GatorZone.com Senior Writer
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – They first crossed paths about 12 years ago when both were chasing one of the best players to ever come out Lowndes High in Valdosta, Ga. He was a big defensive end named Vincent “Sweet Pea” Burns.
Gator head coach Will Muschamp was a first-time defensive coordinator at Valdosta State and liked his chances of landing Burns, who later became a third-round pick of the Indianapolis Colts. Meanwhile, Brent Pease was the assistant head coach at Northern Arizona, where he also served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, and appeared a long shot to land the talented Burns.
“We’re trying to keep him home,” Muschamp said. “We’re recruiting him hard.”
“He was a great player. There was no doubt about that,” Pease said.
Muschamp shakes his head and grins as he finishes the story.
“There is no way Vincent should have left Lowndes County,” he said. “I found out quickly who Brent was then and obviously later during his days at Kentucky.”
Muschamp won’t have to fret about competing against Pease any time soon. He has hired him to be the Gators’ new offensive coordinator.
The Boise State football program has been the nation’s winningest over the past six seasons and the Broncos’ coaching staff has produced some hot targets, including Pease, whose name has surfaced for several jobs over that span.
Pease and his wife spent last weekend in Gainesville and a deal was finalized Tuesday for Pease to replace Charlie Weis, who left last month to become head coach at Kansas.
Pease spent the past six years on Chris Petersen’s staff at Boise State, serving as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator in 2011 after five seasons as receivers coach.
Since their days competing for Burns, Pease and Muschamp have remained in contact through the years and coached against each other when Pease was offensive coordinator at Kentucky from 2001-02 and Muschamp was defensive coordinator at LSU.
Pease could have stayed at Boise but said the opportunity to join Muschamp with the Gators was a challenge he didn’t want to pass up.
“Being back in the SEC, working with Will and knowing what his future plan is, knowing the type of personality he has were factors,” Pease said. “He’s a lot of what I like. It’s an opportunity to coach great players. You get the best. With what I’ve done offensively, it kind of fits what his philosophy is. That’s the greatest thing.
“I know what he wants and can work within those parameters. And there are some good guys on staff there.”
A former NFL quarterback who once was Warren Moon’s backup with the Houston Oilers, the 47-year old Pease is a veteran offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Prior to his stop at Boise, Pease had stints as an offensive coordinator at Baylor, Kentucky, Northern Arizona and Montana, his alma mater.
Pease took over a Boise State offense in 2011 led by quarterback and Heisman candidate Kellen Moore. Boise State didn’t miss a beat, opening the season with a victory over Georgia on the way to a 12-1 record and 56-24 thumping of Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl last month.
Muschamp talked with multiple candidates during his search to replace Weis, but Pease was someone he targeted early. Pease attended Florida’s Gator Bowl practices in Jacksonville and talked a lot of football with Muschamp.
They quickly discovered a lot of common ground.
“I’ve had him on my radar for a while,” Muschamp said. “I think we have improved our football program. We’re on the same page philosophically with what we want to be, and that to me is what strikes you the most. He’s not a stat guy. He is a guy who wants to win football games.
“If you look at the last six or seven years at Boise … they won football games. He was really a strong force behind what they have been doing offensively.”
The Broncos were 73-6 during Pease’s six seasons and averaged 481.3 yards per game in his only season as offensive coordinator, good for ninth in the country. The Broncos finished fifth in scoring offense with an average of 44.2 points a game.
Pease used a pro-style, balanced attack that relied on a fast tempo under the direction of Moore, who completed 74.3 percent of his passes. Moore threw for 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns. Meanwhile, running back Doug Martin added 1,299 yards rushing and 16 touchdowns, giving the Broncos the kind of balanced attack that Muschamp has stressed since replacing Urban Meyer at Florida in January 2010.
Some of Pease’s best work at Boise was developing a strong cast of receivers that included current NFL players Austin Pettis and Titus Young. Senior Broncos receiver Tyler Shoemaker told reporters prior to the season that Pease made a huge impact on the program.
“He demanded the best from the receivers,’’ Shoemaker said. “He pushed everybody to be the best. I think that’s why Titus and Austin had such great success – they had that guy pushing them.”
