But he has quite the familiarity with the Jackets’ offense. You could even say, a love for the Jackets’ offense.
Wait, is an opposing coach allowed to say that?
When you are Addazio, you can. As a first-time coach at Western Connecticut State in 1985, he learned the wishbone from Paul Pasqualoni. Then when Addazio left to run Cheshire (Conn.) High in the late 1980s and early 1990s, he ran the wishbone and won three state titles in a row (not to mention reeling off a 34-game winning streak).
It was not long before he found himself working for Bob Davie at Notre Dame in 1999, on staff with Urban Meyer and Kevin Rogers. Davie always had a fascination with aspects of the option offense (mostly because he hated defending it). When he took over with the Irish in 1997, there was one coach on his list for potential offensive coordinators: Paul Johnson. The discussions never led anywhere, as Johnson ended up as head coach at Georgia Southern.
Two years later, their paths would (sort of) cross. Davie sent Addazio, Meyer and Rogers on a mission to Georgia Southern, where Johnson ran his version of the spread-option offense.
“He probably doesn’t remember that,” Addazio said.
Reached a few days later in his office, Johnson confirms, “I don’t remember.”
“We’d have at least 40, 50 staffs every spring that would come and visit back when we were really rolling,” said Johnson, who won two national titles while at the school.
The Notre Dame staff happened to be one of them, and it is a visit that has stuck with Addazio through the years.
“Bob was seriously saying, ‘Maybe we’re going to run this offense,’” Addazio said. “We never would do it because it felt like, ‘Can you really do that at Notre Dame?’”
Davie never ran the offense at Notre Dame, but Addazio and Meyer integrated parts of it at future stops. When Meyer was at Utah, Johnson had moved on to Navy and used to call “all the time.”
Addazio has run spread-option principles at Boston College, too. Now that his team has to try and slow down the run-heavy offense, Addazio is in his glory. He has even spearheaded the scout team, a rare move for a head coach.
“I love the offense,” Addazio says, and calls the scout team “my baby right there.”
Boston College already began working on Georgia Tech in the spring, hoping the extra practice would help come Sept. 3 when the teams play in Dublin, Ireland.
“That’s what we’re working on, the organization of our team that we’re going to use as scout team and the speed we have to play with,” Addazio said. “I’m using starters on that team. We’re going to simulate the speed of how they play.”
Johnson and his staff have already broken down Boston College, too, though their task is slightly more difficult. The Eagles have a new offensive coordinator and new defensive coordinator, so not only are they breaking down personnel, they had to break down old game tape from the coordinators’ previous stops. Offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler was recently at Virginia Tech; defensive coordinator Jim Reid was a position coach at Iowa but was a coordinator at Virginia in 2010, so there’s some overlap.
In between all that, Johnson found time to host more coaching staffs, the way he always does.
Wouldn’t you know it -- Bob Davie happened to send his New Mexico staff to Atlanta this year.