The Florida Gators are currently in Tampa, FL, preparing for the 2011 Outback Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. Below are some notes from the coordinators, who spoke with the media on Thursday.
REFLECTING ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH MEYER
Asked how it felt to be leaving Florida and head coach Urban Meyer, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio looked back fondly on his time in Gainesville, FL, working for a man he appreciates both as a person and as a football coach. “We go so far back. It’s hard for me to capsulize that in a few words. I would never do it justice. I just love him,” he said. “We’ve been through a lot together. He’s a great football coach, a great human being. He’s done a lot for my family. He’s done a lot for this football program. He’s brought a lot of unbelievable moments to the Gator Nation, and he makes coming to work every day great. He brought me here. Life’s all about relationships and being around the people you want to be around. I couldn’t have been around anybody better.”
FOCUS SOLELY ON THE BOWL GAME
Hired to be the new head coach of the Temple Owls, Addazio made it clear that nothing has impacted his preparation for the Outback Bowl. “My focus and attention right now is on this football team and on the preparation for this game. And really enjoying being around my guys,” he said. “I just want to talk about the Gators right now. The Gators and my guys. I got a short bit of time left, and that’s my focus.”
Addazio also admitted that leaving is going to be tough on him from an emotional standpoint. “You get close to these kids and it’s hard to say goodbye to them. They’re like family to you,” he said. “I really felt fortunate to have the chance to be here, to be honest with you.”
GOAL IS TO STAY…IF HE IS WANTED
Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, who is rumored to be on the chopping block because new head coach Will Muschamp specializes in defense and is assumed to want to hire a like-minded coordinator, said he would be happy to stay at Florida if he is wanted. “What do you think I would say? I came here I the first place. It was the university that was the big selling point for me,” Austin said when asked if he would want to return in 2011. “If Coach Muscahmp wants to sit down and talk about that, obviously we’ll talk about that. […] I don’t know anything. Right now I’m employed by the University of Florida. Until somebody tells me otherwise, that’s what I’m planning on doing.”
Nevertheless, he does realize that the likelihood is that he will be moving on and understands that is a part of the job. “This is the first time I’ve ever been some place just for a year,” he said. “That’s different, but it’s part of our profession. When you sign up to be a coach, you know that there’s the good and the bad of it and sometimes that’s the bad of it — you have to pick up and move your family.”
He also made it clear that he has not agreed to take the same position with the Texas Longhorns, contrary to Internet reports stating otherwise. “I know some guys on the staff,” he said. “When [the job] came open, there was maybe, ‘Hey, would you be interested if you’re not going to be there?’ If I’m not here, and I find out I’m not here, then that’s a possibility. But until then, there’s really nothing to talk about.”
HEALTH ISSUES JUST A SCARE
Austin also confirmed Thursday that the mild gastritis he suffered from on Monday and Tuesday was just a scare and that he and the team did not lack in preparation with his absence. “It felt bad enough for me to go [to the hospital],” he said. I went, got it checked out, getting a little older so I better make sure I’m taking care of myself,” he said.