Pease Notebook: Preparing for SEC Fronts

Recruiting against the SEC made first-year Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease realize the difference in the league. Most agree the difference in the SEC is the talent of the linemen, and for an offensive coordinator preparing to game plan against SEC defensive fronts, Pease knows the way to attack them to have the best chance. He already used it in Boise State's win over Georgia last year.

It's all about confusion. The Boise State game plan last year against Georgia was based on confusion and keeping the Bulldogs' defensive line off-balance. Pease and his quarterback, Kellen Moore, did that a couple ways en route to a 35-21 win over the Bulldogs in the Georgia Dome.

"You've got to do some things to keep them off balance," Pease said on Tuesday. "You can't just say that we're going head-to-head. You've got to keep them off balance in protection schemes and what you do with the pocket—moving it if you're throwing. Kids have to play fast and make plays."

It's not a foolproof plan to having a successful offense, especially against some of the SEC defenses the Gators will go up against this season. Sometimes the opposing defense just gets the best of you. Pease saw that first hand last year.

Boise State went into the showdown with Georgia and tried to set the tone from the beginning of the game. The Broncos wanted to run the ball on the first play of the game to start setting a tone, but it didn't work out like they wanted. Pease had running back Doug Martin, who was selected in the first round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL Draft last spring, in the backfield.

Moore went to hand the ball off to Martin, but the play was blown up. Boise State had a defensive lineman playing fullback to try matching Georgia's strength. It didn't work.

"He came out of there like a Ping-Pong ball," Pease said about his fullback.

The key to success on offense was for the Broncos to stay out of third-and-long situations and strong red zone offense. It's what led Boise State to a win in the opening weekend of the season against Georgia last year.

He knows it won't work that easily every year, but Pease has some familiarity with SEC defenses.

"Even when I wasn't coaching in the SEC, that was the thing in recruiting," Pease said. "The difference is the kids up front. They're bigger, faster, stronger and there are more of them."

Going up against the Florida defense every day in practice helps. Pease knew the Gators needed to improve on offense this year and facing what's expected to be one of the toughest units in the conference makes it easier to gauge the offense.

It also gives Pease an idea of what to expect on the defensive side of the ball when SEC play starts during the second week of the season.

"They're good," Pease said. "I feel very confident with them. They've got experience and kids that play hard. If we find consistency against these guys with the scheme they run, go out and have confidence (against opponents). We've had a lot of good days. If we're being productive, I feel confident in what we can do. I think we're facing one of the better defenses in the conference. We get to face them in practice."

TRUSTING FRESHMEN: Pease will play the best player at each position regardless of what year they are, but it's still tough at times to trust the freshmen. Without seeing them play against college opponents, it's tough for him to know what to expect out of the first-year members of the offense.

Freshmen are expected to see time on offense at running back, wide receiver, tight end and offensive line this fall, but he'll have to work with them to make sure they know where to go.

"My confidence level with all freshmen is very minimal just because of game experience," Pease said. "It has been that way everywhere. They're going to make mistakes, but that doesn't mean they haven't earned playing time. They've got to go out there and learn to play at the speed of the game. Play fast and make the mistakes fast.

Latroy Pittman could earn an important role this fall

"Until you do it in a game situation—because practice is what it is—they've got to get in the game flow and know how things are going to go when the play is called. You've got to live with some of that and help them along."

There's an advantage for the freshmen that elected to enroll early and go through spring practice with the Gators. They started to learn the new offense at the same time the veteran players did, and that helped them understand their role on the team.

Even on the offensive line, the Gators expect both signees—Jessamen Dunker and D.J. Humphries—to play this year. Dunker has redone his body in his short time on campus to be a factor at guard.

"His biggest asset was that he came in with D.J. (Humphries) in the spring early," Pease said. "If they hadn't, it would be tough to be prepared in an o-line sense. You've got to listen to a ton of calls and communication. It's all these reps, communication and trusting your buddy up front. They're starting to get that."

BACKUP RUNNING BACK NAMED: Mack Brown will head into his redshirt sophomore season as the backup running back for the Gators behind senior Mike Gillislee. Brown has always been able to run with the ball, but it's his improvement in the other areas of his game that earned him the job.

Brown (left) will be trusted this fall

"Mack has gotten better," Pease said. "He's a lot more confident and has the ability. He has improved his ball security and learned more things in the offense. He understood that was one of the things he had to pick up. Be more consistent.

"He can run the ball, but be more consistent in pass protection, catching the ball and the variable of plays you're going to carry in a game plan."


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