Warren on Pease: Moon talks about former teammate

Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon played with UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease for the Houston Oilers from 1987-89. (The Associated Press)

Published: Monday, July 30, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:54 p.m.

Shortly before the Las Vegas Bowl last December, Brent Pease heard a familiar voice booming across the room.

Pease was preparing for his final game as offensive coordinator at Boise State University when NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon spotted him and called out his name.

“I hadn't seen him much the last couple of years, but when we talked, it was like old times,” Pease said. “I immediately felt comfortable.”

Pease, UF's new offensive coordinator, was a backup quarterback for three seasons behind Moon from 1987-89 with the Houston Oilers. During that time, the two forged a friendship that has lasted for more than 20 years.

“He was a guy that kind of took me under his wing a little bit, a very good teammate,” Pease said. “A lot of people who play the same position can say that, but we were probably a little closer. He gave me an opportunity to learn from him and get better.”

Moon remembered Pease as being shy at first.

“Because of Brent's personality, he was so laid back and quiet, I didn't initially see him as going into coaching,” Moon said. “He was a guy who was smart, always prepared well and was always ready whenever he went on the field. But as for the coaching side of it, I didn't see that right away.”

But Moon said Pease's quiet nature included a dry wit.

“He was a funny guy,” Moon said. “He was laid back and quiet, but he was funny at the same time. He had a dry wit to him and guys were really attracted to that part of his personality.”

Pease had an explanation for why he was so quiet.

“I was intimidated because I knew everyone was so much better,” Pease said. “You are a rookie guy, you don't know how to run things, I was trying to get comfortable.”

Pease's NFL career got off to a notorious start. He crossed the picket lines during the 1987 NFL strike and started three games during his rookie season with the Oilers, winning all three. When the NFL regulars returned, Pease remained on the roster as a backup quarterback. Moon said it was hard for the strike-breakers on the team to gain acceptance at first, but said Pease handled the situation well.

“He was a guy who didn't let a lot of things bother him,” Moon said. “It took a while for all of those guys to earn the respect of their teammates, and Brent did a good job not overreacting to anything that happened to him and just went about his business

“It says a lot about his character, even though he was in a situation where it wasn't ideal. He was taking advantage of a situation to get to the league and I don't fault him for that. I probably would have done the same thing. They were 3-1 and they put us in position to make the playoffs. Brent continued to do what he was asked to do and was ready when it was his turn to play.”

Pease said he viewed the 1987 season as an opportunity to gain experience.

“Once those guys came back, I knew where my place was,” Pease said. “I think the next year, I was able to earn my seat back again, it set up a situation where I was able to earn some more respect.”

In 1988, Pease came off the bench when both Moon and backup quarterback Cody Carlson were injured to lead Houston to a 7-6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Pease threw three interceptions, but scored Houston's go-ahead touchdown on a four-yard run late in the third quarter.

“You earn respect when you do things like that, that are not expected,” Moon said. “He was a scrappy guy. He wasn't a spectacular thrower. He wasn't going to wow you with his arm, but he was smart and could anticipate and deliver the ball where it needed to go.”

That anticipation has carried over into Pease's coaching career, which began in 1991 at his alma mater, Montana. Moon said he's followed Pease's coaching moves every step of the way.

“He told me (at the Las Vegas Bowl) he had a few opportunities and that there was the possibility he may move on,” Moon said. “He'll do a great job at Florida. He incorporated some elements of the run-and-shoot at Boise State and he'll bring some of those elements at Florida.”

The run-and-shoot was the prolific, four-wide receiver, no tight-end offense that Moon and Pease both ran with the Oilers in the late 1980s. Pease said the run-and-shoot has influenced his playbook during his coaching career.

“I think the main element of the run-and-shoot are the pass concepts, some of the routes with receivers and how to attack coverages,” Pease said. “As for the quarterback having no pass protections, four wideouts, I don't think you will see that, but there are some pass concepts incorporated within the offense.”

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