Muschamp Q&A on Pease Hire

Florida head coach Will Muschamp found the offensive coordinator he wanted. Former Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease was officially announced as the hire Wednesday morning. Pease spent one day in Jacksonville watching Florida's preparations for the Gator Bowl and spent last weekend in Gainesville with his wife before deciding he wanted to take the job as the play caller for the Gators.

Will Muschamp OPENING STATEMENT: "I'm really excited to have Brent Pease join our staff as offensive coordinator. When you go out and talk to numerous people, there are many qualified for this job, but Brent is the right fit for us. I go back to that word fit. We have an outstanding offensive staff-- Frank Verducci, Brian White, Aubrey Hill and Derek Lewis-- and really it was about bringing in a guy that was going to be a good fit for the room and bring some new ideas and energy to what we're trying to do, but understand we're not changing where we're going philosophically with this thing. Understand that what we need to do to continue to move forward, bring some new ideas as far as personnel groupings and formations, but understand we're not changing who we are. Brent understands that.

"He's got great experience in a lot of different places. Having coached in this league and called offenses in this league and in this stadium was important to me. He understands this stage and what you have to do to be successful. Coaching quarterback is his expertise and playing in the NFL as a quarterback, you look also look at the success he had coaching wide receivers at Boise.

"I'm really excited. He watched our practices at the Gator Bowl, and he came back and he and his wife this past weekend came and spent the weekend in Gainesville. They wanted to be Gators. When you have an opportunity and an opening, you need to make sure you make yourself better. I think we did that.

"He's an outstanding recruiter. I ran across Brent about 12-14 years ago. I was at Valdosta State and he was at Northern Arizona. We were recruiting a young man out of Lowndes County, Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns. He got Vincent "Sweet Pea" Burns to leave Lowndes County to go to Northern Arizona. Right then, I knew he could recruit.

"He's a guy that has been on my radar for a long time. I faced him when I was at LSU and he was at Kentucky. I really liked when he did with that football team offensively. He created ways to get his playmakers the ball and was creative in play calling with tempos. As he has progressed, he and I have kept in contact.

"Also, after the bowl game, we named Jeff Dillman our head strength and conditioning coach. He'll oversee all of our programs. I'm excited about him. We were together at LSU and won a national championship together. He went to Appalachian State for three years and won two national championships. (ASU head coach) Jerry Moore, a man that I have tremendous respect for, I called and I knew what I was getting with Jeff, and I asked (Moore) and he had nothing but nice things to say. More recently, (Dillman) has been working at IMG preparing a lot of guys for the NFL Draft and NFL guys are training under him. He brings a lot of passion and energy. We're going to go to a more Olympic style lifting, more of what I was exposed to at LSU.

Q: "Can you talk about the whole process? Was Pease at the top of your list from the start?"

A: "You always have a list of guys. Anytime you're in a head coach or athletic director's role, you've got your list. He was a guy at the forefront with me, but whether it was on the phone or in person, I talked to a lot of people. At the end of the day, you find the best fit for your football program and organization."

Q: "Kerwin Bell is a real popular guy, did you feel any pressure from anybody to hire him?"

A: "Absolutely not. Kerwin is an outstanding football coach and has done an outstanding job at Jacksonville. We had a great meeting and he's a Gator. He's a guy that I have a lot of respect for and certainly is qualified for this job."

Q: "When you're talking about the fit you're looking for, is it something you felt when you met Pease or is it something that meshed recently?"

A: "Exposure to our system, and he's been different places and exposed to an awful lot. He has been in this league and called offenses in this league. It's different. He has been on this stage before. He has been on the national stage at Boise in some big games. He called them and did a phenomenal job. He met with our staff, and our staff signed off and said this guy fits in our room. He's a staff guy. All the guys I know that have worked with Brent, he has been a staff guy. He's a very positive member of the staff as you move forward. I don't hire 'yes' guys. I hire guys that will give their opinion, and he's going to do that. He's just a fit."

Q: "He has been called an aggressive play caller. Is that something you wanted?"

A: "There's no question that's what we wanted. We want to be aggressive in all phases. He's a guy that is very unconventional in the way he thinks offensively at times, which is good because it keeps the defense off balance. A lot of motions shifts and tempos that he wants to instill with what we already do. I've already told him and he understands we're going to take our scheme and tweak what we do with our players. We're not making a whole new playbook. One guy is going to learn it instead of 40. That's how I look at things in a pretty simplistic manner."

Q: "How important was his experience with quarterbacks with two young quarterbacks battling for the position?"

A: "No question. You've got two guys that need a lot of fundamental work and need to progress as a player. It was critical for me to bring a guy in where that's his expertise. Again, you look at the production he had from wideouts. Good coaches, they can coach a lot of stuff. He has done that. It shows you his track record of relating with people and conveying a message."

Q: "When will be his first day and what will his first week be like?"

