Azzanni Catching On Fast
Zach Azzanni
Zach Azzanni
FightinGators.com Insider
Posted Dec 20, 2009


It has been a whirlwind for Zach Azzanni so forgive him if he hasn’t had a chance to catch his breath. The Florida Gators’ newest assistant coach was asked to and accepted a position at Florida in record time last week. His familiarity with the style of offense and of Urban Meyer will help to form a quicker transition. For now, he is just running on all cylinders.

It was Thursday when Urban Meyer found out that his receivers coach Billy Gonzales had moved on to LSU. Sometime that day, Meyer didn’t delay in filling the spot and Zach Azzanni was in Gainesville preparing to head out and recruit. Now he lives with a grad assistant and with just a suitcase full of clothes to wear.

“It has been a blur to me," Azzanni said Friday. “I got a call from coach last week and got off the road from Central Michigan and got on the road for the University of Florida and went to town. This is a dream job and a chance of a lifetime to coach at the defending national champs.”

So far, there haven’t been many surprises for Azzanni in his first full week.

“(It’s) just what I thought,” he said. “I had been under Coach Meyer at Bowling Green, so it’s the same style and it is what I am used to. I have been doing this for 10 years, it’s like riding a bike, you just go to town and recruiting is recruiting.”

According to reports, recruiting is a strong suit for Azzanni and his resume shows that he has a history of recruiting well in south Florida. He won’t be recruiting the same prospects now at Florida as at Central Michigan, but he is familiar with the South Florida surroundings and the kids that are Florida talent from having been at the same schools recruiting others.

“We recruit different guys,” he said of the difference between Central Michigan and Florida. “It’s all kids I have seen play because it is the same area.”

Azzanni said the two offenses are very similar and it should be a smooth transition.

“They are similar in formations and things, but obviously different terminology,” he said. “We were strictly no huddle up there. We run the same routes, just call them different things.”

“I have a blue shirt on instead of a maroon shirt. I go out there and once the whistle blows it is all the same. We have some great kids here. They are great to be around and hungry. You can tell. It was great to be around them the first day and I enjoyed it.”

Some young receivers are probably welcome for a change. Florida has been criticized this season for not getting young receivers and more receivers involved in the offense. Azzanni can see the pain from the young pass catchers.

“The young guys are hungry and they want to learn,” he said. “Some have a clean slate with me, and they like that. They are all in, hungry, and excited. I can’t wait to play this game and see what I have…jump into the off season, and coach my butt off.”

Urban Meyer intimated that Azzanni has been looked at for some head coaching vacancies. Rumors have circulated that Central Michigan, his alma mater, may look at him to fill their newest head coaching vacancy. Azzanni brushed that off.

“That is flattering,” he said. “It was my alma mater and great place, but I am a Gator and let’s go. I have not been contacted by them, that was just all in the papers and I can’t help with that.”



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