10/9: Pease impressed with execution, Gillislee

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.

“He’s very personable. I love his personality. I love his attitude each day. He’s very polite,” Pease said. “In spring, I felt real comfortable that the kid showed something every day. I think he goes to practice with great preparation, worth ethic and attitude. He’s always got a smile on his face.

“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.”

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3/21: Pease discusses players, philosophies

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease had plenty to say after four days of spring practice and did exactly that on Wednesday afternoon. Pease discussed specific players, general philosophies and plenty else in a media availability session.

PLAYER EVALUATIONS

Though he has only had the opportunity to watch them participate in four days of spring practice, Pease has already developed early opinions on some players.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Quinton Dunbar: “I’ve just seen him improve. I’ve seen him catch the ball better. I’ve seen him make some big plays in practice. Practice is built to go fast and be challenging so that games are easier. If he can react to what he’s been doing and play the game at the speed and play it instinctively like he’s gotten better each day. Is he where he needs to be? No. But he’d probably be the first to tell you that. But he’s starting to play the game faster. He’s not thinking so much. When kids are thinking they play slow, because they don’t know everything, they don’t trust and they have no confidence. Obviously we’re working through that but I’ve seen the pace of how he plays the game every day get faster and faster and faster.”

Redshirt sophomore running back Mack Brown: “I don’t know what it was in the past. I just know he’s been steady, he runs the ball and is a physical runner downhill. Good pad level. Does he make mistakes? Yeah, but he’ll fix those. Being a running back, you’ve got to know running the ball, protection, pass routes, so you’ve got to pick those phases. And right now he’s been a pretty consistent runner. Ball security – very pleased. Kid’s got a great attitude. He’s awesome. [I] love being around him.”

Sophomore fullback Hunter Joyer: “I like his intelligence, his physicality, just the fact he’s smart, can bring a lot of things and be in that fullback position and then also be backups in other positions. He’s got good hands, he’s willing to block, he’s a very unselfish player, very coachable. So you hope that that carries over some leadership on him.” Pease said that Joyer will not only block and run the ball but also contribute in the passing game.

Redshirt senior tight end Omarius Hines (transitioning to running back): “He’s natural. He’s still got to learn some things with it but obviously he gives us good depth. He’s got a lot of abilities knowing his hands and his explosion just running the ball – his physical attributes. It’s been good to see him. Him, as well as some other kids, you kind of see their confidence grow every day.”

Redshirt junior WR Andre Debose (if he will emerge): “I would hope so, but I haven’t seen that. He’s working through some offseason injuries that he’s had.”

POSITION THOUGHTS

» On how the quarterbacks are developing: “I think they’ve picked up a lot. You’re starting to see a little bit of everything. You’re seeing some management skills, some huddle control, see them throw the ball with better anticipation. You’re seeing them throw the ball with more authority. They’re starting to get a grasp of everything and it’s encouraging. They’re more accurate than they’ve been, and I think they’re doing a really good job with it. There’s a long ways to go, but it’s as much improvement as you’ll see in four days. It’s encouraging.”

» On which receivers are standing out:Frankie Hammond has done some good things; he brings a lot to the table for us. Quinton’s really done well in four days, really done well, drastic improvements every day. I think Latroy [Pittman]‘s going to be all right. Trey Burton adds to the picture in being able to be in some of those spots. Debose will be fine.”

» On the offensive line looking better/bigger: “I think we can be pretty good. One of the things I’ve seen is their bodies. Their bodies are changing. I think they’ve done some great things in the weight room, Coach [Jeff] Dillman and what he [and Jesse Ackerman have] done with those guys.”

» On if he hopes to have a feature running back: “Ideally, you hope you’ve got a guy who’s a horse and you give him the ball 25 times a game, but I don’t know that answer with what we have.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On his on-field disposition and if he gets in people’s faces like some of the other coaches: “I’d probably rather pull people aside. I’m not saying I can’t be demonstrative. Because I’m not, my intentions are never to belittle anybody, but if you’ve got to get a kid’s attention because focus needs to be needed because we’re out there to work, I’m going to grab someone’s attention. I’ve been in their shoes; I know when somebody is screwing off. I was that way sometimes when I was a player. But I figured I learned a little bit from my dad probably when he was my coach and ran a tight ship on me. I’m in to being the best teacher that I can.”

» On if the team has been watching a lot of Boise State film: “Yeah, they’ve seen the blue turf a lot. They’re probably getting tired of it. I said, ‘Make good plays, and we’ll put ours on it. We’ll make our own good tapes.’”

Photo Credit: UF Communications

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Will Muschamp on Florida’s 2012 recruiting class

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp held a press conference after his coaching staff received 23 National Letters of Intent on National Signing Day.

Opening statement:

“I’m real pleased with how recruiting went. Any time you get to this day, it’s a combination of a lot of hard work and effort by our staff. I think our staff did an outstanding job. You got to improve your program where you know you need to improve your program. Of the 23 players that joined our program today, 14 are line of scrimmage players – mid-skill and big-skill guys. We saw very easily in our season this year we struggled on both lines of scrimmage consistently being able to run the ball and stop the run. I certainly feel like we’ve addressed our most pressing need on both lines of scrimmage. We’ll develop playmakers and depth on both lines of scrimmage.

“I’m really excited about the guys we’ve got in that group and also eight skill guys, which includes a quarterback. We’d like to sign a quarterback every year. I think that’s important. A kicker, Austin Hardin, a guy that came in and did an outstanding job for us. We’re real pleased about him.

