Florida hires Jeff Choate as special teams coach

The vacancy created on the Florida Gators coaching staff when defensive line coach Bryant Young resigned one week ago has already be filled. The school officially announced on Wednesday that UTEP Miners defensive coordinator Jeff Choate has been added as the new special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach.

“We are excited to have Jeff Choate join our staff,” said Florida head coach Will Muschamp in a school release. “He is a high-energy coach, an outstanding recruiter and evaluator, and has a reputation as one of the top special-teams coaches in the nation. He has coached on both sides of the ball and was most recently a defensive coordinator. He sees the big picture and will be a great addition to our staff. We are very much on the same page philosophically.”

Choate, who accepted the position at UTEP just over three months ago on Jan. 8, after the program hired Sean Kugler to be its head coach, was the linebackers coach at Washington State under Mike Leach during the 2012 season.

He spent the previous six years primarily as special teams coordinator for the Boise State Broncos. During his tenure at Boise State, Choate also coached running backs (2006-08), linebackers (2009) and nickel backs (2010-11). He was a member of the same coaching staff as current Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who also worked with the Broncos from 2006-11.

Muschamp has been looking to fill his squad’s special teams coordinator job ever since he promoted D.J. Durkin to defensive coordinator following the 2012 season. He originally stated that special teams, in absence of its own coach, would be taught collectively by his staff. However, following Young’s resignation, Muschamp conceded that he would prefer to bring on a special teams coach.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to join the Gator staff and have the chance to compete at the highest level,” Choate said. “I’ve gotten to know Coach Muschamp over the past couple of years and have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach and a person. I’m looking forward to continuing the great special-teams tradition that has been established here and can’t wait to get to work. I would also like to thank everyone at UTEP, and most importantly Coach Kugler, for the support and opportunity they gave me. I wish him and the program nothing but the best of luck.”

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Florida softball passes road test in Palm Springs

Participating in the 2012 Cathedral City Classic at the Big League Dreams Sports Complex in Palm Springs, CA over the long weekend, No. 1 Florida Gators softball (13-1) won four of the five games they played and went 2-1 against top 25-ranked opponents. Though Florida may get knocked down from their top ranking when the new polls are released Tuesday, the Gators still found plenty of success over the weekend.

Florida started the event with back-to-back games against top competition on Thursday afternoon. UF defeated the No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies in a 1 p.m. start before falling to the No. 5 Washington Huskies at 3:30 p.m.

The Gators scored six runs on five hits in the early contest, using sharp hitting from junior catcher Brittany Schutte (1-2, 2 RBI, R, SB) and senior center fielder Michelle Moultrie (1-2, HR, RBI, 2 R, BB) to help propel them to a 6-5 victory. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Hannah Rogers pitched a complete game, striking out seven while giving up four earned runs (three in the top of the seventh) on nine hits with two walks.

Freshman RHP Lauren Haeger suffered her first loss of the season in the latter contest, allowing five runs (three earned) on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 5.0 innings. Washington led 1-0 through 2.5 innings, but Florida took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third after a triple from freshman second baseman Katie Medina (2-3, RBI, R) and a single by freshman third baseman Sami Fagan (2-4, RBI) sent two runs in. UF would not score again, leaving six on base over the course of the contest), as UW scored pairs of runs in the top of the fifth and six to pull away with a 5-2 win.

Gators head coach Tim Walton gave Haeger an immediate opportunity for redemption, throwing her in the team’s 1 p.m. game against the Brigham Young Cougars on Friday. Florida took down BYU 3-0 thanks partially to Haeger (4-1), who struck out five while scattering five hits and two walks in six innings. Fellow freshman RHP Alyssa Bache came on for the final inning, striking out two to earn her first save of the season. UF scored all three of their runs on two dingers including a solo shot by junior designated hitter Ensley Gammel (1-3, RBI, R) and a two-run bomb by sophomore shortstop Cheyenne Coyle (1-2, 2 RBI, R, BB, SB) one inning later.

Gammel and Coyle found their power strokes again in the Gators’ second match-up on Friday, a 5-1 victory over the No. 8 Texas Longhorns. Florida got to the plate in the top of the first, but Texas matched the score with a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Gammel (1-3, RBI, R) and Coyle (1-3 RBI, R) then each connected on home runs in the top of the fourth, vaulting UF ahead of UT permanently. Haeger (1-2, 2 RBI) and Schutte (0-2, RBI, BB, SB) were responsible for the other runs in the game, while Rogers only gave up four hits while striking out eight in a complete game outing that did not include an earned run.

