Will UF's Pease be given a chance?
Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 4:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 10:40 p.m.
Beleaguered Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said Tuesday he thinks he’ll be back next season and feels he’s earned the opportunity, but he does not sound convinced that it’s going to happen.
“I think, you know, you look at the first year and some of the situations and knowing the body of work and not just a game-to-game basis and situations we’ve been under (this season),” Pease said. “I hope any evaluations are looked at that way. But, you know, I understand things, too. It’s not like ... I know you’ve got to win and have success. If it’s not meant to be ... I came into this with friends, and I’m walking out of it with friends.”
Perhaps the only Florida coach under more criticism than Will Muschamp during the Gators’ current six-game losing streak is Pease, whose injury-depleted offense has dropped to last in the SEC in scoring and total yards per game.
Muschamp said after Saturday’s loss that the poor play of the offense has “infected” the entire team.
On Monday, Muschamp said he has made no decisions on possible changes to his staff, but would evaluate the performances of his assistants after the season.
Pease was asked Tuesday if he believed he would be retained.
“I mean, I would hope so, but I mean, I’ll kind of direct that at that time later on after this game,” he said.
When asked if he felt he’s earned the right to come back, Pease said, “Yes.”
Pease said Muschamp has given him no indication whether or not he will be retained.
“No, not really,” Pease said. “He’s like, we’ve got a game to worry about in Florida State. It’s like he said, he said to you guys yesterday, evaluation-wise we’ll do that at the end of season, just like probably with coaches and players and everything else.”
In his second season with the Gators, Pease’s offense has been decimated by injuries. UF’s starting quarterback (Jeff Driskel), starting tailback (Matt Jones), a potential starting wide receiver (Andre Debose) and both starting tackles (Tyler Moore and Chaz Green) are sidelined with season-ending injuries.
Going into Saturday’s game against FSU, the offense also likely will be missing starting quarterback Tyler Murphy (shoulder) and starting left tackle D.J Humphries (sprained knee).
“You’d like to believe (criticism is unfair with all the injuries),” Pease said. “But I don’t really know if that’s my judgment. I mean, it’s maybe something, some substance you can use later. You don’t want to use it as an excuse because you’ve got to play with the kids you have.”
Pease was asked if he felt he was being made a scapegoat.
“I don't know. That's a tough question to answer,” he said. “Right now I’d say no. I mean, you can always address that question later.”
During the same loss to Georgia Southern that prompted Muschamp to openly criticize the offense, the defense went somewhat unscathed by Muschamp despite giving up 429 yards rushing in the 26-20 loss.
Pease was asked if he thought that was fair.
“I look at it from a team standpoint,” he said. “Our defense has held us in games ever since I've been here. We've got to either find that time where we move along and move ahead and get the points we need to win.
“Just like the other day. At the end I think we're moving down and can go ahead, at least tie the game up. A couple of throws previous to the last one we were close. We didn't get it done.
“The thing you never want to do is look into a finger-pointing situation, and I don't look at it that way. I still always look at it as we're a staff, we're a team. That's how it is. If it's coming my way, then it's coming my way. That's something you've just got to kind of take the blows."
Pease said he’s been able to run his offense since he’s been at UF, and that he and Muschamp are on the same page philosophically.
“We've done the things that we've done in the past,” he said. “Have you had all the components in place to do some of that stuff? No, not exactly. I mean, but you've got to get players and build them and continually have depth in certain situations.
“Yeah, I know what his philosophy is. I don't know why there's a question now on it as much as he's always said philosophically we're on the same page.”
Pease is not the only offensive assistant whose job appears in jeopardy. There is also growing speculation that offensive line coach Tim Davis might not be retained.
"I've learned a lot from him,” senior guard Jon Halapio said of Davis. “It sucks hearing about your offensive line coach, especially because we've grown with him so much and I've gotten so close to the guy, it hurts me personally to hear he may lose his job. That's another guy I hope that he'll stick around for another couple of years.
"He wants us to finish this week strong together. This is going to be our week together as a group so whoever is leaving — seniors or if he's leaving or whatever the case may be — this will be our last week together so he wants us to finish strong together."
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.