Welcome to the debut of OGGOA Mailbag, a new segment that will be featured every other week (or every week if it gets popular). For each edition, I will pick out the five best questions that have been submitted for publication. The remainder will be answered personally.
In regard to the uniforms, will we ever see the return of orange pants? Have we worn them since Urban Meyer became head coach? (William – Tampa, FL)
It does not look likely. The last time Florida wore the white jerseys/orange pants combination was Oct. 1, 2005, against Alabama. The Gators lost that game 31-3; perhaps that is why they are no longer worn? In fact, Florida wore them back-to-back weeks that season (Sept. 24 vs. Kentucky). That combination was used extensively the previous season in 2004, including back-to-back games vs. FSU on Nov. 20 (Ron Zook’s last game) and Miami on Dec. 31 (Peach Bowl). Meyer has only used four looks since that game in 2005: all blue, all white, blue/white and white/blue. Even more rare is the blue jersey/orange pants combo, not worn since 1999 vs. FSU.
Do you think we will be seeing more of the I-form? It looked really good last week, but that was against Mississippi State. Could it work against Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama? (Kyle – Louisville, KY)
I’m not sure if the Gators have a choice. The red zone struggles are apparent and Florida must make adjustments. Whether that is instituting more of the I-formation (which apparently was worked on all summer) or sticking to the call sheet, I fully expect to see an improvement in that area this week. As far as the I-form working against teams with better defenses – I don’t see why not. It is a standard formation. The better question is: Can the Gators be efficient in a formation that they have seemingly
never rarely used since Tim Tebow became the starting quarterback?
Is it really Florida that is struggling each week, or are the SEC teams on our schedule just that good? (Jena – Sumter, SC)
It’s the Gators. Tennessee and LSU have legitimate defenses, don’t get me wrong. But there was absolutely no reason this team should have had the trouble it did with Arkansas or Mississippi State. Any SEC schedule is going to be a difficult one, and Florida plays tougher teams week-in and week-out because of their affiliation than most other programs do. The Gators are lucky they have not played a complete team while they have been struggling or else that 7-0 record would not be there.
Can the Gators actually go all the way? Do you think they can get this offense back on track sooner than later? (Shawn – Willis, TX)
There should be no doubt that this is a team that is capable of winning the National Championship. Whether they will actually get to that point is another story. Returning a two-deep defense was a good start, and the unit has been carrying the team for most of the season. But losing wide receivers Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy seem to have hurt the team more than most expected. Harvin was the key on offense, a player who could score at any time and change the course of the game with one step. The Gators do not have a player like that right now. If they can re-work the passing offense and do a well enough job putting points on the board, a title is certainly within their reach.
Is there a reason Steve Addazio is on the sidelines during games instead of up in the box like most offensive coordinators? (William – Tampa, FL)
There actually is a reason – though I don’t necessarily think you can call it a good one. Addazio is more comfortable coaching from the sideline because he was and still is an offensive line coach. He said it feels more natural for him to call plays from field level. “That’s not my personality type,” Addazio said of going upstairs. “If I’m up in the booth, I really might jump out of the window. Because of the position I coach, I gotta have my guys in between series. I’ve gotta be able to coach ‘em and talk to ‘em. I’ve got to gauge what their mindset’s like, the tempo of the game, the whole atmosphere. That’s a demeanor feel. I got a pretty good perspective on the sideline. I’m used to that. When I go up top, I don’t really feel like I can see the shades in the alignments of the front like I can see from the ground level. A great advantage is, in between series, you’ve got everybody right there. I can pull in the quarterback, the tailback, everybody. That’s a positive.” Instead of Addazio, quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler and tight ends coach Brain White are up in the booth.