CHOMPING On: Effect of Billy Gonzales’ departure

By Adam Silverstein
December 11, 2009

Covering the Florida Gators as close as I do every day, I often find the need to vent regarding some of the coverage, news, opinions and general sentiments surrounding the program. In those instances, OGGOA presents CHOMPING On:

You are the wide receivers coach at one of the best programs in college football. You are a respected recruiter. You have known the head coach for almost two decades and have coached under him for the last eight seasons. You are passed over for an offensive coordinator position by said coach who, instead, gave it to an offensive line coach even though you were a successful red zone playcaller the previous season. Your name is Billy Gonzales, and you have just left the Florida Gators and head coach Urban Meyer to become the “passing game coordinator” for the LSU Tigers.

Was Gonzales’ departure really that surprising? Is it truly a big deal in the long-run? The answer to both of these questions is “No,” and I am here to tell you exactly why.

When former OC and quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen left after the 2008 season to take the head coaching job with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Meyer chose OL coach Steve Addazio to replace him rather than Gonzales, though the latter was expected by many to be the next guy in line. Aside from that decision surely not sitting well with Gonzales, it showed Meyer’s lack of confidence in him to perform in that capacity – otherwise, why would he not have given him that opportunity?

It is important to remember that Meyer knows Gonzales well; their relationship goes back to when Meyer was his coach with the Colorado State Rams in the early 1990s. Meyer did not flip a coin and chose Addazio, he made a calculated decision. And now that Gonzales has told Meyer he is leaving (which is the assumed story going around, though perhaps Meyer asked him to seek other employment?), the two-time National Championship-winning coach (reportedly) already has a replacement in mind in Central Michigan Chippewas WR coach Zach Azzanni.

As far as recruiting goes, yes, Gonzales was the team’s recruiting coordinator. Some recruits may be impacted by his decision – such as four-star wide receiver Kenny Stills (Carlsbad, CA) who told Rivals he must reconsider his options. But for the most part, Gonzales’ departure will not have any major impact on what has the potential to be the Gators’ best top-to-bottom recruiting class ever.

Gators fans should be happy that their program’s coordinators and assistant coaches are sought after by other universities. That means the team is successful, the recruiting is top-notch and the men in charge (Meyer and athletic director Jeremy Foley) are good decision makers and superb evaluators of coaching talent. Losing Gonzales and former defensive coordinator Charlie Strong do not indicate that Florida’s program is crumbling or that coaches are “jumping ship.” These incidents are representative of the immense notoriety that comes with success and winning.

Meyer, who has won and thrived in every stop throughout his career, has lost coaches before, moved on and remained prosperous. There is no doubt that he will fill the vacancies and do so with talented coaches who have great football minds. New assistants and coordinators will join the staff, and the Gators will move on without Gonzales in the same way it survived and was exceedingly successful before he arrived.


  1. gatormiami says:

    Gonzales departure, a lateral move to an inferior program, speaks volumns. Either Gonzales is pissed at the slight & upset with the Gators’ lack of offense & Meyer’s refusal to address it or he was asked to leave after such a long association. I tend to believe it is the former rather than the latter.

    Meyer either plans to make NO change in the OC position or has a replacement in mind. If he plans to make no change, the program may well be on the decline, as Addazio is obviously not up to the job. Offensive recruits will not continue to commit to a program so lacking in offensive leadership & we may lose several to LSU & elsewhere this season. If Meyer intends to make a change at the OC position, he can instill confidence in both current & future players, informing them that he understands & is addressing the problem.

    We’ll see very soon. Go Gators! (Goodbye Addazio.)

  2. Aligator says:

    agreed …. top notch stuff man ..

  3. gatormiami – I would not necessarily call LSU an “inferior” program by any means. As far as OC changes, from what I hear, Meyer is looking to make a number of coaching changes in the offseason, including some that are not as apparent as what has already happened (DC, WR). Meyer is not suddenly going to go from an offensive genius who has won at every stop he’s visited to a guy who can’t get recruits or quality coaches. I am quite confident in his ability to replenish the program with solid leaders.

  4. gatormiami says:

    We’ll see what changes take place, but whoever was in charge of the Gator offense this season could hardly be characterized as an “Offensive genius”. (And most would consider LSU to be an inferior program to UF at this time.)

  5. Brittany says:

    Nice read, and I agree. I have no doubt in my mind that Coach Meyer will appoint someone who is very talented. I also think that he will make the necessary changes in regards to other members of the coaching staff.

  6. I’m speaking from a historical perspective on both subjects, gatormiami, not just in 2009.

  7. BRLGator says:

    I am more concerned about losing Recruiter Gonzales then Coach Gonzales, that being said the new recieivers coach looks like he could be a real up and comer.

    Hey adam, you think we go outside the program to get or Dcoordinator or does mccartney or bedford get the bump.

    I d really like to see us go out and get a recruiter to replace gonzales ala kiffin getting oregon. maybe promote bedford and see we can get willie martinez to take over the secondary

  8. Completely agree BRL, the recruiting aspect is more important than the coaching aspect when it comes to Gonzales. To answer your second question, I think Meyer has a list that has outside candidates ahead of McCarney. However, should none of them want to come over, I think McCarney is the choice if he stays in-staff. Bedford certainly deserves a promotion – as you said.

  9. Sarasota 'cane says:

    I think Meyer is going to hire his Utah OC Mike Sanford as UF’s new OC. Sanford was the architect behind Alex Smith’s success at Utah, and he was recently fired by UNLV. It makes more sense than any other hire given his relationship and past success with Meyer. Of course this is just a guess based on my humble opinion.

  10. Sarasota 'cane says:

    Yeah, like that! He He

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