Pease has positive early impression of UF offense
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 8:15 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.
Only five days into spring practice, it's far too early to know who the starting quarterback is going to be, how things are going to play out at wide receiver and whether the Gators will have a dominant tailback and the downhill running game they're seeking in 2012.
But new offensive coordinator Brent Pease does seem to have an early feel for the Florida offense. And he likes what he's feeling.
“The kids have been great,” Pease said Wednesday. “They're encouraged, they're buying in. We've all got to buy in more and trust each other and we've got to develop some fundamentals and ball security and physicality. We're all buying in.
“They've all been good. They want to win. I know what they came here for, the same thing I came here for, to be successful playing for a great institution and coach (Will) Muschamp. They're eager. They're very coachable.
“Five days in, I'm like, I'm excited. I'm excited.”
Even though it is early, Pease said he thinks he's got the talent to do the things he wants to do on offense — basically the same things his Boise offense did so effectively.
“We have it,” he said. “The more (talent) you get, the better. But, yeah, we've got it. We have those things in place.
“How much you can do? … The more skill guys you have then you can always really start to attack people. The more you get, the better, obviously.”
Of course, the No. 1 focus this spring (at least for the fans and the media) is on the battle at quarterback, where Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy are competing for the starting role.
Again, it's early, but Pease seems encouraged by what he's seen from his QBs.
“As much as there is going in, they've picked up a lot,” Pease said. “You're starting to see a little bit of everything. You're seeing some management skills, some huddle control. You're seeing them throw the ball with better anticipation, with more authority.
“They are starting to get a grasp of everything, and it's encouraging. They're more accurate than they've been. They're doing a really good job. There's a long way to go, but as much improvement as you've seen in (five) days, it's encouraging.”
Pease was asked if any of the three quarterbacks have stood out.
“No. Five days. Absolutely not,” he said. “They're all the same.”
At wide receiver, Pease said one player has started to stand out — redshirt sophomore Quinton Dunbar, who received a big build-up from the coaches heading into last season, but did not turn out to be a major player in the passing game.
“I don't know about last year,” Pease said. “I've just seen (Dunbar) improve. I've seen him catch the ball better. I've seen him make some big plays in practice.
“He's starting to play the game fast. He's not thinking so much. When kids are thinking, they play slow because they don't know everything. They don't trust, they have no confidence.
“I've seen the pace at how he plays the game every day, and he's getting faster and faster.”
Pease said he's also been impressed with senior Frankie Hammond Jr. and true freshman Latroy Pittman. One wide receiver who has not started to emerge yet, he said, is junior Andre Debose, UF's biggest playmaker in the passing game last season.
“I would hope (Debose could be a go-to guy), but I haven't seen that,” Pease said. “He's working through some offseason injuries that he's had.
“Frankie Hammond has done some good things. He brings a lot to the table for us. I think Latroy is going to be all right. Trey Burton adds to the picture being able to be in some of those spots. Debose will be fine.”
Pease also seems encouraged by the possibilities in the ground game. He said the Gators have some depth and talent at tailback (Mike Gillislee, Mack Brown, Omarius Hines and Chris Johnson). And he said the offensive linemen have made a favorable early impression.
“I think they can be pretty good,” Pease said of the linemen. “The one thing 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, what he's done with those guys, they've done some really good things.
“We're a long ways from where we really want to be, but they're in pretty good shape with the tempo we've been going. It's kind of encouraging to see what they've done and really how smart they are and communication-wise. Now, we've got to get more consistent.”
That's sort of the early assessment of the entire offense only a few days into the spring. The Gators have some talent, they have a chance to do what Pease wants to do, but they still have a long, long way to go.
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.