- Mike DiRocco, ESPN Staff Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The biggest beneficiaries of offensive coordinator Brent Pease's hiring at Florida -- other than quarterbacks Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett -- might end up being the Gators' receivers.
Pease was the offensive coordinator at Boise State for just one season, and he helped the Broncos finish ninth in the nation in total offense (481.31 yards per game), sixth in scoring (44.23 points per game), 41st in rushing (171.92 yards per game) and 11th in passing (309.38 yards per game) behind record-setting quarterback Kellen Moore. But he spent the five previous seasons tutoring Boise State's receivers and developed two into NFL receivers.
Austin Pettis is the school's all-time leader in receptions (229) and receiving touchdowns (39) and is second in career yardage (2,838). Titus Young is the all-time leader in receiving yards (3,063) and is second in career receptions (204). They were third- and fourth-round draft picks, respectively, last April.
Young finished his rookie season with 48 catches for 607 yards and six touchdowns. Pettis caught 27 passes for 256 yards for a Rams team that was decimated by injuries, including one to quarterback Sam Bradford.
Pease also was Kentucky's offensive coordinator in 2001-02, and he helped Derek Abney develop into one of the Southeastern Conference's most dangerous players. Abney finished his career in 2003 with 197 receptions for 2,339 yards -- the second-most receiving yards in school history -- and 18 touchdowns. He also finished his career with the second-most all-purpose yards in SEC history (5,856).
That resume certainly will be helpful as Pease tries to jump-start an offense that has been hampered by the most unproductive group of receivers since 1989. No wide receiver caught more than 21 passes (Deonte Thompson), and only one (Andre Debose) had more than 264 yards receiving. Debose caught 16 passes for 432 yards and four touchdowns and averaged 36.0 yards per catch.
Debose has proven to be the only receiver who can make a play on the ball, but Frankie Hammond Jr., Quinton Dunbar, Omarius Hines and Solomon Patton have not developed into anything other than complementary receivers. Recruit Latroy Pittman, who enrolled on Monday, has a good chance to shoot up the depth chart if he plays well in the spring.
Florida hasn't had a consistent receiver since Riley Cooper in 2009. He went on to become a fourth-round draft pick of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2010.
Pease has had the benefit of coaching some good quarterbacks in his tenure, too. In addition to Moore, he also coached Jared Lorenzen at Kentucky, and Dave Dickenson and Brian Ah Yat at Montana in the 1990s. Montana led the Football Championship Subdivision in passing in 1996. Dickenson won the Walter Payton Award (the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy) and was a three-time Associated Press FCS All-American. Ah Yat was a two-time AP FCS All-American.
But if this doesn't seem to mesh with the pro-style, power-run offense that UF coach Will Muschamp said he wanted to run, don't worry. Even though Boise State leaves the impression that it uses a wide-open, pass-happy offense, the Broncos are in fact nearly perfectly balanced. In 2011, they ran the ball 51 percent of the time and ran for 2,235 yards and 31 touchdowns. Florida scored 31 total touchdowns on offense this season.
In 2002, Kentucky's Artose Pinner ran for 1,414 yards -- 13th in the nation -- and 13 touchdowns.
17hAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf
7dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough