The subject of three news reports over the last two days, all of which indicate that Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp plans to fire him at season’s end following Saturday’s game against Florida State, offensive coordinator Brent Pease still made his scheduled weekly appearance with the media on Tuesday.
Mixed in with 11 football-related queries, Pease was asked 17 different questions about his current job status and whether he believes he has a future with the Gators past this season. He appeared forthright in his answers, often providing thoughtful and (one would assume) honest replies. Check out the entire unedited transcript below.
Q: What was your reaction to Will saying that the offense’s trouble has infected the entire team?
BP: “He has a point in the fact that you got to continue to change the game. I think, one, we went out, got ahead early and then we falter and not find some consistency and continue to find points here or there. I guess you struggle with confidence at certain points in time.”
Q: Do you believe you’ll be back next season?
BP: “I mean, I would hope so, but I mean, I’ll kind of direct that at that time later on probably after this game.”
Q: Do you feel like you’ve earned the right to be back?
Q: Why is that?
BP: “Why is that? I think, you know, you look at the first year and some of the situations and knowing the body of work and not just one, a game-to-game basis and situations we’ve been under. I’d hope that any evaluations are looked at that way. But, you know, I understand things, too. It’s not like. I know you got to win and have success. If it’s not meant to be… I came into this with friends, and I’m walking out of it with friends.”
Q: Will said that it’s been kind of hard to judge the development of players on offense because of all the injuries and stuff like that. Does that maybe apply to the job you’ve done as well?
BP: “I don’t look at it that way. I kind of look at it like it’s tough to judge the older kids and how they’ve developed because they’re hurt, you know. And then when you look at the younger kids, it still takes a certain amount of time to build fundamentals and get better and better with experience. You don’t like to put them under that fire continually with just game reps where people… You know, you like to do it in practice reps. You look at someone like Kelvin [Taylor]. I think he’s gotten better because he’s practiced on a week-to-week basis and played in games. It’s hard to probably look at someone like Skyler [Mornhinweg] because he probably didn’t have as many practiced reps built up. Now all of a sudden you’re playing in these game situations where it’s make it or break it.”
Q: Is it unfair to evaluate kind of some of the criticism you’ve gotten and stuff like that based on having two quarterbcaks out, three tackles, a running back?
BP: “I mean, you’d like to believe so. I mean, but I don’t really know if that’s my judgment. It’s maybe something, some substance you can use later. You don’t want to use it as an excuse because you’ve got to play with the kids you have.”
Q: Have you been able to run the offense that you wanted to run coming in here?
BP: “I mean, I think there’s some, yeah… We’ve done the things that we’ve done in the past. I think have you had all the components in place to do some of that stuff? No, not exactly. I mean, but you’ve got to get players and build them and continually have depth in certain situations.”
Q: Are you and Muschamp on the same page offensively right now?
BP: “Yeah, I know what his philosophy is.”
Q: Are you operating under his philosophy the way he wants you to?
BP: “You’d have to ask him that, but I believe so. I mean, I think, I mean, I don’t know why there’s a question now on it as much as he’s always said philosophically we’re on the same page.”
Q: Any regrets about not taking the Alabama job? You could’ve gone either way.
BP: “[Laughing] Not taking the Alabama job? No, I mean…”
Q: Do you think about it?
BP: “I mean, yeah, you think about it. But you look back on it and I know why I came here. And I know what sold me on the fact. So, you can’t look back at something like that. I mean, that’s a situation of what if. And I still did the right thing for me and my family and the reasons I did it. And you’ve got to continue to go from there and build.”
Q: Can you just talk about what it’s like for a coach in a situation like this? Because you do have a family, you have kids in school, you have other people besides you that are probably affected by this.
BP: “I guess you look at it when you make a move. There’s always a lot of positives. My kids come out here and they enjoy being here. My daughter’s now in college out in this part of the country. Obviously my wife likes it here. And Gainesville is a great place. I’ve always said this: the administration here has been good to me. It’s one of the best. It’s nothing you can complain about. I think sometimes in a year like this, when you’re in this kind of situation, you got to do the best you can and continue to grow and get better and understand what you can’t do. You find out some things that you can’t do along the way. But family-wise, being a coach, you’re kind of used to moving around a little bit and making some transition changes along the way. My family has handled it all the time.”
Q: Defense gave up 429 yards on Saturday but the offense was getting kind of scapegoated after the game. What’s been your reaction to that?
BP: “I look at it from a team standpoint. Our defense has held us in games ever since I’ve been here. We got to either find that time where we move along and move ahead and get the points we need to win. Just like the other day at the end, I mean I think we’re moving down and can go ahead, at least tie the game up. A couple of throws previous to the last one we were close. We didn’t get it done. I don’t know if… The thing you never want to do is look into a finger-pointing situation, and I don’t look at it that way. I still always look at it as we’re a staff, we’re a team. That’s how it is. If it’s coming my way, then it’s coming my way. That’s something you’ve just got to kind of take the blows.”
Q: Just a little hypothetical… Would you feel like a scapegoat if you didn’t make it to next season?
BP: “I mean, I don’t know. That’s a tough question to answer.”
Q: I mean, when you look at the injuries and what you dealt with last year, a first-year starting quarterback…
BP: “Yeah. Right now, I’d say no. I mean, I guess we always address that question later.”
Q: Has Muschamp given you any indication of your future here?
BP: “No, I think, I mean, not really. He’s like, we got a game to worry about in Florida State. It’s like he said. He said, I think, to you guys [Monday], evaluation wise we’ll do that at the end of season, just like probably with coaches and players and everything else.”
Q: Do you find it interesting though, three losses ago, he kind of came out in full support of you and the rest of the staff, saying this was the same group of guys that helped us 11 games last year…and he hasn’t done the same thing in recent weeks?
BP: “I don’t sit there and analyze what Will says as much. I mean, I see him daily and we talk and we’re probably in a different setting than the questions you guys are directing towards me and I guess your views on how he’s approaching. I mean, I know what I deal with him on a daily basis. I guess that’s where it’s at – my feelings are.”