LSU Defensive Line Has Pease's Attention

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease admits he can get lost in the film. When he flicks on the tape of the LSU defensive front, sometimes it's hard not to be impressed with what's on the other side of the ball. The Tigers have two first round picks on the edge of their defensive line and playmakers that can rotate at defensive tackle. They're hard to miss on film.

"They've got a lot of good players, so we've got to kind of pick our poison," Brent Pease said. "What they've done a really good job of is their defensive line. They're all good players. Their four-man rush really gets to you, so they don't have to do a lot of blitzing. You've got to make sure you have answers to those guys across the board that can beat you."

The scheme isn't tough to figure out on film, but that's a credit to the talent LSU has on the defensive side of the ball. The Tigers have elite speed off the edge and two projected first round picks in Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo. Defensive tackle Anthony Johnson has been one of the most disruptive players on the defense this season.

Their defensive line can dominate the line of scrimmage, and it has so far this year. The Tigers are third in the SEC, allowing just 83 yards per game on the ground. The Gators saw that first hand when they couldn't run the ball last season.

"Their defense isn't based around an NFL team where they are changing a lot of schemes. They line up. They put their hand in the ground and they go play."

There's one player that stands out the most on film. Johnson has the statistics with 5.5 tackles for a loss, but Mingo leads the team with seven quarterback hurries. He's also used to seeing double teams on the edge because of his reputation. He only has one sack, but the Gators are preparing to see a heavy rush from Mingo this weekend.

"Mingo is a great, great player," Pease said. "He's so active. He can get a pass rush and has such great length. He'll retrace and make plays downfield. They've all got great motors. It's not just a pass rush. It's how they play from their alignment rushing the passer and then 10-15 yards down the field with how they'll get to the ball. You'll see them making tackles on receivers."

KEEPING GILLISLEE FRESH: The Gators used the bye week to rest injured players, but the offensive coaches were also smart with players that having nagging injuries. Mike Gillislee played through a groin injury against Tennessee and Kentucky in recent weeks, but the coaches decreased his carries during the bye week of practice and got extra reps for younger running backs.

Despite Gillislee's injury early in the season and other injuries that have nagged him during his career, the coaches won't back off the load of touches he has this year.

"We've got to do what we've got to do," Pease said. "If he needs to carry it 30 times this time, he'll carry it 30. If he's got to carry it 12, he'll carry it 12."

The previous injuries won't affect how many carries Gillislee gets. He carried the ball 24 times against Bowling Green in the season opener. Gillislee ran it 14 times against Texas A&M before he sat out the final ten minutes of the game when he originally injured the groin.

His health was in question as Florida made the trip to Knoxville, but when the Gators needed to run out the clock and secure the victory, Gillislee was up to the challenge. He carried the ball 18 times at Tennessee. The big lead against Kentucky allowed the Gators to get the senior some rest with only 13 carries.

With the increased rest of the bye week, Gillislee should be ready to carry the ball as much as needed against LSU.

"If a guy wants to play at the next level, he better be able to handle it 25 times a game," Pease said. "How strong are you in the fourth quarter? I think the kid is good. I compared him to Doug Martin at Boise State. He would carry it 25-to-30 times a game. Mike can handle that. Mike is good at avoiding people. He's not taking direct hits. He knows how to protect himself, like any good running back does."

OFFENSIVE POINTS INCREASE: The bye week for Florida coincided with a week in college football dominated by offense. Pease had to smile while talking about it. While Florida head coach Will Muschamp spoke negatively about all the points being scored on Monday, Pease admitted enjoying watching some of the eye-popping scores last week.

"I love scoring," Pease said with a grin. "You've got to have players built around you, you've got to be in the system for a few years. It takes some time."

Muschamp credited the increase of the up-tempo offense for the more points being scored since offenses are getting more plays in each game. Pease added that the difference in offensive skill players is also contributing.

"You're seeing receivers nowadays, they're becoming so much bigger and more explosive. Everything has become so spread out, so the passing lanes and how you create explosive plays. Then when you get a guy like Geno Smith, when they can just get up there and launch and they've got speed built there on the edges, you can get behind people and go, it's probably pretty deadly. That's why you see as many points as there are and tempo and running a lot of plays. It wears people down, and defenses have a hard time keeping up if you don't have a lot of depth built up."

It's starting to transition into the SEC. While the dominant teams in the conference like Alabama and LSU continue to win with defense and ball possession on offense, Pease doesn't think it will be long until the high-octane attacks start to work their way into the SEC. He already sees it happening.

"I think you're seeing a little bit of it in Tennessee, you're seeing with (Texas) A&M," Pease said. "Missouri already presents that, that's how they've played for years with it. I think it's still part of it, and you'll probably see more and more of it. If teams are successful, it's like in the NFL, if it's a trend, people try to adopt that."


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