Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Pease hopeful despite uncertain future
By Jeff Barlis
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Brent Pease said on Tuesday he hopes he'll return as Florida's offensive coordinator and feels he has earned the right to stay. But overall Pease sounded resigned about the uncertainty he faces after the Gators' season ends on Saturday afternoon.
Offensive coordinator Brent Pease said on Tuesday that the Gators' injuries aren't an excuse for the team's woes on offense.
"You look at the first year and some of the situations and knowing the body of work and not just one, a game-to-game basis and situations we’ve been under," he said during a media session that was dominated by questions about his job security. "I hope any evaluations are looked at that way. But, you know, I understand things, too.
"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."
The Gators offense under Pease has sunk in his second year at the controls. Florida averages 327.9 yards a game -- including 176 yards a game through the air -- and 19.9 points per game. All of those figures rank among the worst offenses in the FBS.
After Saturday's 26-20 loss to FCS Georgia Southern, Florida coach Will Muschamp seemed to blame many of his team's struggles on the offense's inability to put points on the board.
"You've got to be able to change the scoreboard," he said. "We're struggling offensively, and it has infected our entire team right now."
Pease's response on Tuesday?
"He has a point in the fact that you got to continue to change the game," he said. "I think, one, we went out, got ahead early and then we falter and not find some consistency and continue to find points here or there. I guess [we] struggle with confidence at certain points in time."
As all of the Florida coaches and players insist, however, it's only fair to factor in the devastating effect of injuries this season. Florida's offense is playing without its first- and second-string quarterbacks, its starting running back and three top offensive tackles.
Pease agreed that it would be unfair to evaluate his offense considering all of the injuries, but then said, "You don’t want to use it as an excuse because you’ve got to play with the kids you have."
He also said he feels he is on the same page with Muschamp, saying, "I know what his philosophy is." Muschamp has favored a conservative approach in his three seasons as coach, but he admitted on Monday that he plans to reevaluate his philosophy after the season ends.
Muschamp also said he would evaluate his entire staff, as he always does after the season. But with Florida's results -- a six-game losing streak, no bowl game and a punchless offense -- such promises from the head coach have taken on an ominous tone with regards to his coaching staff's future.
"If [criticism is] coming my way, then it's coming my way," Pease said. "That's something you've just got to kind of take the blows."
Pease is certainly not alone under the microscope.
"I think our staff, everyone -- coaches, players, everyone alike in that locker room -- we're all in a tough situation right now," defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. "I think Brent is just like everyone else. We're trying to teach our guys to respond well when you’re in a tough moment. Tough people do that, and Brent’s a tough guy. We’re all in this together. It’s not just him or any one person on the staff. It’s everyone. We’ve got to coach better, we’ve got to play better, we’ve got to do a lot of things better, and we will."
For all of their struggles, the players still have their coaches' backs, expressing their confidence and support.
"I'm a big fan of Coach Pease and I always will be," senior receiver Trey Burton said. "I thank him for everything he's done for me and my family and the lessons that I've learned from him. I can't put into words how thankful I am for him."