Pease: ‘Some balance has to come back'

The Florida coaching staff will do what it has to for a win. In recent weeks, that has come by running the football. However, Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease is trying to figure out the right balance in the play calling. The Gators have run the ball with so much success in recent weeks that they haven't needed to pass, but Pease knows the passing game must improve in the coming weeks.

"You've got to understand something—there's always give and take and we've got a game plan every game," Brent Pease said. "In this (Vanderbilt) game, knowing how the game flows and what you can do, all of a sudden we find a couple of plays that we can hit on that they can't adjust to. We stay with that and see if they can find answers to them. They didn't find some answers to a few plays.

"Whether (Driskel) ends up throwing for 300 or rushing for a record like he does, I don't really care how it gets done as long as we're productive with what we do and score points."

There's still an expectation that the Florida offense will have to open up the passing game in the coming weeks. As the defensive competition stiffens with South Carolina and Georgia on the schedule, the running game could face an opponent that stacks the box and forces the Gators to throw.

Vanderbilt tried to do that on Saturday. They focused on taking running back Mike Gillislee out of the game, which caused Florida to use the zone read plays more often, and earned most of the 177 rushing yards for Jeff Driskel.

"If you are not balanced in what you do, (defenses are) going to start loading things up," Pease said. "But when they have an answer to that, we have to have our answers back."

Driskel threw the ball 20 times against the Commodores and completed 11 of them for 77 yards. Pease blamed drops by receivers and the lack of plays after the catch for the passing yardage not being higher. After the Vanderbilt game, the Gators are last in the SEC with 145 passing yards, 17 yards behind 13th-place Auburn.

Those numbers aren't important to Pease.

He admitted that they'd like to rank higher in the passing game within the conference, but the 6-0 record is what the offensive coordinator continued to point to when questioned about the numbers.

"When we go in and you hit 10 plays for explosive plays, the bottom line is—run them again. Run them again," Pease said. "Let's not get greedy here as a coach and say, 'I don't like that, I'm throwing the ball because that's what we all love to do.' If Jeff Driskel can carry the ball 70 yards and outrun everybody, he's getting the ball. If Mike Gillislee can get the ball and outrun everybody, he's getting the ball.

"If our O-line blocks like they block, we're giving them the ball. I'm not going to be stubborn as far as playing off numbers every week. I'm going to do what's best for this team and what they create for us to be productive and score points and win football games."

The Gators did pull out an upset of No. 4 LSU at home without throwing for 100 yards. When the game got into the second half and the Gators had the lead, Florida trusted its offensive line to open up running lanes and secure the win. It worked to perfection, as the Gators didn't throw one pass while having the lead.

The throwing game allows opportunities for Driskel to make plays down the field, but in recent weeks, his scrambling ability has been as much of a weapon.

"Him on a throw scrambling for 20 yards is as good as throwing the ball to me," Pease said. "Now, defensive coordinators don't like that. That's a problem. That's an issue that they have that they don't account for, especially teams that play man coverage like (Vanderbilt does) because there's one guy that's never covered on the field. That's the quarterback, so if he can recognize that and all of a sudden we've got people covered down field—good, run the ball."

And that's what the Gators will continue to do.

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