With the team preparing for its ninth game of the season, a noon game at home in Gainesville, FL against the Missouri Tigers, No. 7 Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media Tuesday to discuss his the team’s first loss of the season and how his unit can improve on the field.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
Head coach Will Muschamp mandated that Florida was going to be a tough, physical, run-first team. Though that was successful for the Gators early in the season, Florida’s run game has been shut down over the last two contests. Part of the reason for that is how predictable UF has been with the Gators running the ball on 78 percent of all first-down plays this season.
Pease admitted Tuesday that Florida’s first-down calls have “probably [been] a little predictable” but noted that a number of factors go into choosing first-down plays.
“We’re never going to get it back to balanced because the numbers are so skewed at this time in the season. You go on a game-to-game basis,” he said. “It’s something that we really want to do but based off of game situations, sometimes when defenses sting us a little bit, we put it on the guys up front to see if we can be more efficient on first down and get ourselves ahead of the chains if the previous sequence wasn’t that good for us. We just got to be better earlier on in the game.”
Florida also continues to lack an effective vertical passing game and now has for three-straight years. Though Pease is not responsible for what happened in 2010 or 2011, he said that getting big plays down field for the Gators is a top priority.
“We have opportunities. We got to be better for certain reasons, either blocking, either catching it, even making the throw. There’s all kinds of things involved in it,” he said. “Sometimes protection is good. Sometimes the call is bad based off a blitz. It’s a situational thing. It’s not like we don’t have it in. We have it in. We just got to take advantage of it when it’s there. Sometimes it’s called but coverages dictate to you that it’s too risky of a throw and to throw down, throw to your check-downs.”
NOTES AND QUOTES
» Pease on sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel’s progression to this point: “As I evaluate him still and work with him, he’s doing a lot better job with the pocket. He’s sitting in there now; he’s taking some hits. The kid’s got heart. The kid’s a tough kid. You can see that. He’s not gun-shy back there. He’s making his reads and making throws. There were a couple, more off scrambles, that I think he probably wish he had back. He’s gotten better. There’s some that you got to learn from.”
» Pease on if redshirt junior tight end Jordan Reed has bounced back from his fumble: “He’s fine. He’s made plays like that before. He’ll understand. He’s OK. He’s a kid that took it upon himself. He looked in the mirror, and he’ll be good with it. We’ll get better at it. It’s not that play that cost us the game or anything. We had all kinds of opportunities before that where we could have helped ourselves.”
» Though the Gators will not be phasing out the jet sweep that junior wide receiver Solomon Patton had been so successful in running this season, Pease admitted that losing Patton for the season has twisted some things around in regards to Florida’s offensive plans. It is expected that redshirt junior WR Andre Debose will stand in for Patton on those plays and others.
» Redshirt junior center Jonotthan Harrison admitted that the offensive line had its worst game of the season on Saturday, promising that “You guys won’t see that anymore out of the offensive line.” He did say, however, that he has “been pleased with what the offensive line has been putting out this year.” Harrison continued, “I just know that we’re going to bounce back this Saturday and make sure everything is fundamentally sound on the offensive line.”