Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the third game of the season against the Tennessee Volunteers on Sept. 21.
MOVING THE BALL, PUTTING UP POINTS
Offense is about two things – possessing the ball for a long period of time and putting points on the scoreboard. The Gators were successful at doing one of those things against Miami but not the other as Florida gained 413 yards of total offense but only found the end zone once two Saturdays ago.
“We’ve moved the ball, and it’s come down to really this last game where, in the red zone, decisions, we turned the ball over. We had two bad decisions and really two bad calls on me. The quarterback sneak when we were down there, that’s on me. I shouldn’t have done it,” Pease said on Tuesday.
UF being a run-first offense intent on owning time of possession in a game and keeping the ball away from the other team has not resulted in high-scoring games for the Gators over the last three years, something that does not appear to bother Pease.
He is more concerned with completing long drives and seeing individual players break out during a game.
“We’re built to hold onto the ball a little bit more. I still think that we try to build explosive plays on what we can do. We stress to our kids, ‘You got to create dynamic situations. If you get the ball in your hands, you have to be that dynamic person.’ We got to take more advantage of our opportunities when we’re touching the ball on our drives because we’re not probably going to create as many drives for ourselves,” he explained.
“Our efficiency is going to be more grinding it a little bit more and create some big plays throwing the football. That’s where I think we got to be more consistent in getting points because we’re probably more designed to go 6-12 plays in a drive rather than 3-4 and hold onto the ball for more than two minutes in a drive.”
WIDEOUTS STEPPING UP
For the first time in nearly six years, Florida had two wide receivers register at least 98 yards in the same game when senior Solomon Patton (six receptions, 118 yards, touchdown) and redshirt junior Quinton Dunbar (seven receptions, 98 yards) each had arguably the best game of their respective careers.
Though Dunbar had productive receiving games before, Patton truly broke out while showcasing improved route running and greater consistency. Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel appears comfortable throwing to him now, and Patton’s reliability and ability to read defenses has helped him take the next step in the final year of his college career.
“You look at the guys that were here last year, I think they’ve really improved and done a great job,” said Pease of Patton and Dunbar. “Solomon had some big catches in the Miami game. Quinton had a good game and he had a big catch early in the game. He’s done a lot of things really, really good.”
He also stressed that the Gators are still hoping for a bit more from some of the other members of the position group.
“I think the young kids are still coming on, and when the time’s right, they’ll be there. It’s a matter of knowing your execution and being consistent in your job,” he explained. “No one wants them coming along faster than I do, but I think they’ve improved our team and they’ve given us more opportunity to do things throwing the ball, especially downfield.”
And what about getting freshman Demarcus Robinson – billed as UF’s most important 2013 recruit and the most impressive player during fall camp – more involved?
“He’s been in situations where he’s targeted. Sometimes coverage takes it away, sometimes he’s been there and we haven’t got the ball to him,” Pease said.
“It’s just a matter of getting into the flow. He’s definitely – I know it’s been tough to see – but he’s come on in practice. He works hard. He’s a very likable kid. I think it’s going to pop here soon.”
» On sophomore running back Matt Jones not being 100 percent prepared to play against Miami: “Going into that game, he had done some good things in practice. I don’t think he had been in the situation of being hit by defenders, and I think that probably showed up in the game. Now that he’s kind of gone through that in the last week and taken the majority of reps in the practice, built up his endurance and been bounced around a little bit, I think he’s a lot farther along to where he’s comfortable with what he’s doing an understanding the schemes. I think he’s much closer to where we need him to be.”
» On sophomore tight end Kent Taylor getting more involved: “Young. He’s young. Getting better. When he’s right, he’ll be right.”
» On his confidence in redshirt freshman kicker Austin Hardin: “He’s got a strong leg. I think the kid’s gotten better and better and better.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On his poor call on 4th-and-1 in the red zone against Miami: “I look at the down and distance. We got a half a yard. Obviously I think our guys up front are very good that they can move people. I called [the play]…and…I knew what [the Hurricanes] were probably going to go to. I think I put our guys in too tough of a spot because I knew they were all going to sink down in there and dive at their feet and just create a mosh pit of humanity. And I knew that. And right after I called it, I knew it. I guess I let my ego get involved a little bit that I trust our guys up front. I’m not saying I don’t ever trust them, because I always do, but I knew it put those guys in a tough spot that you can’t do that. I think there was better options of plays that we had, looking back on it. I probably should have gone with something else.”
» On how the Gators will use the Wildcat package going forward: “Definitely situationally. I think we’re always trying to see where in the open field, where in the red zone we can put [Trey Burton] in that situation and make some plays. And knowing we got that variety of plays, we need to have the ball in his hands sometimes.”
» On taking advantage of a seemingly weak Tennessee defense based on how it played against Oregon: “You got to throw that out because, one, this game is the SEC. they’re coming here to play us. It’s a rivalry game and they got to understand that the passion between the two teams – and probably some hatred between the two teams – and the competition level of what you’re going to get from them. You’re going to get their best shot. … There’s different situation of circumstances there with how the flow of the game went compared to probably what we’re going to be in.”