With the team preparing for its first road contest of 2012, a 3:30 p.m. game on Saturday against the Texas A&M Aggies, Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media Tuesday to discuss choosing a starting quarterback, cursing in the press box and how the offense can be more productive going forward.
GOING WITH DRISKEL
As head coach Will Muschamp noted on Monday, choosing sophomore Jeff Driskel to be the team’s starting quarterback was not a knee-jerk decision by any means. Pease confirmed this much on Tuesday when discussing the process that the coaches went through in picking him over classmate Jacoby Brissett.
“We conferred about it every day after the practice,” he said. “After the game we didn’t visit about it until Sunday after I had watched the tape. Will came in, and I think he valued my opinion and evaluation of the situation. It was tough because both guys have done a really good job. Just with the situation and kind of where it’s moving right now, Jeff is the guy that we decided to go with. And that’s no knock on Jacoby because Jacoby has the capabilities of doing this thing also. And credit to him – I just saw him in the hall an hour ago and he’s studying film.”
Pease refused to say that the coaching staff was leaning one way or another before the game despite the fact that Driskel played into the second quarter and did not step off the field for Brissett once in the second half.
“I don’t know if we were leaning it in August, but I can tell you this: It wasn’t a decision just based totally off the game. I mean, we had to see some things in the game. But it still goes back to spring ball, what the kids did in the summertime development, what they did through camp and continued to improve and how they handled situations. It was not just about one game,” he said.
Pease said that he will put more on Driskel’s proverbial plate this week but that the player must come through to prove that he deserves more opportunities to make plays. “It’s going to grow now,” he said. “Once you get with one guy and he has more reps in practice and kind of gets that comfort zone a little bit, his execution has to go to improve.”
MOM TO PEASE: WATCH YOUR MOUTH
Pease, while coaching up in the booth on Saturday, was caught by cameras venting frustration by uttering some expletives (like most coaches in the nation do). He was asked about that overall situation on Wednesday and did not apologize for his passion (nor should he) but did to his mother – for the language he used.
“My mom let me know,” he said with a smile. “Do I regret the camera? That’s a little bit how I am. I’m a typical guy that is competitive. I think everything I call is going to work. It’s nothing personal against kids. I probably got a little potty mouth sometimes.
“I apologize for that, but I hear it more from my mom afterwards than anybody else. I don’t really know the camera’s there, to be honest with you. I do now, so I guess I better be careful. [...] That’s not like the first time that’s happened to me. I could tell you a couple… My mother said to be careful and I need to watch my mouth. I think I had my mouth washed out with soap when I was nine. That’s not going to happen now, but…”
Read the rest of what Pease had to say on Muschamp handcuffing the offense, the consistency of the wide receivers and his plans for the running game.
NOT FRUSTRATED, JUST A REALIST
Muschamp was quite vocal on Saturday and Monday about his stubbornness in forcing Pease to call a somewhat vanilla offense in the season opener that included 66.6 percent running plays (42-21), a number of which were called in short-yardage situations on third down. Pease on Wednesday refused to put the onus on Muschamp’s shoulders, noting that he expected the team to be better in certain situations.
“There’s some learning curves to everything, even for me in general just getting a feel of the guys and how we’re going to go. We went in with the mentality to develop a run game. And I probably got a little hard-headed on some things on third downs,” he said. “Because you give us the opportunity to convert on third down, we do a better job of that [and] we’re probably creating more plays for [ourselves], controlling the ball more and hopefully producing more points. But I got to get a feel for what the guys can handle within a game situation, too.”
Pease refused to say he was handcuffed, like Muschamp indicated, but rather that he understood what the head coach wanted and was perfectly happy to execute it.
“There was a few times I stayed with it and a couple times I didn’t. I knew what the plan was going in, and I knew what we felt we were trying to develop still,” he said. “I want us to be good at it because I want Will to be able come to us with confidence and go for it on fourth-and-one if we don’t get it on third down, that our guys understand he has confidence in us, now it’s time to convert. I probably kept pushing because I knew one of them would pop. We just got to get better at it. They did a good job of stopping it. Whether I got to call better plays, set it up better, there’s probably some things that I personally can do to help the kids, put them in a better situation.”
Pease added that he was not frustrated whatsoever with the game plan and took the job at Florida knowing exactly the kind of offense Muschamp wants to run.
“I’m a realist. I’m not doing anything that I don’t feel comfortable with. Because if I was doing something that I don’t feel comfortable with, I wouldn’t have come here. I don’t feel that way at all. I know what the strength of our team is and what I felt good about what the kids can execute,” he said.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On playing sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy at wide receiver: “It’s not an indictment on anybody because we did it everywhere I’ve been. We took the fastest kid and tried to use his strengths. He’s a very talented kid, and they’re always eager to [play offense]. You get a chance to catch the ball. It’s fun; they’re into it. We’ll always use the ability to have him do some things for us.”
» On if redshirt junior WR Andre Debose’s lack of consistency is holding him back: “He’s getting better. It’s tough to put a kid sometimes…you got to be able to trust them and make sure they’re accountable. He’s getting there. He’s definitely got the abilities and we’ve got to get him incorporated in some things. To credit Frankie [Hammond, Jr.], Frankie’s a guy…he’s been very steady. You saw obviously he made a great play when the ball was in his hands on a third down and scored a big touchdown. Hey, there’s competition out there. It’s not so much what he isn’t…it’s so much he better stay up with the competition of everybody else.”
» On if he would like senior running back Mike Gillislee to average around 20 carries per game: “He’s the kind of back that’s got the strength and stamina to do it. That’s where backs, about 15 to 22 [carries] somewhere in there, is where they start to get a rhythm. [...] He is going to get stronger as his numbers get up. That’s where you’re seeing if they’re still getting the hard yards where they’re carrying people, getting the 3-4-5-yard gains and then eventually they’re breaking one.”
» On scoring more red zone touchdowns: “We can’t settle. I know we got the best kicker in the nation, but we got to be greedy. We can’t settle for field goals.”
» On his frustration with the team’s penalties and lack of discipline: “I look at the offensive ones, we had five, but they were critical ones. They’re correctable, so we got to go back. One of them is a kid who didn’t play offense last year. [...]You go back and look at it. I don’t think the management of things, time issues, I didn’t see us having any of that. So I know we had a good tempo and all that. You got to become more disciplined, and it’s not just a football thing. If you’re going to become more disciplined in penalties, you got to become more disciplined on how you run your life – going to class on time, how you prepare, being here, paying your tickets, get your books in on time. That’s how you got to become in life. You got to compartmentalize yourself and be disciplined.”