Rogers (8-0) earned her third win in as many days on Saturday by striking out five and scattering five hits with only one walk in a complete game outing as the Gators took down the Boise State Broncos 3-0 to close out their road trip. Schutte (1-3, 2 RBI) hit a two-RBI single in the top of the first to give Florida an early advantage, and junior right fielder Kelsey Horton (1-3, RBI, R) smacked a solo homer in the fifth to extend UF’s lead.

It should come as no surprise that some of the team’s best performers over the weekend – Schutte, Coyle, Gammel and Medina – all hail from the state of California.

The Gators returned to Gainesville, FL on Saturday and will remain in town by hosting an event next weekend. Florida will take on Eastern Michigan on Thursday before competing in the Lipton Invitational from March 2-4. UF will take on EMU again on Friday as part of the event along with Gardner-Webb (twice), Tennessee State and Campbell. The Gators are set to open Southeastern Conference play on March 7.

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Getting to know new Florida OC Brent Pease

Who is Brent Pease and how will he fit as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the Florida Gators? While the second part remains to be seen, OGGOA attempted to get you some answers to the first question and four others by checking in with beat writer Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman, who has been covering the Boise State Broncos throughout Pease’s entire tenure on staff.

QUESTION: What kind of coach do you perceive Pease to be in terms of his manner on the field and the way in which he interacts with his players?
CHADD CRIPE: “The best I can tell he’s got a very good relationship with the players. He’s a fiery guy, particularly when he was the wide receivers coach. It’s pretty famous around here that he got into it pretty good with Titus Young on the sideline at Hawai’i when Titus [Young] had decided to fly the hang loose sign when he scored touchdowns that day. I think he did it two or three times, and the last time he got a penalty for it, so the coaches were not happy.

“He definitely has a fiery side to him. My understanding of the relationship with the players is that they have appreciated what he has done for them in terms of what he has taught them and the way he’s pushed them. I actually talked to Titus the other day and he mentioned sort of how Pease helped him get where he is. You look at the players he’s coached and the results they’ve gotten. He’s coached some of the best wide receivers in the history of Boise State and gotten their best years out of them. With Kellen [Moore] this year, he got Kellen’s best season out of him. The results are very good.”

Background: Pease has coached and developed four of the best wide receivers in school history including Young, Austin Pettis, Jeremy Childs and BSU single-season touchdown record holder Tyler Shoemaker (16, 2011).

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Brent Pease named Gators offensive coordinator

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp completed his 2012 coaching staff on Wednesday by hiring Brent Pease to succeed Charlie Weis as offensive coordinator.

A member of the Boise State Broncos’ staff since 2006, Pease has served as the team’s wide receivers coach (2006-10), assistant head coach (2007-10) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2011). Prior to his stint with Boise State, he was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Baylor (2003-05), Kentucky (2001-02), Northern Arizona (1999-2000) and Montana (1996-98).

“I’ve had him on my radar for a while,” Muschamp said in an official school release. “I think we have improved our football program. We’re on the same page philosophically with what we want to be, and that to me is what strikes you the most. He’s not a stat guy. He is a guy who wants to win football games. If you look at the last six or seven years at Boise … they won football games. He was really a strong force behind what they have been doing offensively.”

“I’m excited to join the University of Florida football family and The Gator Nation,” Pease said in kind. “I’ve always had the utmost respect for Coach Muschamp and the UF program and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work at one of the premier institutions in the nation. I look forward to working with a tremendous coaching staff and, from what I hear, a great group of eager, young football players.

“Coach Muschamp and I share a lot of the same philosophies so this was a perfect fit. I want to be multiple in our offensive formations and have a balanced attack with tempo. I firmly believe in being fundamentally sound and red-zone efficient. I want to develop our players in a pro-style offense that can help them at the next level. ”

Pease signed a three-year contract with the University of Florida that is set to pay him approximately $500,000 annually, according to the Associated Press.

He arrived in Gainesville, FL last Friday afternoon, as OGGOA first reported, and met with Muschamp over the course of the weekend.

However, The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley revealed Tuesday that Muschamp first held an interview with Pease in late December in Jacksonville, FL as his team was practicing for the 2012 Gator Bowl. Dooley also reported that the Gators met with or interviewed 12-15 candidates before deciding to hire Pease, who was reportedly also being considered by head coach Nick Saban for the same job with Alabama.

