Pease stands up for the offense

The Gators ran the ball on 48 of 70 snaps against Toledo on Saturday. Running for 5.5 yards per carry, Florida dominated the time of possession and wore the Toledo defense out to secure the win in the second half, but questions remain about the potency of the Florida offense. Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease stood up for his unit on Tuesday and refuted any claims of a vanilla game plan.

"First off, I don't know what vanilla (means). I've heard the word vanilla, I don't know what vanilla (means)," Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said on Tuesday. "I've never made a game plan vanilla. I would feel too uncomfortable saying, ‘We've got save all this, save all that.' We didn't have a vanilla game plan."

Regardless of the design of the game plan, Pease doesn't expect it to be as run-heavy this weekend at Miami. The Gators will have to open it up and throw down the field more. The reason it didn't happen against Toledo is the defense Florida faced.

The Rockets dictated where the throws from quarterback Jeff Driskel went, and it also gave the Gators signs that they could run the ball and control the clock throughout the game.

"Are we going to throw the ball 75 times a game and throw vertical? No," Pease said. "When a team plays quarters coverage like Toledo, you don't throw the ball vertical. You throw the ball in intermediate to check-down throws."

Pease brought a paper with multiple statistics to his press conference. When questioned about the performance on Saturday, the offensive coordinator had plenty of numbers to show how much the offense has improved.

The Gators had the ball for 39:48. They started a drive with 6:38 remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter and were able to run the clock out, ending the game at Toledo's four-yard line with the win in hand. Pease pointed to Florida's 262 rushing yards, completing 77 percent of its passes to go along with one turnover.

The Gators had nine explosive plays and went 6-for-12 on third downs. Florida also went 3-for-3 in third-and-one situations, a problem the offense dealt with at the start of the 2012 season.

"I'm not sure what everybody wants, and I'm not saying (the media) as much as things I hear on the outside," Pease said.

Driskel went 17-for-22, throwing for 153 yards and one touchdown. Of those five incompletions, the Gators dropped two passes and had two passes tipped at the line of scrimmage. The only throw that Pease felt like Driskel missed on the day was an incomplete in the red zone, overthrown to an open Quinton Dunbar.

MANAGING JONES: Running back Matt Jones will return to action this week. Pease said early in camp that they expected him to handle 20-25 carries in a game, but the coaches aren't sure he'll be ready for that load in the humidity of a noon kickoff in Miami.

The coaches will manage how many times he touches the ball and make decisions based on how Jones looks in the game.

"We've got to be smart in how we use him because we've got to understand through practice this week what's the number of reps he can handle," Pease said. "The fatigue factor is probably going to become involved in the humid situation down there at the time of the game. He'll know game plan. He'll know that because he's a smart guy. We'll see what he can handle, but I expect he can handle it all."

Mack Brown showed what he is capable of doing after going for 112 yards and two touchdowns against Toledo. The redshirt junior will be ready if he needs to handle extensive carries. Pease wouldn't answer when asked if the Gators could put Brown and Jones on the field at the same time on Saturday.

Jones' return makes him the starting running back and one that can handle every play in the offense.

"He's a power runner, a downhill run guy, he's got capability of breaking it and going all the way -- you saw that in the Florida State game," Pease said. "He knows protections, he's got good hands. We can play him in a lot of different positions, we can split him out, he can catch the ball."

FRESHMAN RECEIVERS: The optimism around Ahmad Fulwood and Demarcus Robinson continued to build throughout fall camp, but they combined for just one catch for five yards. However, it was an impressive play. Driskel hit Fulwood on a crossing route on third down. After the catch, Fulwood made sure to get to the first down marker.

He didn't try to make multiple defenders miss or get to the sideline to create a big play. Pease said that type of play might not have been present in the receiver group last season.

"Last year, I don't know if we get it," Pease said. "He sticks his foot in the ground and gets forward. You guys see it as a five-yard catch, I see it as a first down on a third-down conversion that last year we probably don't get. That's big in what he does and his football awareness."

Robinson didn't make a catch on the day but was credited for important blocks on two other catches by Florida receivers. After the game was over, Pease went directly to Robinson's locker to encourage him. He told him to be patient and understand that his time in the offense would come. Robinson's reaction was one of a veteran. He told Pease not to worry about it because he had fun and the team won.

"That's the kind of kid he is," Pease said.

Fightin Gators Top Stories