In case you missed it, former Orange star Rob Konrad sent a letter to Daryl Gross and Nancy Cantor regarding the current state of the Syracuse football program. Konrad apparently sent the letter on behalf of a group of “prominent football alumni”. With regards to how to get the program on track, Konrad writes that Gross and Cantor should hire someone with northeast recruiting ties and a non-pro style coach, instead of a big-name, expensive coach like Lane Kiffin. That leads Konrad to suggest former Orange assistant and current Florida assistant Steve Addazio:
Addazio began his career as a high school coach in Cheshire, CT and keeps many of the relationships of the past regime with the high school coaching element of the Northeast region. He has built a reputation as a tremendous recruiter and a passionate motivator who has become legendary for his pre-game speeches. Addazio has helped organize some of the most potent non-conventional offenses in college football including Florida’s National Championship season and Syracuse’s Big East Championship and BCS seasons. Besides coaching at the pinnacle of college football, local knowledge and motivational attributes, considering his past ties to the University, he may come with a reasonable price tag.
Addazio was an assistant at Syracuse from 1995-1998 before following Kevin Rogers to Notre Dame. While there he served as the offensive line and tight ends coach for two seasons. After head coach Bob Davie was fired, Addazio moved on to Indiana, serving first as the offensive line coach for two seasons followed by a season as the offensive coordinator.
During his time at Florida Addazio has coached both the tight ends and the offensive line. This year he was named the assistant head coach in charge of the Gators offense. But according to this bio the play calling falls to offensive coordinator Dan Mullen. Here are the numbers that Florida put up the year before Addazio took over as the offensive line coach (2005) and the two years later:
As you can see their sacks allowed per game dropped from nearly three a game in 2005 to one per game last season. Pretty impressive. Another trend to look at is the numbers of Addazio’s offenses at Indiana. Below are the numbers from the two years prior to Addazio’s arrival as the offensive line coach:
These numbers are amazing, but a lot of that has to do with who was playing quarterback for the Hoosiers during those two seasons: Antwaan Randle El. For those of you who remember him before his days as an NFL wideout, Randle El was an excellent college QB and put up some great numbers rushing the ball (similar to another such QB Addazio worked with at Syracuse).
After Addazio’s arrival (and Randle El’s departure) the Indiana offense struggled to gain any real momentum:
Things didn’t get much better when Addazio took over as the offensive coordinator:
Granted, it is very hard to replace a talent like Randal El. Therefore it is hard to place too much blame on Addazio for the poor numbers of his Hoosier offenses. On the other side of that coin- how much do you buy into Addazio’s accomplishments at Florida? Is their offensive success the result of Urban Meyers schemes or the quality of his assistant coaches?
There is no doubt that a top notch offensive line coach makes a huge difference to a team’s success (look at what Mitch Browning has done this year with the improved SU line). And having northeast ties would definitely help us recruit better in the states where we used to shine before Rutgers and UConn got their programs going in the right direction. And Addazio is a former Orange coach, so it all makes sense on paper.
But is he a viable candidate? I don’t see it. In fact, if we go the route of hiring another head coach without previous head coach experience, I’m more impressed with Addazio’s colleague, Dan Mullen. He’s been Florida’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2005 and before that worked with Urban Meyer at both Utah and Bowling Green. He has tutored the likes of Tim Tebow, Chris Leak, Alex Smith, Josh Harris and Omar Jacobs. That is an impressive list. And he would bring Meyer’s spread attack that has been successful at all three of those schools to the Carrier Dome turf. I guess he’s another name to keep in mind if “that which we should never speak of” actually happen .