A: "He'll be here on Friday, and then he'll be out recruiting."

Q: "How many practices did he watch leading up to the bowl game and what was the feedback from him?"

A: "Just one. I think he was impressed and realized our youth and what we had coming back. He realized it was an exciting opportunity and an exciting time, to see that young talent coming. Obviously that was something that struck him with the youth at quarterback and the talent."

Q: "What areas will players have to make transition in?"

A: "We wanted to limit it as much as possible. We'll limit him coming in and calling a formation something different that we're not used to. Let him learn what we call the formation. Will there be changes? Certainly. It's not all going to be the same. There's always tweaks and changes in what you do to fit you personnel. I've done what he's about to do twice, at Texas and Auburn. I told he's going to look at things conceptually that make total sense with what we call it. There will be things that won't make sense in what we call it and we have to make sense out of it for our players. As we work through it, that's what we'll be doing after we get off the road recruiting. At the end of the day, he doesn't need to get marbles in his mouth on 3rd and 8. He needs to be able to get a call out. He has to be familiar enough with the terminology and our players to understand it."

Q: "How did Brian White handle it?"

A: "Total professional. The guy is a heck of a coach. There are a lot of people I talked to that are very qualified for this position, but this was a good fit to bring in a play caller and a quarterback coach into our situation."

Q: "Was it important that he's really good with quarterbacks?"

A: "I think that's important. When you mix that position, you're talking about run game, protections and pass game. It has to be someone that sees the big picture. Certainly, I think that not all the time, but it's important for the play caller to see it from that standpoint in that standpoint."

Q: "Is he a booth guy or sideline guy?"

A: "Booth."

Q: "What makes him successful as a recruiter?"

A: "He does a great job with relationships with people. You have to do a great job of evaluating, which he has done at Boise. At Boise, he signed two wide outs that were selected in the first three rounds. Obviously he's a good evaluator and has done a good job developing guys when they get on campus. Recruiting is all about relationships with people."

Q: "Did he interview with Alabama?"

A: "I don't know."

Q: "How much does he run a pro style offense?"

A: "When you turn the tape on, it's all the same plays. It's just about how you attack them and how you coach them. How do you get to them with motions and shifts? There's a talent to being a play caller, and I think he possesses the qualities."

Q: "Did improving the downfield passing game go into the decision?"

A: "I'm all for it. Certainly being able to have a guy that has been exposed to it and done a nice job with it is something that figured into it. He did a nice job with the throwing game at Boise."

Q: "How much did you look at the game against Georgia where they put up 35 points against the Bulldogs?"

A: "I watched a lot of their film and that certainly was one of them because it's a common opponent that I have a good feel for. The balance they have of running and throwing with tempos and changing, plus the evolving from week-to-week, was really done by not adding a lot for the players but adding a lot for defense to look at. Those are the things I saw where he does a nice job of tying the packages together."

Q: "Is it really that much different calling plays in the SEC?"

A: "Against these defenses in this league? Yes. Did you watch the game the other night? There are more people to account for. The SEC is different because of the defensive lines in this league. It's not one week. It's top to bottom. Everybody has good fronts. You've got to understand it's about mismatches and creating them. It's the speed and physicality of this league. Guys are shocked when they come out of their first year. It's not one game, it's the culmination of the season. You're turning the tape on in week eight going, 'there's another one.' It's groundhog day."

Q: "What was the team's reaction to the hire?"

A: "We just texted them his morning. Some of them knew with the way word leaks out these days. I told them to have trust in me, but they understand we're not changing."

Q: "What is Pease's personality like?"

A: "He's a very down-to-earth, analytical, smart, intelligent guy. I've never coached with him on the field. As far as day-to-day, he's a pretty normal fella, I guess."

Q: "Has Pease recruited the state of Florida?"

A: "Yes. He has been throughout the state, mostly in the panhandle and north central Florida. He has recruited in Orlando and Jacksonville. We'll sit down as a staff. He'll target all quarterbacks because I think that quarterback is different in evaluating and building that relationship. It's different than any other position."

Q: "Is there any carryover of guys he was recruiting at Boise to the guys you are recruiting for this class?"

A: "We're pretty set where we are with where our board is. Any input he wants to give on Friday will be welcomed."

Q: "What kind of impact do you think making this hire will have with three weeks left until signing day?"

A: "Anytime you're this late in the stage, any question marks or issues need to be addressed. We've addressed it. Any recruit or player at the University of Florida should be excited about who we hired and where we're heading with this thing. I know there has been a change, but I think it offers a lot of continuity."

Q: "When you evaluated Brent, how much tape did you watch?"

A: "I watched the Bluegrass Miracle in 2002. I looked at my game notes from that season and watched six of their games from this year to watch week-to-week how they changed and how they evolved with the issues they presented a defense. There are a lot of things that show up on tape."


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