Addazio Convinced Gators Have the Parts

John Brantley

Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio has quite a challenge this spring. The Gator play-caller has to replace the team's quarterback and superstar Tim Tebow who was both Florida's quarterback and leading rusher (910 yards, 14 TD).

The Gators also lost the nation's best center in Maurkice Pouncey and leading receivers Aaron Hernandez (68-850, 5 TD), Riley Cooper (51-961, 9 TD) and David Nelson (25-291, 2 TD).

Still despite those hurdles, Steve Addazio is feeling pretty good about what's on hand for him to work with this spring. Addazio is also clear on what he views as job one for 2010.

"I think that the goal this year is to see what the face of our offense is going to be this year. Who are we and what are we going to be? I don't know that, yet. We're in the developmental stage of all that. That's the real challenge that's right in front of us right now. You earn your money as a coach when you try to figure out what's the right package. We did it back in '06, we did it in '08 and we did it last year."

Addazio said while the core beliefs of the Gator offense are not going to change, the "package" that they put together for this fall has to.

"It's got to be different. We were an option football team a lot last year. We'll still run option football, but you're going to see those Tim carries will be divided up amongst the tailbacks. We talked about it, you remember last year in the spring, but we never really got there. We're there now and we're working on it every day."

Addazio admits one place he's not seeing much if any progress is on the offensive line, but there's a reason for that.

"We've got seven offensive linemen that are out. Carl Johnson's not in. Marcus Gilbert's not in. Sam Robey's not in. Matt Patchan's not in. Mo Hurt has done a little bit. But that's okay. That gives us a chance to look at Jon Halapio, Jon Harrison, David Young, Xavier Nixon and we moved Nick Alajajian on the fly to center so he's learning on the run. That's all good."

I asked Addazio if any of the young linemen have impressed him in terms of making a fast move towards playing time.

"Not yet. I want to see that. I what those (veteran) guys can do, but I'd like to see those young guys take the next step. They're really talented guys and I know they're going to be good players, but they need to start taking that step."

Despite that, Addazio is very confident about how the Gators will be in the trenches come opening day.

"I know what the offensive line will be. I'm not worried about the offensive line."

Addazio wrapped up his comments pointing out that the Gators have all the pieces to the puzzle in terms of putting together a great offense. And you might be surprised at the position he says is the key to figuring out just what that puzzle will look like when competed.

"Can we throw it? Heck yeah. Can we run block? Heck yeah. Do we have good tailbacks? Yes. I think we've got to find that package. We've got to find that tight end. That's a keystone piece, that's not a little piece that's a big piece. That has a big impact on exactly how we join all the pieces together, and that's what we're looking at. Jordan Reed's got to have a big spring. (Gerald Christian) is a young guy who just got here. He should be going to the prom with a corsage, but he's working hard. Desmond (Parks) got dinged up and he was doing well so Jordan's got a lot on his shoulders."

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Last year the Gators averaged 35.9 points a game and ended the season on a high note with a 51 point performance against Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. However the Gators also had more than their share of difficult games. Florida was held to 13 points by Alabama and LSU and scored just 23 against Tennessee and Arkansas. In nine games against SEC teams Florida topped 30 points just twice, scoring 41 against both Kentucky and Georgia.

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