Addazio: "Do Whatever It Takes"

Florida offensive coordinator Steve Addazio had his hands full last weekend with a bunch of sick and injured skill players on offense. Lucky for him, Tennessee decided to play passive on defense and take away deep threats that Florida really didn't have in the game. So, Addazio turned to a running game against Tennessee's retreating defense and of course, the guy that makes the offense run.

The Vols rarely crowded the line of scrimmage and were usually heading backwards at the snap of the ball, mainly to keep from giving up the big play. They crowded the deep secondary and Florida had no chance to throw the deep ball all day and hope that it would be open.

So, the Gators turned to their ground game that is yielding 298 yards per contest this season. And Tim Tebow, who is the maestro of the spread, read-option offense, and the Gators ran a lot of. Tebow carried the ball 24 times on Saturday against the Vols defense and the Florida quarterback may have carried it 20 more if that is what it took according to Addazio.

"We will do what we have to do," Addazio said on Wednesday. "We do what we do to win a football game. He's a great football player and we utilized a great football player. It could be Tebow, Chris Rainey, Brandon James...just win the game."

When asked if he is worried about Tebow carrying the ball so much, Addazio responded that it's all about the scoreboard and being on the right side of it.

"We will do whatever it takes to win," he said. " It is all about one thing, get a 'W'. I am telling you we are going to do whatever it takes to beat Kentucky. We are keeping our eye on that target and aren't going to sway from it. That is our plan, it's not real complicated and we are pretty true to it."

Lucky for the Gators, the Vols played into their hands with regards to the health of the skill players the Gators have. Riley Cooper, Aaron Hernandez, David Nelson, and Deonte Thompson were all either out or greatly hampered on the day and weren't going to be much of a threat anyway. Taking them away meant opening running lanes up and allowed the Gators to rack up 208 rushing yards on the day.

Maybe you could chalk it up to Monte Kiffin's lack of knowledge against the spread option and read option offense being that he didn't see a lot or any in the NFL, but they allowed Tebow to go uncovered on defense for most of the day and the Heisman Trophy quarterback made them pay with 105 rushing yards

The read option puts the onus on the quarterback to read the defense and know if it is better to hand off to the running back or keep the ball and run himself. Tebow was sacked three times which count as runs, so he actually ran the ball 21 times. Of those 21, about 16 or so were option plays and Tebow made the decision to keep the ball. Outside of the sacks. Tebow averaged 5.0 yards per rush on those 21 carries. A good day for anyone against any team and it was baffling that they continued to allow him to beat them.

Addazio agreed that Tebow only had his specific number called about five times in the game, four of those in very short yardage situations.

"Probably, some of the others are reads," Addazio said. "The reads dictate where it goes. He's the best player in the country right there. He is a tough cat and didn't a great job of leading that team with his toughness and manage the ebbs and flows of the game. That is what you have to do. There are sometimes where certain players have to put their team on their back which he has done time and time again. That probably wont be the last one. That is what great players do."

Maybe Tebow isn't the flashiest runner, but flash isn't going to win for you and Addazio isn't worried about stats in the least.

"Never ever, we are worried about winning the game," he said. "Whatever it takes to win the game. Special teams, defense, offense, we work together in unison,. Whatever your personnel dictates, you do. At the end of the day you walk off with a 'W', it's college football."

With Tebow eventually carrying the ball so much very the tailbacks were left without the ball maybe as much as they would like. The trio of Chris Rainey, Emmanuel Moody, and Jeff Demps rushed for 128 yards on just 16 carries in the game. All had over a seven yard per carry average. Again, Tebow picked his spots of when to hand them the ball, but Addazio understands they would like to get a few more shots. He also knows in time, they will get their chance.

"It's a great problem to have, because everyone wants touches," he said. " I thought Emmanuel did a great job, so did Chris Rainey, and Jeff Demps. They averaged over seven yards a carry. That's tremendous. It's a long season and a rough conference. One game he might have a little less, the next he might have 30. It feels good to have three talented backs. We are going to need it. If anything, our mindset is how do we get our best players to touch the ball. We have talented guys and we want to see them have more time on that field."

The Gators first must place a premium on getting more receivers prepared to be on the field. It had to be an eye opener when so many of the guys they counted on were down at once, and running four wide receiver sets means they need to get a few more ready to go. Guys that haven't played much yet will likely be called upon soon to do something.

"The pressure is on, the full court squeeze for that to happen," he said. "It is early in the season and I think you will see those guys make a move, I really do. I think they are here for a reason and they are talented. It is really important. It's that time of the year when teams are going to move forward, or they aren't.

"Omarius Hines is working real hard, T.J. Lawrence is working real hard and Frankie Hammond. It's not like they aren't out there busting their tail, they are working hard. Along with working hard they have to be sharp and on top of your stuff. We are forcing young guys at a quicker pace right now. Bottom line is we have a need and you got to go."

This week marks the first road game and Addazio knows he has a tough task at hand. The unbeaten Wildcats have a score to settle after Florida got up on them big a year ago.

"Kentucky is well coached," he said. "They have a good scheme and have good players that play hard. I am really impressed with Kentucky. It will be a good environment up there and we have to get ready to go."

"Don't forget last year going into that game, they had one of the best defenses in the SEC. We had a heck of a game last year, so it was one of those days. It was a little uncharacteristic...what happened. I think that is a good football team we are playing."

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