Addazio Prepared to Assist Again

It didn't last as long as most thought. Urban Meyer took a leave of absence from his head coaching duties after signing day and a lot of folks thought Meyer would be out at least until August. In the meantime, offensive coordinator Steve Addazio took over the reigns and did the day-to-day tasks of the head coach while he was away. He was wearing three hats, now he's down to two and ready to go.

Steve Addazio is wearing the hat of the offensive coordinator for what annually is one of the most prolific offenses in the country and the hat as the offensive line coach, a group that has been equally as impressive over the last several years. He doesn't mind scaling back a bit from the "head coach" duties, especially when he has a ton of player coaching to do. He was asked what it was like to be the new "ex-coach"?

"I've always been the ex-head coach," Addazio said grinning at the sarcastic question. "I am a soldier here ready to do my job, whatever I can do to help. I am the offensive coordinator here and the offensive lie coach and here to help coach anyway I can help."

Addazio is glad to have Urban Meyer back at the helm of the football program, at the same time, as a boss of the program, he couldn't let his absence take away from the job that had to be done. Addazio thinks Meyer is fueled up and ready to go now.

"I see a guy that is fired up and ready to coach and energized," Addazio said of Meyer. "Understand that in our world we have our eyes forward and going 100 mph. We have a lot going on. My job was to make sure this program was running at a really high level. My job was really consumed with doing everything we had to do to be the number one program in America."

In his eyes, the Florida Gators are as good off now as the day Meyer took a little over a month off.

"It's a great program and great programs are built that way," Addazio said. "We hit it running and landed the best recruiting class in America. We had a good bowl game and fired through a great off season and are ready for a great spring right now. That's why you talk about Coach Meyer as the greatest coach in college football, this is the best program in college football. That's what good programs do, that is what you do. It doesn't buckle because of an issue, one way or another. You have to hit it and keep it going."

As far as making sure Meyer does the right thing to stay on the healthy side of life, Addazio said it is an inherent trait among coaches to take care of one another.

"I have that same feeling for everyone on this staff," he said. "We are in a rough business and it is a high paced, high tempo business. Every once in a while you have to remind your friends an cohorts that they need to go get a 20 minute workout. It's a tight knit group and we are all focused on what we have to do."

You won't hear the words "drop off" from Addazio in terms of his expectations of the offense in the absence of super quarterback Tim Tebow. The Gators' Heisman Trophy winner left a legacy that won't be surpassed, but the beat must and will go on according to Addazio.

"I don't expect (a drop off), you forge ahead and move," Addazio said. "You look at it as John Brantley is going to be a great player here, he's going to have a great off-season, and ready to roll. You have to look at it like that. That is why you recruit great players and build a strong foundation.

"Are there young players out here? Sure, but that's what spring is for. This is a new team...2010. Every year has a new dynamic to it. We have talent out here and are real encouraged at what we see."

Brantley is a different kind of player than Tebow and the offense will be structured around his talents. However, no one should short sell Brantley's ability with the ball in his hands either.

"He's a real good passer and can throw the ball," Addazio said. "John is a real athletic guy and can run the ball. He can do a lot of things and is a quality quarterback. He is ready to rise up and roll."

The first day isn't much for the coaches as the players aren't in pads and no hitting going on. That will start on Saturday with a full contact goal line and short yardage scrimmage. However, Addazio was pleased with the first day.

"It was good...I liked some of the things we saw and some of the things we didn't like," he said. "It's day one and a lot of installation going on. I am interested to see them in a goal line scrimmage on Saturday. Football is played with a helmet and pads, so we will see how that goes."

Wearing the coordinator hat and the offensive line coaching hat is a lot for anyone. Adding head coaching duties to that list while trying to coach up those units is an awful lot. Steve Addazio steered the proverbial ship fine in Meyer's brief absence, now it's time to coach up some ball players and make Meyer's offense even easier.

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