Updated at 2:45 p.m.
The Florida Gators on Sunday fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis less than 24 hours after the team fell 37-7 to the No. 2 Florida State and competed its worst season since 1979.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach Pease and Coach Davis,” said Gators head coach Will Muschamp in a school release. “They are both good football coaches and even better people. There have been a lot of unfortunate circumstances this year, but that is part of the game sometimes. I want to thank each of them for their contributions to the program both on and off the field.”
According to CBSSports.com‘s Bruce Feldman, Pease and Davis had “friction” throughout the season and were “never on the same page.”
Pease was hired by Muschamp before the 2012 season and charged with an improving an offense that ranked 105th nationally under Charlie Weis, who left to become head coach at Kansas after the 2011 campaign.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to come to the University of Florida and work with a bunch of great coaches, administrative staff and players,” Pease said in the same release. “I know we came up short of our ultimate goal, but I will carry on knowing I gained valuable friendships and relationships during my time here.”
The Gators finished 103rd in total offense under Pease in 2012, averaging 334.4 yards per game. UF was even worse in 2013, coming in 112th nationally with an average net gain of just 316.7 yards per contest.
Florida’s offense averaged 414 yards over its first two games before junior quarterback Jeff Driskel was lost for the season with a broken fibula. The Gators also played most of the season without their top three offensive tackles, starting running back and one of their expected starting wide receivers.
Nevertheless, Florida never scored more than 44 points in a single game under Pease and only eclipsed 30 points seven times in his 25 games as the team’s offensive coordinator. The Gators averaged 26.5 points per game in 2012 (76th nationally) and only 18.8 per contest in 2013 (111th nationally).
“You got to change the scoreboard offensively. You got to be able to change the scoreboard. We’ve just struggled scoring points offensively. It’s been a week-in, week-out occurrence. My job to get it fixed and it will get fixed,” Muschamp said after UF fell 26-20 to Georgia Southern two Saturdays ago. “It’s very difficult for us to create explosive plays to get anything down the field. Just don’t ever do it.”
Davis was also hired by Muschamp before the 2012 season as a replacement for Frank Verducci, the offensive line coach of Weis’s choosing.
He was widely credited with Florida’s much-improved running game last season, which compiled 188.1 yards per game (39th nationally). The Gators had their first 1,000-yard rusher 2004 in Mike Gillislee.
Without Gillislee or sophomore Matt Jones (torn meniscus) for most of the season, UF picked up just 145.8 yards per game on the ground in 2013 (86th nationally).
Pease received a $100,000 raise and had a new annual salary of $590,000 beginning in 2013; he also would have earned an additional $100,000 as part of a longevity clause if still employed by UF on Jan. 31, 2014. Pease will be owed approximately $1.2 million by the school. Davis got a $25,000 raise to $300,000 this season but was in the last year of his contract.
Long also reports that Jacksonville head coach Kerwin Bell and Western Kentucky head coach Bobby Petrino can already be ruled out as potential replacements for Pease. Bell, a former Florida quarterback, was interviewed by Muschamp after the 2011 season before he eventually hired Pease.
OnlyGators.com will update this breaking story shortly. Stay tuned.