GAINESVILLE -- Brent Pease is not oblivious to the criticism. Florida’s embattled offensive coordinator hears fans’ frustrations. But ultimately, UF’s second-year coordinator is ignoring the noise by practicing what he preaches.
"It's the same thing we tell the kids, you've got to be mentally tough. You've got to shut it out sometimes,” he said. “And I understand what people are saying and frustrated with. Do they understand all of the circumstances? Not all of the time. But you've got to work through it. In my situation I don't think you can lose confidence in who you are and what you believe in and how you have got to do your job.”
Florida’s woeful offense is destined for a third consecutive finish in the bottom-20 in all of college football. The Gators rank No. 111 nationally and last in the SEC in total offense. UF is also last in league in touchdowns and yards per play (4.82) -- the only team in the conference averaging less than 5.33 per touch.
With the injuries, ineptitude and a swelling cacophony of vitriol aimed in his direction, Pease admitted he’s pondered his job security.
“I mean, it’s human nature to probably think about that,” he said. “But I still got an obligation to this team, and the head coach, and the players I coach and the administration that I work for.”
Quarterback Tyler Murphy said Pease’s demeanor and daily drive hasn’t changed at all though during the team’s recent tough stretch.
“He's still working hard, still coaching hard. Still treats everyone the same. I haven't noticed a change in him. He's upset with how we're performing and that we're losing but he's still working hard day in and day out,” Murphy said.
Murphy also voiced support for Pease, saying the coach absolutely puts the players in the best position to succeed but they’re simply not making enough plays.
“Coach Pease calls plays and puts us in good situations. We just haven’t been successful as players doing that. We have to hold ourselves accountable and find ways to get the job done,” he said.
Although Pease has definitely struggled with player development during his time in Gainesville, injuries have derailed his coaching abilities this season.
Five offensive players -- starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, starting tailback Matt Jones, starting offensive tackles Tyler Moore and Chaz Green and wideout Andre Debose -- have been lost for the year to season-ending injuries, while another handful of key contributors -- right guard Jon Halapio, left tackle D.J. Humphries and hybrid tailback Valdez Showers -- have missed action too.
“It’s tough, and I mean, what are you going to do?,” Pease said. “You got to play the cards you’re dealt.”
But while Florida has flopped mostly 2’s and 7’s, players continue to endorse their beleaguered coach.
“It's a team thing. It's not just Brent. It's not just coach Pease that's affecting the team,” fifth-year senior center Jonotthan Harrison said. “No, it's a team thing from the players, from the leadership of the players, from coaching. Whatever it is, it's just a whole team thing and we just need to pull tighter as a team. There's no one person that we can really blame for any of our problems. We just need to pull tighter as a team and gel as a team as a whole.”
Harrison added: “It is unfair to blame coach Pease for everything.”
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