Notebook: Pease excited for Kentucky return

Former Kentucky head coach and current Florida receivers coach Joker Phillips will be the focal point of attention on the Florida sideline this weekend, but it's also a homecoming for offensive coordinator Brent Pease. Now in his second year running the Florida offense, Pease was the offensive coordinator at Kentucky from 2001-2002 and enjoyed his time in Lexington.

It wasn't hard to see how genuine Pease's excitement was. He enjoyed the job in Lexington and also fell in love with horse racing. After his interview session was over on Tuesday, he stayed and spent around 10 minutes talking to the media about horse racing.

"Horse racing's awesome," Brent Pease said. "It's a great city though. It's clean, the atmosphere, beautiful countryside and stuff. I liked the university. The university was a very pretty school, and it was a good institution."

Pease has made two trips to the Kentucky Derby, noting that his favorite part of it is the Kentucky Oaks that happens the day before the race. He'll be back in Lexington this weekend for Florida's game at Kentucky, but it will always hold a special place in Pease's heart from his time spent there.

"I've got a lot of friends there," Pease said. "It's a great place. I've gone back there -- I always go back to horse races. Still have a couple close friends there that stay in touch with my family and my wife."

Pease also enjoyed the perk of Kentucky basketball season tickets when Tubby Smith was the head coach.

Now on the Florida side of the matchup, Pease is leading the offense into a game where the Gators have a 26-game winning streak. On the Kentucky side, Pease used to bring it up to his players as motivation when facing Florida.

He won't speak about it this week. Florida head coach Will Muschamp said on Monday that the coaches don't talk to the players about the streak, and when asked about it during the week, some players weren't even aware of it. However, there is some pressure that comes with such a long streak.

"It's good, but you kind of feel the pressure," Pease said. "You don't want it to end, but obviously, there's tradition there and you got to continue to carry it on."

JONES IN DIFFERENT ROLE: With Matt Jones not running like he's completely back from his viral infection, Pease was quick to caution that it will come for the sophomore back.

The offensive coordinator didn't expect it to be a breeze for Jones. He showed signs at the end of the 2012 season that he was capable of a breakout, but he's in a different role now. Last year, Mike Gillislee wore down the opposing defense before Jones came in to carry the ball. That isn't the case now.

"He's still in a different role than last year, because last year was easy because Gilly would take all these, and he could come in and spare him when the defense was tired," Pease said. "Well now you're the every-down guy, so your expectation of execution is much higher on a play-to-play basis of consistency and performance. He's a good player. He will be all right."

While the Gators wait for more production at running back, there's a chance freshman Kelvin Taylor will be more involved. Muschamp said last Wednesday that his role in the offense would grow, but he only received one carry for four yards against the Volunteers.

Muschamp said his week of practice would determine how many carries he gets at Kentucky. Last season, it took Jones a few weeks of practice before he got acclimated to the college game and earned touches on the field. Pease said that Taylor is in a similar place now.

"It depends on the flow of the game. Kelvin has done a lot better in practice," Pease said. "He's a kid who's got good quickness, good strength, he's got good running instincts and abilities. We want to try and get him into the flow on some things."

Pease said that he speaks with running backs coach Brian White in the booth during the game to make decisions on which running back gets in the game.

One decision they likely won't have to make on Saturday is Valdez Showers. The running back is doubtful for Saturday because of an ankle injury he suffered last week. He brings the speed element to the Florida backfield that others don't have.

"He's the guy that gets us on the edge a little bit," Pease said. "You still have to have some way to probably get there. You've got to kind of understand that throwing little quick screens is a way to get the ball on the perimeter, too -- like with Solomon. He caught the ball and did what he did and made a big play for us. That, to me, I always look at it as an extension of the running game."

Fightin Gators Top Stories