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September 17, 2013

Pease speaks

For the first time in two weeks, the assembled media met with Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

Florida’s second-year coordinator rehashed the Miami loss, talked up-tempo offenses, broke down Tennessee’s defense and more.

The major takeaways from Tuesday’s press conference…

* The Gators have full confidence in quarterback Jeff Driskel -- EXCEPT in the red zone.

“Looking back on it, first this, we've stressed to the point, [As if speaking of Driskel 'If we get in this situation, here is what they're going to play. OK. You’re very limited to this, and that's all you really have and you have to be committed to. That's what you're going to throw or throw the ball away, and then put us in a situation to kick things. ... I’ve got to do a better job of maybe limiting or controlling what we give him. The sort of options. He’s mature enough. He’ll handle things.”

* Just because the Oregon Ducks shredded the Volunteers -- 59 points and nearly 700 yards of offense -- with an up-tempo attack, don’t except the Gators to pick up the pace this weekend.

“You have to understand how they’ve built this thing for the last five to six years. Their kids and how dialed in they are. It’s tough for us to say that’s us all of a sudden. Nah. Is using some tempo that we practice, yeah, there’s always that possibility. But to do it how they’re doing it, I don’t think efficiency wise we’re built that way right now. … I mean you look at Oregon, they're scoring all these drives in under two minutes. The same time, if you're not scoring, you're putting your defense in a tough situation that they're on the field for a lot of time in a game. But they're very efficient in what they do. Our efficiency is going to be more in grind it a little bit more and try to create some big plays throwing the football. And, that's where I think we've got to be more, I think, consistent in getting points is because we're probably more designed to go six to 12 plays in a drive, rather than three to four and hold onto the ball for more than two minutes in a drive.”

* The failed fourth down quarterback sneak against Miami was both poorly called and executed.

“That’s something that was – that was on me. I shouldn’t have done it. … I called it and I knew what they were probably going to go to that. I think that put our guys in too tough a spot. I knew they were all going to sink down in there and dive at their feet and just create a mosh pit of humanity. So, and I knew that. And right after I called it, I knew it. I guess I let my ego get involved a bit that I trust our guys up front. I’m not saying I don’t ever trust them, because I always do, but I knew it put those guys in a tough spot that you can’t do that. I think there was better options of plays that we had looking back on it, so I probably should have gone with something else.”

* Freshman wideout Demarcus Robinson is poised to breakout soon.

“He’s been in situations where he’s targeted and sometimes coverage takes it away. Sometimes he’s been there and we haven’t got the ball to him. It’s just a matter of getting into the flow. I know it’s been tough to see, but he’s come on in practice. He works hard. He’s a very likable kid that I think, it’s going to pop here soon.

* Tennessee’s defense is not very good.

“I’m not here to sell you, it’s your decision on what you decide that they are. I’m just saying I’ve got respect for what they do.”

* Pease is satisfied with Florida’s offensive yardage (414.0 y/g), but not point production.

“One thing we stress to kids ,and I said, ‘I want you to be greedy in the fact that we always got to think that we score touchdowns.’ The game’s got to separate that way. But we’ve moved the ball, and it’s come down to really this last game where, in the red-zone decisions, we didn’t – you know, we turned the ball over, we had two bad decisions, and really, two bad calls on me.”

(all emphasis mine)

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

A bug of a different color

Center Jonotthan Harrison has started 28 consecutive for the Gators and has been a model of consistency on Florida's offensive line. 

The senior was forced to briefly miss a couple of series in the loss to Miami and now we no why. 

In a moment of leveity, Harrison explained......

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

Meet The Volunteers

Tennessee (2-1) – Last week: 59-14 loss to No. 2 Oregon

2012 Record: 5-7 (1-7 SEC)

Returning Starters: 13: Offense: 5, Defense: 8

Key departures: QB Tyler Bray (Kansas City Chiefs undrafted free agent, 3,612 yards and 34 TDs), WR Cordarrelle Patterson (Minnesota Vikings first round draft pick, 1858 all-purpose yardage and 10 TDs), WR Justin Hunter (73 receptions for 1083 yards & 9 TDs, Tennessee Titans second round selection), TE Mychal Rivera (Sixth round pick of Oakland Raiders), LB Herman Lathers (third on team in tackles with 66), WR Zach Rodgers (491 yards and 7 TDs)

Player to watch offense: RB Rajion Neal

After a bevy of early departures last offseason, UT’s versatile senior back remains one of its few talented skill players on a team mostly devoid of playmakers. Neal is hardly a flashy player, but he scored nine touchdowns in 2012 -- five as a rusher and four as a receiver. The Vols have major uncertainties at both quarterback and wide out, but team’s undoubted strength is its offensive line, and new Vols coach Butch Jones is likely to rely heavily on Neal’s wheels even though he prefers an up-tempo, pass-heavy attack. Neal leads the Vols with 257 yards on 43 carries (6.0 y/c) and four touchdowns this season. 

Player to watch defense: LB A.J. Johnson

The SEC’s leading tackler (136) in 2012 was the lone bright spot on an abominable Volunteers defense last year. Johnson, a coveted 2014 NFL prospect, led UT in tackles, quarterback hurries (8) and takedowns for a loss (8.5). Johnson is charged with conducting a unit again adjusting to a new scheme (UT is changed back to a 4-3 defense). To date, Jones has not utilized Johnson’s talents as a two-way player. In 2012, the linebacker scored six rushing touchdowns on 12 attempts as UT’s goal line back in its Wild-Vol set. 

2013 Outlook: Measurably bleak

The Volunteers actually led the Ducks 7-0 before surrendering 59 straight points. They return eight starters from a defense that ranked at or right next to the bottom of every statistical category in the league (scoring, rushing, passing, total, sacks, etc.) UT allowed 54 touchdowns in 2012, good for 94th nationally. The secondary and receiving corps are a total mess, and the quarterback competition between junior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman wasn’t settled during spring camp and remains in flux. Worley started the first three games but Jones reopened its quarterback competition this week.

Jones inherited a roster thin on elite talent, particularly with the exodus of Bray, Hunter and Patterson. UT’s new coach has already given the Vols faithful hope with a potentially dynamite incoming recruiting class (No. 2 in Rivals’ team rankings), but with a monster schedule on the horizon -- The No. 19 Gators, a cupcake, then three consecutive games against top 12 teams -- the program may spiral further downward before it can rise again. The Volunteers do boast a stacked offensive line. A unit, according to ESPN Stats Inc., that has 123 career starts. Antonio Richardson and Ja’Wuan James might be the top tackle tandem in the nation, but it’s quite doubtful an offensive line can carry an entire unit with few other discernable known quantities. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton

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