Florida Football fans' Public Enemy Number One, Steve Addazio, has suddenly found himself some responsibility and new found respect. After spending the season as the target of our darts over the Gators' offensive production, Addazio pulled in Dominique Easley and Sharrif Floyd. Addazio also gets credit for offensive linemen Ian Silberman and Signing Day pull, Chaz Green. His work was good enough to be named Rivals' top SEC recruiter. Addazio also softened the blow of Urban Meyer's leave of absence. Many players, including Easley, said Addazio's work influenced their decision to stay with UF.
Addazio is now asked to do more behind the scenes work, finding the right guy for Florida's defense. Meyer will ultimately make the decision, but it is up to Addazio to find the right guy and remain within UF's budget. The Gainesville Sun's Robbie Andreu points at Clemson co-defensive coordinator Charlie Harbison as a likely candidate. Addazio also told the Sun's Pat Dooley that "a couple" of guys will visit with Florida staff Wednesday. Having Addazio at the controls is a long way from this season, when some of us (read: me) were thinking Addazio was something like Brutus ending the reign of Julius Caesar.
On the other side of North-South Drive, Dan Werner is not experiencing the same renaissance. You could make the case that Werner has gotten worse as a player in each of his four seasons. Since his sophomore season, Werner's points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game and field goal percentage have dropped in each season. Finally removed from the lineup in favor of Chandler Parsons, Werner seems to think the problem is fat guys on message boards and bloggers in their parents' basement.
"I know there’s some stuff out there. People have been saying stuff," said Werner, UF’s only remaining link to the 2007 national title team. "I don’t read it, I just hear people telling me stuff on the computer."
"I’m sure there are people out there who like me a lot, and there are a lot of people who don’t like me," Werner said. "I can’t really control that. I know I help this team win and play well. I know my teammates appreciate me. They tell me that. That’s all that matters."
But the numbers don't lie. Werner may be a nice kid who will give you change when you make a bucket in practice or wipe off the weight bench. But he is not an SEC starter. Now that Parsons is an SEC starter, Werner will have to learn to be mature about his new station on the team. Instead of sulking or worrying what people say about him, Werner needs to be the sixth man. With Kenny Kadji officially out for the season, Werner will remain the first big off the bench. He has to stop playing like the freshman who'd pass to the nearest Oh Four and act like a senior. And that doesn't mean using game time to shoot out of a year long slump. Billy Donovan gives Werner credit for getting back on defense and understanding the Gators' offense. If that is what Werner can contribute, lovely. But when it gets close to March, UF will have problems with deep teams. Werner is going to have to get over being benched and act like a senior.