With the team preparing for its sixth game of the season, a 6 p.m. road game in Nashville, TN against the Vanderbilt Commodores, No. 4/6 Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media Tuesday to discuss improvements being made by his side of the ball and some of the standout players on offense.
EXECUTION, BIG PACKAGE PAYING DIVIDENDS
Florida is 15-for-15 over its last two games on third down short-yardage plays, a major turnaround for the Gators considering how terrible the team was in those situations over the first three games. Pease on Monday noted that improvement in that area alone has been a major factor in UF’s recent offensive success.
“Obviously it’s a sign of improvement and some focus on what we’ve put on the kids and what we’re trying to design up each week,” he said. “If you can stay on the field in those situations [it can pay dividends]. Credit to them also on the downs leading up to that because they’re putting themselves in good situations where we’re not in third-and-long.”
Pease said that a combination of execution and play calling has kept defenses off-balance, which is a change of pass for Florida considering early in the season the Gators were “trying to go straight forward and hit tight gaps inside.” Another reason for the recent success is the institution of what are often referred to as “jumbo packages” featuring more than the standard five offensive linemen.
“Some of the [defensive] ends are used to having tight ends on them and then all of a sudden you got D.J. Humphries or Ian Silberman, you got a guy that’s 300 pounds,” said Pease while explaining why such packages can be successful. “A lot of that is Coach [Tim] Davis. He just likes getting big guys out there. You know what they say, mass kicks ass, so I guess that is our theory behind it.”
IT’S THE QUIET ONES YOU GOTTA WATCH…
Senior running back Mike Gillislee lets his play do his talking. If his play could actually speak, it would scream for acknowledgement as one of the best rushers in the nation considering it could boast an average of 5.3 yards per carry for a total of 548 yards and seven touchdowns in five games.
Unfortunately the only ones taking notice of Gillislee right now are those who have actually seen him play. His offensive coordinator said Tuesday that while his star running back may not speak up much in public, he has a great personality behind the scenes.
“I think he wants to be good. He’s very humble. He’s always asking, ‘What was this guy like? How was he?’ He’s trying to be like some of the good ones that he knows as coaches, either Coach [Brian] White or myself, have been around.
“I can see he’s [perceived as] quiet because I don’t think he clamors to the limelight. You can tell by the way he goes out to practice every day. He’s very unselfish. He’s never complained once about wanting the ball more.”
Pease also said that Gillislee has legitimate NFL aspirations and should be able to succeed at that level because of everything he brings to the table.
“I definitely feel that Mike has the ability because I think he’s got great strength. I think he’s got vision, balance, and I think he’s got the ability to bounce and have quickness. I think he’s got a lot of tangibles that you have to have to play at the next level,” he said.
NOTES AND QUOTES
» On if sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel struggled on Saturday: “I don’t think he struggled. I think there was a point where maybe he was getting a little frustrated, but we knew that was going to happen. His maturity is improving every week. You’re going to face some of those [games], and you have to handle those situations, especially in this league. You see the one fumble – he knew he messed up, shouldn’t have done that, should have had better ball security. But he still did some good things throwing. There’s always thing that you learn from within watching a game film afterwards. I’m comfortable with what he did. He handed what we had to do. He still made the plays he had to make, and he’s a kid that was right back in there on Sunday looking to get better.”
» On strength and conditioning coach Jeff Dillman’s effect on the team: “I think he’s a very positive guy. I think he believes in his staff around him. I sent him a text Saturday night after the game to him and Jesse [Ackerman] saying, ‘Hey, when I look down there and they got their hands on their hips and our guys are still raring to go, that’s a product of what they’ve done from the summer on.’”
» On what Silberman brings to the offensive line: “About 310 lbs. He’s got some learning curve because he moves to an outside position and he’s normally attached to the center. You’re dealing with different techniques with the defensive linemen in front of you.”
» On if Florida has the ability to beat each opponent left on the schedule: “If they prepare, we got the ability to beat everybody. And if we don’t prepare, we got the ability to be beat.”
» On redshirt senior tight end Omarius Hines: “He’s probably one of our most athletic, explosive kids, and he’s got the ability to, once he catches a pass, go. He’s got the ability to break tackles. He’s an explosive, explosive weapon. Early in the game we tried to get one to him deep and we missed him. He’s a guy that figures in because he can be in a lot of different spots. We’ll continue to get him the ball more.”