In his one year as offensive coordinator at Boise State, Pease’s Broncos finished ninth in total offense (481.3 yards), fifth in scoring offense (44.2 points), 40th in rushing offense (171.9 yards) and 11th in passing offense (309.4 yards)

He will join a Florida team looking to improve its offense in a major way. The Gators were ranked No. 105 in total offense at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, gaining just 328.7 yards per game. Florida was 71st nationally in scoring offense (25.5 points), 73rd in rushing offense (143.0 yards) and 89th in passing offense (185.7 yards).

Continue Reading » Brent Pease named Gators offensive coordinator

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Brent Pease hired as Florida Gators offensive coordinator, move to be announced Wednesday

Boise State Broncos offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brent Pease has been hired and will officially be named to the same position with the Florida Gators on Wednesday, according to reports published Tuesday by ESPN and The Gainesville Sun.

Pease, who OGGOA first reported was in Gainesville, FL last Friday meeting with head coach Will Muschamp and University of Florida administration about the vacant position on the coaching staff, stayed in town over the weekend but was expected to meet with Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban about his team’s offensive coordinator job on Tuesday following his team’s participation in the BCS title game. Pease wound up cancelling that interview, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Sources told OGGOA Thursday evening that all indications pointed to Pease being named the Gators’ next offensive coordinator last Friday. He and his wife flew into Orlando, FL in the afternoon and were driven up to Gainesville to accept the job offer, but his hesitation in accepting and wanting to first speak with Saban derailed that plan.

The AP further reports that the terms of Pease’s initial contract with UF are for three years at approximately $500,000 annually.

A member of Boise State’s staff since 2006, Pease has served as the team’s wide receivers coach (2006-10), assistant head coach (2007-10) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2011). Prior to his stint with BSU, he was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Baylor (2003-05), Kentucky (2001-02), Northern Arizona (1999-2000) and Montana (1996-98).

In his one year as offensive coordinator, Pease’s Broncos finished ninth in total offense (481.3 yards), fifth in scoring offense (44.2 points), 40th in rushing offense (171.9 yards) and 11th in passing offense (309.4 yards)

He will join a Florida team looking to improve its offense in a major way. The Gators were ranked No. 105 in total offense at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, gaining just 328.7 yards per game. Florida was 71st nationally in scoring offense (25.5 points), 73rd in rushing offense (143.0 yards) and 89th in passing offense (185.7 yards).

Pease was hired to be offensive coordinator at Indiana for the 2011 season but wound up heading back to the Broncos two weeks later when head coach Chris Petersen offered him a promotion after a vacancy was created when Bryan Harsin left for Texas.

Pease and Muschamp crossed paths in 2001 and 2002 when the former was with Kentucky and the latter with LSU. Muschamp’s team was victorious in both games but just barely, beating UK 29-25 in 2001 and 33-30 in 2002. The second victory is known as the “Bluegrass Miracle” in which LSU, the road team, tossed a 74-yard game-winning touchdown with no time remaining on the clock.

A former starting quarterback at Montana (1985-86), Pease spent four years toiling around the NFL but only officially made the Houston Oilers’ roster (1987-88). He also played for two teams in the World League of American Football (1991-92) as well as for the Arena Football League’s Cincinnati Rockers (1993).

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Florida targets Pease as offensive coordinator

Boise State Broncos offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brent Pease was in Gainesville, FL on Friday meeting with Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and University of Florida administration about the vacant position on the coaching staff.

Pease, who ESPN reported Thursday afternoon is also being pursued by the Alabama Crimson Tide and head coach Nick Saban, was expected by Florida officials to accept the job Friday but instead informed them that he had planned to meet with Saban on Tuesday following the BCS title game.

Sources told OGGOA Thursday evening that all indications pointed to Pease being named the Gators’ next offensive coordinator on Friday. He and his wife flew into Orlando, FL Friday afternoon and were driven up to Gainesville to accept the job offer, but his decision to first speak with Saban next week derailed that plan.

The Gainesville Sun notes that “Muschamp may have the advantage because he moved on Pease first, shortly after Charlie Weis left to take the Kansas job on Dec. 9. Saban lost his offensive coordinator, Jim McElwain, five days later to Colorado State.”

