The cat is out of the bag, and what many thought was confirmed this past Saturday afternoon—Steve Addazio is not Dan Mullen, and the Florida Gators miss Mullen big time.
Steve Addazio has been in the spotlight for many reasons since Dan Mullen's departure after the 2008 season. When Mullen accepted the head coach position at Mississippi State, Addazio became the offensive coordinator for the Florida Gators starting with the 2009 season.
It didn't take a genius to see the difference in the Gator offense during the 2009 season compared to what we saw when Florida won the SEC and BCS championships in 2008. Many felt that the departures of Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin took more out of the Florida offense than was expected.
Then the concussion heard around the world occurred during the Florida vs. Kentucky game. Tebow would return two weeks later to face LSU in Baton Rouge, and many thought the conservative play calls centered around caution with Tebow's somewhat controversial return.
For the remainder of the 2009 season the Florida offense looked anemic, and in the 2009 SEC Championship game the Crimson Tide of Alabama exposed the limitations of the Florida Gators' offense.
As Florida took the field this past Saturday to kick off the 2010 season against Miami of Ohio, the college football world was waiting to see how the Florida Gators would move forward without Tim Tebow. The Gator Nation wanted to see the start of the John Brantley era.
What we witnessed was the confirmation of Steve Addazio's faults as an offensive coordinator. He needs to go back to coaching just the offensive line. That's what he did when Dan Mullen ran the Gator offense.
Let's go a little deeper here. Dan Mullen was Urban Meyer's offensive coordinator at Bowling Green, Utah, and Florida before becoming a head coach. Perhaps Urban Meyer's success was due to Dan Mullen's play calling and coaching abilities.
Clearly, Steve Addazio struggles as an offensive coordinator. Yes, it was just the first game of the 2010 season, but in 2009 the Florida offense wasn't the juggernaut of the past, either. The Gator offense made the RedHawks defense look like the New York Jets.
There is plenty of time to correct the tactical mistakes that were made in the first game; strategically though, Urban Meyer may have to make a tough decision quickly if the Gator offense continues to struggle.
Perhaps it is too much to ask to coach the offensive line and coordinate the offense at the same time. Maybe the team was nervous and young in that first game. I can list several "maybes" here, but there is plenty of evidence that shows the problems are more around coaching deficiencies than player performance problems.
The South Florida Bulls come calling on The Swamp this Saturday, and you know they are watching the game film of last Saturday's game. Yes, the players must catch the balls that are thrown, hold on to the ball and not turn it over, and do a better job snapping the ball.
That being said, Steve Addazio is now in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Going into the season everyone wondered if John Brantley could handle replacing Tim Tebow. Now, the Gator Nation should worry if Steve Addazio is the man to replace Dan Mullen.
So far the answer is no.
James Walker is a syndicated and National Writer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on:
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