of a sudden open up. Where were the blocking scheme adjustments Saturday after the 2nd/3rd/4th sack? Why did he continue to have Tebow fake the run into the pocket 2 yards only to have him back peddle and attempt to pass when he clearly wasn’t getting enough time in the gun?

    My case-in-point about his play calling was the slow developing reverse on 3rd/2 that got stuffed forcing a Tebow dive on 4th down.

    The offense has looked much like Mullen’s did before the Ole Miss loss. I surely hope this was his wake-up call and it lights a fire under the O’s butts.

  5. ZURBO says:

    The bottom line is our receivers are garbage. Addazio finally woke up in the 4th quarter and started to run demps laterally instead of right up the gut. For the first 3 quarters we were basically giving up 1st down with a 1 yard run up the middle. I have never watched a gator game in recent history when we were 3rd and (enter 8,9 or 10) every single 3rd down. We cannot have an offensive coordinator that is responsible for another aspect of the game because it takes the mind off of the offensive scheme for a brief moment during every drive. Either coach the line or coach the offense ADDAZIO!!!!

  6. Gatormiami says:

    Addazio doesn’t deserve 100% blame… but I’m not seeing anything in improvement on his part & players seem to be getting worse in most categoies. And Addazio is killing drives single-handedly, so those stats don’t tell everything! As I said, a FG when you’re close is NOT a positive. Let’s call it 2 for 13…13 possessions and ONLY 2 TDS…And the Gators have had 2 worse games offensively. 3rd time not the charm for the OC! And we still haven’t played a team that has beaten a good team……..

  7. Mr2Bits – So when plays are successful, it is the players. When they’re not, it’s Addazio? I don’t disagree with you – his play calling has been suspect and leaves much to be desired. But it is not all his fault.

    Zurbo – I agree, our receivers are absolutely garbage. And I also agree that Addazio seems to have too much on his plate. I at first wanted Billy Gonzalez to be the offensive coordinator…but after seeing what these wide receivers are doing…I’m not so sure that would have been good either.

    Gatormiami – No, those stats don’t tell everything. I implied that. 2 for 13 does not make any sense whatsoever in going against my argument. I do not want to sit here and argue with you all night – but points are points. Yes, Addazio needs to do a MUCH better job. But he is not why we struggled in this particular game. Four fumbles is why. Three turnovers in the red zone and one on our own 30 which allowing Arkansas to score a touchdown…that’s why.

  8. Gatormiami says:

    I haven’t given up on the receiver corps….just on how they have been handled. They’ve missed a few catches… each of them at least one. But I believe we have 3 good ones and a couple others who should make a catch or two per game. The receiver corp was a positive, in fact vs Arkansas. Thank heaven for them! Let’s get the ball to them more often!!!!

  9. Gatormiami says:

    I’m not going to argue with you all night either, because you can’t see that this wasn’t the first, but 3rd failure of the Gator offense vs WEAK competition. And scoring is NOT scoring…a FG counts 3, while a TD gives you a chance for 7 or 8———-NOT THE SAME! GOOD NITE!

  10. I can see that just fine, thank you. They have had multiple bad offensive games back-to-back. But that is not all Addazio’s fault. While a FG is 3 and a TD is 7, getting points is different from not getting a drive together and getting down the field. The Gators did that multiple times and were held without points because of TURNOVERS and missed opportunities. Go ahead and discount four fumbles – two in TOUCHDOWN scoring position – all you want. Had they held on to one or two of those balls, you are looking at a much better scoring output this week. You missed the point of the post.

  11. Sarasota 'cane says:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=4577932

    The same officials called the LSU/UGA game! Go figure!

  12. Aligator says:

    adam,

    i understand that you are saying it is on the players, but players are led, they are looking to their coach to call the plays so they can execute them, the team looks lost and confused a lot of the time. when i see addazio, he seems like the same way, almost ron zook like at times, then he blames his players. mullen would have never done that. this is also the way that mullen coached the team until they lost last year if you will recall.

    the point is that addazio was not the right choice. yes our team is playing hard, but our red zone % is terrible and the teams we are barely beating also have a 6-9 conference record. i played for this team in the early 90’s so i know what i am talking about.

    addazio is a hard working fire em up guy, but he is not creative when he should be and he works too hard and takes forever to adjust when he should do so much easier??

  13. Aligator says:

    bottom line, with this level of talent, we should be kicking people teeth in, if it wasn’t the flu, it was injured players. if it wasn’t that is was the concussion, when are the coaches going to get their head out of their behind’s on this one?/ Addazio was a OC for Indiana for crying out loud!!

  14. Adam Silverstein says:

    Aligator – To your first comment, I had to remove the article you copied/pasted. Cannot have stuff like that on here. Hope you understand. I have never once disputed that Addazio is not the man for the job nor the fact that Urban could have done better in replacing Mullen. At the same time, you cannot discount what the men on the field did with the ball in their hands on Saturday. And you are doing just that. Yes, Addazio leaves a LOT to be desired. Yes, his play calling is dull and bland. The point YOU are making is that he was not the right choice. I AGREE with that. But that is NOT the argument I am making. I am strictly talking about Saturday’s game.

    If you look at what cost us the most during Saturday’s game – his play calling or the four fumbles (especially the three I pointed out) – it is the miscues that are worse than ANYTHING he did. Period. As much as you may not like the job he is doing, if you had to divide up the blame on Saturday, he would get the minority share, in my opinion.

    To your second comment – I agree wholeheartedly.

  15. Drew 4 Orange and Blue says:

    I agree the play calling is bland but it was under Mullen as well…but when you have playmakers like a Harvin and Tebow you don’t have to be that creative….we are not protecting Tebow…..why can’t this line protect better……where are screens to slow down the pass rush….we have guys good in space why not use more screens….I am also concerned over this get to the line then look back for the play…there never seems to be enough time…what ever happened to calling 2 plays and allowing your senior QB to actually read the defense himself and let him check to the correct play…..maybe his head would be more clear if he was looking at the defense instead of back at the sideline for the stupid bland boring play…..OK did it last year and everybody fell all over themselves to copy them….well look how bad that offense looks this year for OK when they can’t protect the QB!!!!!!

  16. FightinGator says:

    Adam,

    You are correct in the “one” game vs Arkansas regarding turnovers being the leading reason for the poor scoring. I am glad we have the running dimension to our game. I like the pistol that Bama runs. The plays that allow blocks to be established so the back can see if he should stay inside or try the outside. The shovel pass is great too. I hear a lot about how terrible our receiving corp is but I havent really seen it tested “at all” in games. Why not give it a shot more often to build confidence for them. Maybe Tebow cannot throw the rope quick enough like Brantley will, I dont know. I just havent seen enough mistakes by the receivers to say they stink. We need more play action passes.

  17. FightinGator – I would also like to see our wide receivers being given more chances to make plays. And I am glad you understood the contention I was making. Thanks.

  18. Mr2Bits says:

    I just hope this was our wakeup call. On a side note did you see the OBC caught Saban cheating?

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