A member of Boise State’s staff since 2006, Pease has served as the team’s wide receivers coach (2006-10), assistant head coach (2007-10) and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach (2011). Prior to his stint with Boise State, he was the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Baylor (2003-05), Kentucky (2001-02), Northern Arizona (1999-2000) and Montana (1996-98).

Pease was hired to be offensive coordinator at Indiana for the 2011 season but wound up heading back to the Broncos two weeks later when head coach Chris Petersen offered him a promotion after a vacancy was created when Bryan Harsin left for Texas.

Pease and Muschamp crossed paths in 2001 and 2002 when the former was with Kentucky and the latter with LSU. Muschamp’s team was victorious in both games but just barely, beating UK 29-25 in 2001 and 33-30 in 2002. The second victory is known as the “Bluegrass Miracle” in which LSU, the road team, tossed a 74-yard game-winning touchdown with no time remaining on the clock.

A former starting quarterback at Montana (1985-86), Pease spent four years toiling around the NFL but only officially made the Houston Oilers’ roster (1987-88). He also played for two teams in the World League of American Football (1991-92) as well as for the Arena Football League’s Cincinnati Rockers (1993).

It is plausible that Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley makes Pease a take-it-or-leave-it offer on Friday, not wanting the Gators’ interest in the coach to be used as leverage for a deal with the Crimson Tide.

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Stoops denies he is close to signing with Florida

Head coach Bob Stoops may leave the Oklahoma Sooners for the Florida Gators He also may not. Either way, Stoops explained to Tulsa World on Saturday that reports stating he is close to signing with Florida are false.

“Not true, whatsoever,” Stoops told the paper‘s Dave Sittler via text message. “I’m out recruiting [for Oklahoma] as we text.”

A seven-time Big 12 champion who also captured a national title after serving as the Gators’ defensive coordinator under head coach Steve Spurrier, Stoops has been the object of Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley‘s affection for years.

Foley has tried to hire Stoops on two other occasions but was rebuffed both times.

Though Stoops is widely believed to be the University of Florida‘s number one choice, word out of Gainesville, FL, is that Boise State Broncos head coach Chris Petersen not far behind in Foley’s pecking order.

Petersen, who has led Boise State since 2006, has never won fewer than 10 games in a season, is 2-0 in BCS bowl games (0-2 in non-BCS bowls), and has won four Western Athletic Conference titles in five seasons. He is also a two-time Paul “Bear” Bryant Award winner as Coach of the Year (2006, 2009).

Other current head coaches rumored to be up for the Florida job – in no particular order – include Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh, Connecticut’s Randy Edsall, Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen, Louisville’s Charlie Strong, Southern Mississippi’s Larry Fedora and Houston’s Kevin Sumlin. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, in line to succeed Mack Brown, is also believed to be an option.

Arkansas’ Bobby Petrino was thought to be a top candidate for UF, but he reportedly agreed to seven-year contract extension on Friday. Petrino was supposedly Foley’s number two choice when he hired current/former head coach Urban Meyer.

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TWO BITS: Soccer wins in 2OT, football in Top 25

1 » Opening the University of Florida’s 2010-11 athletic season on Friday, No. 11 Florida Gators soccer (1-0) defeated the Miami Hurricanes (0-1) 2-1 in a double-overtime match at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Scoreless in the first half, redshirt sophomore midfielder McKenzie Barney kicked the ball across the goal to the far post at 49’ to put Florida ahead. In the blink of an eye, Miami’s Blake Stockton hit an equalizer at 53’. Almost an hour of game time later, now in the match’s second overtime, freshman forward Taylor Travis put the Gators ahead for good with a seven-yard golden goal into the far post at 107’. Florida will need to regroup quickly as the ladies will travel to Orlando, FL, for an away game against the Central Florida Knights on Aug. 22 at 7 p.m. The match will air live on FOX Sports Florida.

2 » The defending National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide earned the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll released Saturday with the Gators coming in three slots behind at No. 4. In between the two are the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes and No. 3 Boise State Broncos; Alabama was awarded 54 of 60 possible first-place votes. Other Southeastern Conference teams ranked by the AP this preseason include Arkansas (No. 17), LSU (No. 21), Auburn (No. 22) and Georgia (No. 23). Florida finished last season listed No. 3 in the USA Today and Associated Press polls, also earning the No. 3 spot in the USA Today preseason poll released on Aug. 6.

Photo Credit: University of Florida/GatorZone.com

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