Priority not on big plays for Pease
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 8:21 p.m.
Fans want lots of yards, lots of points, lots of big plays, lots of passes deep down the field. Brent Pease understands. He gets it. But he's not measuring (or judging) his offense based on big plays and big numbers, he said Tuesday.
“That's called you're trying to get your guru card. Maybe when I was 30 years old, but I'm not 30 years old anymore,” said the 48-year-old Pease. “I got out of that where I worried about getting a guru card. So, there are other people that still try to get guru cards. I'm out of that stage in my life.”
The Florida offensive coordinator is in a different stage now, one where priorities are different.
Like being efficient and having a plan that gives you the best chance to win. Like controlling the ball, completing a high percentage of passes, having a quarterback who knows how to manage the offense, being balanced, converting third downs.
Based on the above criteria, Pease said the offense's opening-day performance against Toledo should be judged a success.
“Compared to what we did last year, we controlled the ball for 40 minutes, finished the game with 6:38 on the clock, we rushed for 262 (yards), we passed for 77 percent, we had one turnover we need to improve on, we had nine explosives,” he said. “We were six-of-12 on third downs, which last year at this same thing we were asking each other about, 'Hey, what do we have to do on third downs?' We were 3-for-3 on third-and-1s.
“Should we have come out in the third quarter and probably had more production in the first two series instead of three-and-outs? Yes. We've got to put points on the board there. We hit a lull and we've gotta be able to step it up and not do that. Score at the end of the game.
“So if you're measuring us against points? Yeah, we left points out there. But we had things in control and we ran the last — I don't know how many plays, but it was 6:38 on the clock, and we walked off the field with the offense on the field and we were on the 1-yard line or the 3-yard line or whatever we were on, trying to score.”
Pease said the Gators did not have a “vanilla” game plan designed to hold things back for Saturday's game with Miami.
“I've never made a game plan with vanilla,” Pease said. “It's never what I would go into with a game plan. I would feel too uncomfortable saying, 'We've got to save all this, save all that.'
“We didn't have a vanilla game plan. You saw reverses. I can't handle what the refs don't see, but yet they call (a holding penalty) and it keeps us out of the end zone. If we get that thing in the end zone and score there …”
Quarterback Jeff Driskel threw the ball downfield only seven times. Two of his best throws came on play-action passes to wide receiver Trey Burton. A third laser on a play-action pass was dropped by Solomon Patton.
Pease said the low number of downfield passes was dictated by the coverage Toledo was playing in the secondary.
“Coverage takes some things away,” he said. “Do you ask the quarterback not to throw into coverage deep? Yeah, you do. We can stretch the field if we want to stretch the field.
“Did we have to stretch the field at a certain point in time? No. Did we have it in the game plan? Yes. I'm not sure what everybody wants, and I'm not saying you guys (the media) as much as things I hear on the outside. I understand.
“Are we going to throw the ball 75 times a game and throw vertical? No. When a team plays quarters coverage like Toledo, you don't throw the ball vertical. You throw the ball in intermediate to check-down throws.”
Pease pointed out Driskel's check-down pass to fullback Gideon Ajagbe that went for 12 yards as an example. It was a key play on a touchdown drive in the third quarter.
Pease said he would like to see Driskel put up some big numbers in the passing game, but it can't be forced.
“Do I want to see 300 passing yards? Absolutely,” he said. “Is that going to be a reality? I don't know. I don't measure what a success, or what you guys want to write or what people want to see, totally on that.
“We're completing 77 percent, (even though) we have two drops.”
Driskel completed 17 of 22 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown and completed passes to eight different receivers. Pease said he was efficient in the passing game and effective getting the offense into the right running plays.
“The kid is making good decisions,” Pease said. “He is managing the game. He played 66 plays, 51 he's making decisions on for our offense. Twenty-two of those he's completing 77 percent. On 29 (plays) he's got to make decisions in the run game. The ball is in his hands or he's putting us in the plays he needs to.
“He's making good situations. He's productive with the ball in his hands running it. He's putting us in the right plays in the run game. That's what I look at. Are we having a chance to win the game?”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.