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.
|13:45 (1) - 7 plays, 32 yards - FG Missed [ST]||15:00 (3) – 8 plays, 29 yards – FG Good [score]
|08:43 (1) – 6 plays, 10 yards – Punt [bad drive]||08:18 (3) – 3 plays, -1 yard – Punt [bad drive]
|04:16 (1) – 3 plays, -5 yards – FUM [Bad/miscue]||04:40 (3) – 2 plays, 21 yards – FUM [miscue]
|14:57 (2) – 12 plays, 56 yards – RZ FUM [miscue]||03:10 (3) - 1 play, 77 yards – Passing TD [score]
|07:35 (2) – 4 plays, 31 yards – RZ FUM [miscue]||00:07 (3) – 6 plays, 20 yards – Punt [bad drive]
|03:26 (2) – 5 plays, 20 yards – FG Good [score]||09:40 (4) – 5 plays, 67 yards – Rush TD [score]
|03:08 (4) – 14 plays, 69 yards – FG Good [score]
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.