Addazio Looking for Business as Usual

New Florida Gators Offensive Coordinator Steve Addazio will be able to put on his new hat after the BCS title game that takes place on January 8. In the meantime, he has an offensive line to coach up for the big game against the Oklahoma Sooners. It will definitely be a test for Addazio and his troops, but one they are looking forward to and know they need to be at their best to compete.

One of the keys for this particular bowl game will be to be healthy up front. Oklahoma comes in with a big defensive front that has great size and strength in the middle. Florida can hold it's own, but the Gators were a little banged up with minor injuries at the conclusion of the SEC Championship game. Addazio knows that this bowl prep time is good for staying in tune, but also getting some guys healthy.

"It's huge for the offensive line," Addazio said last week about getting some rest time for his big boys up front. "The length of the season, the pounding that they take, you really start to see the wear and tear towards the end of the year. Having some extra days to heal their bodies is critical."

Another big thing is to not overdo the rest time and make sure the team is focused and ready to play after a long time from not playing an opponent. Addazio likes the plan that Urban Meyer and his staff set up to keep these players in top playing form heading into the big game.

"The key thing is the schedule we have, we never get too far away from it," Addazio said of the December and January work out schedule leading up to the game. "We kind of try and stay in a groove fundamentally in our system, and techniques. We have a formula that seems to work very well. I think our guys respond to it. We give them time but we also stay in that groove, so that we don't lose that rhythm that we had at the end of the year."

There have been worries by fans about former offensive coordinator and now current head coach of Mississippi State Dan Mullen and his place in the coaching booth for the game. Urban Meyer has decided to keep the continuity and allow Mullen to coach in the game. Addazio believes it to be a good plan and that no one person ever shares that much of a burden with the offense anyway.

"We just do what we do," Addazio said. "It's a teamwork offense and has always been a teamwork offense. It never was nor will be (one guy directing) under Urban Meyer. We will be in the same groove we have all been in. We all work together and are a close knit family and we'll rock on. It will be great."

Florida will face a formidable front four led by sophomore defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (6-4, 295). McCoy is joined by two other sophomores and a freshman on the front line, but this group is much like the tougher lines the Gators have seen this season in the rugged SEC.

"There are some similarities to the Georgia front four," Addazio said. "They are talented and well coached. You can watch their system of defense, everyone has a gap and they know where they fit. They play hard, everyone gets off the ball pretty quick, they're physical, and stout. It is a good defense we are playing and a very good front four."

Addazio is another coach that doesn't buy into the story line that the defenses in the Big 12 are weak. He has seen enough video on the Oklahoma defense to understand they are solid and are going to be tough competition in the big game.

"All I can speak on is what I watch with Oklahoma's defense," he said in reference to labeling all of the Big 12 conference defenses. "They are very talented and very good in the front four. I can't speak in terms of the conference. I see their defense and that defensive front is like the (fronts) that we play. So we know it's going to be a challenge."

The Florida offensive line has been a huge success this season. In a record breaking year, the offensive line has been a catalyst to a huge running game and a record efficient passing game. They have done so playing big time defenses and very good defensive lines holding their own or manhandling all of them. The final test comes on January 8, 2009 and Addazio thinks his guys will be ready.


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