“We’ll know about this class in two or three years. I’ll tell you the same thing I did last year: Football is a developmental game, and you got to develop he players. I’m really excited about Jeff Dillman and Jesse Ackerman and our strength staff, our coaching staff – the job that they do in getting our players in here and doing a nice job with them. We’ll know a lot more about this class in two or three years. At the end of the day, this is a developmental game. We’ll be able to address that. It’s not about winning in February. It’s about winning in the fall and developing your football team and addressing your needs, and I think we’ve done that.”

» On Florida recruiting so well in the state of North Carolina:D.J. Durkin, first of all, is our area recruiter for that area. He does a really nice job of recruiting, period. It was a full team effort. [...] We honed in on the guys we want and the guys we feel like can come and make a difference in our program, and we go after those guys.”

» On three/four-star defensive end Alex McCalister: “Alex McCalister is a guy that came to our camp, he broad jumped over 10 feet, close to a 40” vertical leap. A guy that is 6’6” and 220 lbs., his best football is ahead of him. That’s a very, very explosive athlete and a guy that hasn’t played a whole lot of football.”

» On flipping five-star DE Dante Fowler: “You recruit through this process and sometimes when you get there on signing day, you’re leaving it up to the young man and his family to make a decision. I think Dante had a good fit here at Florida as far as his position was concerned, his opportunity was concerned. We’re excited to add another good pass rusher to our program.”

Continue Reading » Will Muschamp on Florida’s 2012 recruiting class

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Dillman, gym, Jenkins, Powell

1 » Appearing Monday on WKOV 690 AM in Jacksonville, FL, new Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan responded to a caller who was wondering if he would consider trading for Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow should he be made available. “You know something? I think I can tell you this. I had a long chat with Wayne [Weaver] that year. Obviously the Rams drafted Sam Bradford, and I was talking to Wayne then on what they ought to do,” Khan said. “I should have an offline conversation with you, OK? I’m going to absolutely talk your ear off. Some of the stuff might not be politically correct, but I share your sentiment. I think, when is the next time Jacksonville is going to have an athlete like Tim Tebow? Coming from being raised in Illinois, I couldn’t see Red Grange playing for anybody other than the Bears or Dick Butkus playing for anybody other than the Bears. I don’t want to get into 20/20 hindsight, and God help us, the draft record has not been the best with the Jaguars.”

Khan was then asked by the host if he would have drafted Tebow had he been owner of the Jaguars at the time. “100 percent I would have. Absolutely,” he said. “The first Jaguars game I came to was in ’10, we played Denver here. There were a lot more Tebow jerseys in the Jaguars stands than the teal jerseys for any player, let’s face it. You hate to get into 20/20 hindsight and finger pointing, but certainly [I would have] if I had anything to do with it. We probably won’t have a chance like that again.”

2 » Even though his team is not participating in Super Bowl XLVI, Tebow will be in Indianapolis, IN for festivities over the course of the week. He will also be a guest on NBC‘s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday along with actor/comedian Tracy Morgan and musical group All American Rejects. Tebow’s name has been a hot topic on Fallon’s show recently as the host as done a parody character of him and David Bowie and also used him in a number of jokes over the last few weeks.

3 » The Florida Gators have put together an introductory video featuring the team’s new strength and conditioning staff including most notably director Jeff Dillman and assistant Jesse Ackerman. The duo discuss their mental and physical approach to strength and conditioning over a video featuring a number of Florida players lifting weights and working out. You can check it out by clicking here.

4 » No. 8 Gators gymnastics (6-0, 2-0 SEC) put together an unbelievable performance on Friday, registering the fifth-highest total in team history and the top score in the nation this season, 197.775, to defeat the No. 1 Arkansas Razorbacks (8-1, 2-1 SEC) and No. 24 Maryland Terrapins (4-4) and Bridgeport in a quad-meet at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Four Florida gymnasts won events with sophomore Mackenzie Caquatto winning the uneven bars (9.95), junior Marissa King taking the balance beam (9.95), junior Ashanée Dickerson capturing the all-around (39.60) and both Dickerson and freshman Kytra Hunter tying to win the floor exercise (9.95). According to UF, Friday was the first time the Gators had defeated a top-ranked team at home since 1989.

5 » North Alabama and former Florida cornerback Janoris Jenkins put together a solid performance in the 2012 Senior Bowl on Saturday and is in the process of working his way into the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. As part of this journey, he quit smoking marijuana, which he was arrested for three times and ultimately got him dismissed from UF. “I learned as a young man, you can’t smoke weed; it don’t get you where you want to go,” Jenkins told The Florida Times-Union. “As a kid I had to learn for myself. I learned for myself when I found out the hard way. I just thank God for letting that happen to me early and not late. [...] I tell everybody now if you’re going to come around me and smoke weed, I can’t hang around you,” he said. “We’re friends, but while you’re smoking marijuana, I can’t hang around you.”

6 » With National Signing Day less than 48 hours away, the Gators are hoping to haul in a number of top prospects that still have them high on their list. As it turns out, Florida may actually end up losing a commitment due to his grades and a potential learning disability. Four-star linebacker Jeremi Powell (Largo, FL), who committed to the Gators almost a year ago, recently visited the Marshall Thundering Herd and enjoyed his trip. According to HerdNation.com, it has become a legitimate landing spot for him because of the school’s H.E.L.P. Program which provides “educational support, remediation and mentoring to individuals” with specific learning disabilities or disorders like ADD/ADHD. Powell must pass one more high school class and improve his ACT score in order to get into UF, obstacles that could have him instead decide to commit to Marshall.

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