Disclaimer: I am not a crazed, overreaction-prone fan responding to a poor performance. This is simply a catharsis of a 21-game-long defilement of Florida fooball’s record-breaking offense and an analysis of its correlating failures.

That being said… Jeremy Foley: fire Steve Addazio. This 21 game experiment has gone on too long; four years of offensive development, culminating in 2008’s offensive barrage, have been reversed in a little over one season. The Florida Gators’ offensive coordinator, Steve Addazio, has ruined the masterpiece that was his predecessor’s, Dan Mullen, spread offense; he’s spilled red wine all over Mullen’s clean, white linens.

When the now revered Dan Mullen departed Gainseville for the head coaching position at Mississippi State, Gator Nation unknowingly lost a Bentley, and in its stead, received a Vespa. Addazio, by trade, is an offensive line coach. He wants to run the ball up the middle, knock opponents off their feet and simply will the team to a victory. That is not Florida football. From the Fun ‘n’ Gun of Steve Spurrier to the aforementioned spread offense of Urban Meyer, Florida has always been more of a “We’re going to out-scheme the opponents rather than run them over” program. In other words: they’re a finesse program, not a power program. And there is nothing wrong with that; three national championships have resulted from this so-called ‘weak’ style of play. It has even become apart of the culture around the school. Florida fans expect to win a certain way, just as Alabama fans and Ohio State fans do. So when that finesse team won a national championship in 2008, there was no need to change it the following year, but what did Addazio do? He changed it. Addazio wants to imbed his own style in the offense, but it shouldn’t be more important than winning. He does mean well, he does care about his players, he does work hard, but he just isn’t good enough.

What seems to be the worst mistake of his tenure is the awful mismanagement of his players. A staple of Urban Meyer’s success is the tapering of the offense to his players, not forcing a player into an offense they are not equipped to handle. Addazio hasn’t done that. He’s forcing quarterback John Brantley to run the option, something that is not in his skill set. Let him chuck the ball around the field, let him fulfill his passing potential. With the accelerated maturation of Brantley will come a consistency that will stabilize the struggling wide receivers and offensive line. Brantley is the key to whole season, but Addazio keeps changing the locks.

The numbers also support this mid-season firing. They average 28 points a game, good enough to be tied with Northwestern for 61st in the nation. In 2008 they were 4th with 43 points a game. Florida is also 97th, nationwide, in yards per game, a category the 2008 team was 15th in. This year, even the University of Central Florida is ahead of them, ranking 72th. How has the offense fallen so far? It’s like a Greek tragedy is being played out in Gainesville; a team at the top is falling helplessly to the depths of offensive mediocrity. Florida needs their Hercules; someone to save them from this terrible tumble. That someone is Jeremy Foley. The best athletic director in the nation needs to justify his reputation. It’s not like he has a problem with firing an employee in the middle of the season. He did the same to Ron Zook in 2004.

These Alabama, LSU, and Mississippi State games were a wake-up call to more than just the players. Gator nation has awoken from the sleep Addazio’s offense has entranced them into. They realize it’s time for him to go. Foley and Meyer need to follow suit. They need to bleach these linens before the stain sets in.

By admin

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