I’ve been watching Florida football all my life. I can remember when we were boring and lost – *frequently* (somewhere in my attic, I have a “Give ‘Em Hell Pell” bumper sticker which was the first Gator sticker I was proud to have – those were *good* years too). I’ll take a win no matter how “fugly” it is. Spurrier made games fun and certainly brought the Gators to national prominence (I actually give partial credit to Pell and Hall who paved the way no matter the means), but Spurrier was lucky to win some of the big games during his tenure and often lost the biggest games in ugly fashion (remember that Nebraska championship game or the “Choke at Doak”? I do unfortunately). I would count him as a great offensive mind, perhaps even a genius during his heyday - but he has never been a great head coach (IMO – OMG THE HERESY!). Some of that is his own doing; he is a bit lazy (relative to other coaches). He also is stubborn and knows only one way to win. It is one reason I don’t expect South Carolina to ever win big – well, at least without some luck. Lucky isn’t something you can count on. You can count on dominating defense, running the ball with authority, moving the chains, and taking a few big shots down the field as needed. Pease is doing exactly what he needs to do with Driskel (who is still developing) and Muschamp’s blueprint is (and will always be) power football (ala Saban). As long as Pease stays away from dive plays and tries to be a *smart* coach (versus getting that guru card), I’m in his corner and would actually take him with Muschamp over Spurrier every day. I think it is time to stop saying Florida fans are “spoiled” or have certain expectations due to Spurrier. We will always have a fond spot for the guy – he was an interesting character for sure, but he hasn’t thrown a visor on our sideline in a very long time………and fortunately we’ve won more championships because of that.
Florida football fans yawned through another victory this past weekend. It was the Gators’ 12 victory in 14 outings with Brent Pease calling the offensive plays. That’s a pretty record, dontcha think?
Well, some in the Sunshine State who’d grown used to Steve Spurrier’s Fun N’ Gun and Urban Meyer’s Tim Tebow-led attack are finding Pease’s offense rather humdrum. That’s because it is:
* Florida ranked 10th in the 14-team SEC in scoring last season.
* The Gators also ranked 10th in total offense in 2012.
* Florida was also 10th in yards-per-play averaging just 5.93 yards per snap. (Some of that can be credited to clock-eating runs late in games.)
* Here’s a shock — UF also ranked 10th last season in the number of long plays from scrimmage. The Gators managed just 162 plays of 10+ yards, ahead of only Missouri, LSU, Kentucky and Auburn.
* Against Toledo in their season-opener last week, Florida’s offense didn’t have a single offensive play of 30 or more yards.
While those numbers suggest the Florida defense has had more to do with UF’s dozen most-recent victories than the offense, Pease doesn’t care. The 48-year-old coordinator isn’t interested in your fancy, schmancy statistics and whatnot:
“That’s called, ‘You’re trying to get your guru card.’ Maybe when I was 30-years-old, but I’m not 30-years-old anymore. I got out of that (stage) where I worried about getting a guru card. So, there are other people that still try to get guru cards. I’m out of that stage in my life…
Compared to what we did last year, we controlled the ball for 40 minutes (against Toledo), finished the game with 6:38 on the clock, we rushed for 262 (yards), we passed for 77%, we had one turnover we need to improve on, we had nine explosive (plays). We were six-of-12 on third downs, which last year at this same thing we were asking each other about, ‘Hey, what do we have to do on third down?’ We were three for three on third-and-ones.”
All true. And all good. Against Toledo. This week comes a road game to Miami. Soon after the SEC slate will begin. If the Gators want to match last year’s success they’ll likely need their offense to carry a bigger part of the load. Florida will always be a defense-first kind of team with former D-coordinator Will Muschamp employed as head coach. And the UF defense will likely be pretty darn good, too. But when push comes to shove in SEC play, the Gators will need to be able to do some pushing and shoving of their own on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
Whether that requires a guru card or just some better skill position players remains to be seen.