New candidates for UF's offensive coordinator spot emerge
Published: Friday, December 30, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, December 30, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE — Florida coach Will Muschamp said earlier in the week that his search for a new offensive coordinator will not be conducted through the media. But information is starting to get out there.
The latest two names to emerge as candidates for the position are Brent Pease and Jay Norvell.
Pease is the offensive coordinator at Boise State, and Norvell is the co-offensive coordinator at Oklahoma.
Pease just completed his first season as the Boise State offensive coordinator. The previous five seasons, he served as the school's wide receivers coach and assistant head coach. He's previously been an offensive coordinator at Montana, Northern Arizona, Kentucky and Baylor.
Norvell is in his second season as the co-coordinator for the Sooners. He previously was an offensive coordinator at UCLA and Nebraska, and he has NFL ties. He coached the Oakland Raiders' wide receivers in 2002-03 and was the assistant head coach and quarterbacks and receivers coach for the Indianapolis Colts in 1998-2001.
Muschamp said earlier in the week that he has not offered the job to anyone yet and that he would not hire a new offensive coordinator and a new strength and conditioning coach until after Monday's Gator Bowl.
UF running backs coach Brian White is serving as the interim offensive coordinator through the bowl game. He also is considered a strong candidate to become the full-time coordinator.
Tough on third down
One of the strengths of Florida's improving young defense has been the Gators' ability to stop teams on third down. Opposing offenses have converted only 46 of 166 third-down plays (just 28 percent).
“On third-down defense you hear us talking about affecting the quarterback,” UF defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said. “Sometimes it's just resetting the guy, getting him off his spot. We've affected the quarterback. And in short yardage we've played well in some games.”
Quinn said much of the third-down success can be traced to the young secondary, which has improved with experience over the course of the season.
“Our situational awareness,” Quinn said. “On third down those guys deserve a lot of credit, knowing on third-and-6 you play differently than on third-and-12 and third-and-1. That situational awareness is one thing that sticks out on the back end.
“On third down now, you hear the safeties talking. The alert comes on third down. With young players, you just want to get the call and line up. Now, I can get a little bit further in it. What are they going to run in this situation?
“That's what I've seen from those guys, and I'm pleased with that.”
Some bowl prep standouts
Quinn said some of his defensive players have really stood out with their performances during the bowl practices. He singled out end/linebacker Ronald Powell, tackles Jaye Howard and Omar Hunter and linebacker Jon Bostic.
“Ronald Powell has had a terrific bowl practice,” Quinn said. “Omar Hunter has been excellent. He's stepped up, along with Jaye Howard. Bostic has had good bowl preparation. All those guys have stood out to me.”
Quinn said Powell started turning his game around during the Gators' bye week in October.
“There were some things as we went into the bye week that we needed him to improve at,” Quinn said. “The last few games we saw that out of him. He's gotten better as we've gone along.”
Quinn said Powell has improved in run defense and has gotten better coming off the ball quicker in the pass rush.
“He's had a chance to work more on those things in bowl practice and he's done a good job with it,” Quinn said.
This and that
Quinn said sophomore Shariff Floyd will play both defensive tackle and defensive end in Monday's game. “It really depends on the situation. It just kind of depends on the flow of the game. Fortunately for him, he's had reps at both spots. When it's a running team, sometimes you like to have a bigger base end out there. Inside, we need some of that speed to chase (OSU quarterback Braxton Miller) down,” Quinn said. … The Gators are making out pretty good in terms of bowl gifts. Each player receives a Fossil watch, Gator Gear performance headwear, a rolling luggage bag, a Jostens ring and a commemorative football.