WKU football notes: What is Azzanni’s role?

WKU football notes: What is Azzanni's role?

Brad Stephens

When Zach Azzanni was named offensive coordinator in the offseason, some were surprised to learn Head Coach Willie Taggart would retain play calling responsibilities.

In most programs, the offensive coordinator calls plays, to be approved by the head coach.

Azzanni, who came to WKU after a stint as Florida’s wide receivers coach, said the offense will be operated not just by him or Taggart, but by a group of coaches.

“We’re all going to gameplan together, and we’re going to call it by committee,” Azzanni said. “Coach Taggart obviously has the final say in everything we do.

“He’s the head coach and this is his program. It’s our offense, it’s not his, it’s not mine, it’s not (running game coordinator) Coach (Walt) Wells, it’s ours.”

Azzanni said the offensive coaches want to emphasize more of a balanced offense this season to take the load off senior running back Bobby Rainey.

He even mentioned that the Toppers may employ a few gadget plays this year, and hinted that some may feature the throwing abilities of wide receivers Courtney Dalcourt and Marcus Vasquez as well as running back Antonio Andrews.

All three played quarterback in high school.

“We can do some things, and if anything else, scare some people and make them be honest on defense,” Azzanni said.

Vasquez said Azzanni, who also serves as wide receivers coach, has created a high-energy atmosphere in the offense.

“He’s high-strung. He’s very high strung,” Vasquez said, smiling. “It’s helped us come out here focused, ready to play. He keeps us in line, I’ll tell you that. He’s got a way of coaching, and it’s working.”

Offense ahead of defense Wednesday

Taggart said the offense had a strong practice session Wednesday night, while the defense struggled.

“I thought offensively we did some good things, we executed well, especially in the passing game,” Taggart said. “That was encouraging.

“I thought defensively we didn’t play with a lot of energy. And I think that shows our defense that when we don’t play with energy, we don’t play well.”