Pease knew early Gillislee would start

Halfway through spring practices, first-year Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease knew who his starter would be at running back. Mike Gillislee was expected to be the starter after Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey graduated, but he secured that role early in the spring. His on-field talent was part of the season. His attitude and unselfishness was a big reason why Pease wanted him to win the job.

"I just loved his attitude and I loved how he worked," Brent Pease said. "He's light on his feet. He'll pour it in there when he has to. I just thought he was a smart runner. And he's one of those guys that can slash when he as to. He can hit it, and then bounce it outside and then turn it on with his speed. In spring, he was just one of those guys that all of the sudden he's got the ball in his hands a lot and he's making plays.

"He's getting around the corner. He's splitting defenders. And when you kind of keep seeing that a kid is developing consistency, that carries over into a game."

Gillislee has lived up to the hype. The senior running back is second in the Southeastern Conference while averaging 102.5 yards per game and has 615 rushing yards this season. He's second in both behind Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

He doesn't have the build of most power backs in the SEC, but Gillislee has only lost a total of nine yards on carries this year. He continues to keep his legs moving in a pile, no matter how many defenders are around him. That's what has made him have such an impressive season. Even when Gillislee is hit behind the line of scrimmage, he knows how to bounce off the hit and pick up some yardage.

"The good thing is he's not stuttering his feet in the hole," Pease said. "He understands the blocking scheme. He's hitting the hole. Sometimes you've got to push your own guys and they'll continue to make the pile move. He's not a guy that's going to go down easy. He just kind of keeps honoring it, and then all of a sudden, he'll know.

"Seams will open up in the blocking scheme, whether they open up right away and you see them and have to go or they hang in there and get lost in the mosh pit, then all of a sudden you break out."

DROPS HURT PASSING GAME: The 77 yards that quarterback Jeff Driskel accounted for through the air didn't sit well with Pease. He wasn't upset about bad throws. It was more about the drops. The Florida receivers weren't consistent catching the ball at Vanderbilt, and the offensive coordinator assured that it would be a focus of practice before taking on South Carolina this Saturday.

"It's really probably more just hitting the JUGGS machine and creating the situation of people around him," Pease said. "Like the one Trey (Burton) dropped, it's just unfortunate because it was right on his body, and he makes that catch all the time. You've really got to create the balls that are off their frame as far as catches, either low below their waste or high above their shoulders or back, just kind of create a better range of their catch radius."

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