Pease, who briefly took the job as Indiana’s offensive coordinator last year before returning to Boise, said Boise State’s success wasn’t by accident.
“We had great players and a great philosophy led by the head coach,” he said. “I think offensively, the fact we’re multiple, put our kids in great situations to match up and execute and still be very balanced in what we do – run, pass, and keep a real up-tempo offense when we needed. When you tie that all in – yeah, we’ve had a very, very unusually great quarterback that has kind of led that charge along with other players -- there were a lot of ingredients in all aspects of the game.”
In Pease’s first season at Boise State, the Broncos pulled out a 43-42 win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl that boosted the program’s stature nationally.
The Broncos won on a two-point conversion in overtime on a play called “Statue Left” – a call reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty play. Former Bronco quarterback Jared Zabransky took the snap, stuck the ball behind his back, and Ian Johnson grabbed it and raced into the end zone for the game-winning score.
“Beyond the big picture was the delicious, utterly improbable manner in which the Broncos did it,” wrote then-ESPN.com columnist Pat Forde. “And true genius. No coaching staff has ever ended a game with so much daring.”
Muschamp got a taste of Pease’s offensive style when Kentucky rolled up nearly 400 yards against his LSU defense in 2002 in the infamous “Bluegrass Miracle” game the Tigers pulled out on a Hail Mary pass as time expired.
“They flat out got after us on offense that day,” Muschamp said. “They stayed balanced in what they did and they made some big plays. They should have won the football game quite frankly.”
After posting a 2-9 season in Pease's first year, Kentucky finished 7-5 in 2002, which matched its best record since 1984, and ranked 23rd nationally and led the SEC in scoring offense. Besides his time at Kentucky, Pease has previously been an offensive coordinator at Montana (1996-98), Northern Arizona (1999-2000) and Baylor (2003-05).
A native of Mountain Home, Idaho, Pease grew up around the game as the son of a football coach.
“That’s another thing I really like about Brent,” Muschamp said. “He’s been to some different places and he’s done some different things. He’s been a lot of different places and has been exposed to a lot of different stuff and different schemes. All you do in this profession is you continue to learn and grow and then you’ve got to take your personnel and fit your scheme to your personnel.
“I think he’ll generate some new ideas in the room and will certainly blend well with the staff that we already have.”
Pease’s time at Kentucky introduced him to Florida football. In his only game at The Swamp, Kentucky threatened to upset the Gators before losing 41-34 in 2002.
Pease is thankful for the opportunity to join a program he considers one of the country’s best.
Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks – 1st Season
Boise State (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
Boise State (Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers)
Boise State (Wide Receivers)
Baylor (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
Kentucky (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
Northern Arizona (Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
Montana (Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks)
Montana (Offensive Backs/Wide Receivers)
Montana (Running Backs/Wide Receivers)
· A 21-year coaching veteran and a former NFL quarterback, Pease spent the previous six seasons at Boise State.
· Has served 11 seasons as an offensive coordinator and has coached at his alma mater, Montana (1991-98), as well as Northern Arizona (1999-2000), Kentucky (2001-02) and Baylor (2003-05).
· Was Boise State’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach in 2011 after spending the previous five seasons as the team’s wide receivers coach and four as BSU’s assistant head coach.
· The Broncos averaged 44.2 points and 481.3 yards per game en route to a 12-1 performance and a 56-24 victory in the Las Vegas Bowl over Arizona State.
· Pease coached in a bowl game in each of his six seasons at Boise State, including two Fiesta Bowl victories.
· Has reached the postseason 13 times in his career, highlighted by a national championship in 1995 at Montana.
· At Boise State, Pease and the Broncos posted a 73-6 (.924) record, four conference championships and ranked in the top five of the final Associated Press Poll twice.
· Worked with Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore, a finalist for the 2011 Maxwell Award and two-time Touchdown Club of Columbus Quarterback of the Year recipient, who became the first signal-caller in FBS to win 50 games in his career, finishing with a mark of 50-3 (.943).
· Moore was the first player in NCAA history to record four seasons with both 3,000 yards of total offense and 3,000 passing yards. He was the second player in NCAA history with 3,000 yards of total offense four-straight years (Dan LeFevour, Central Michigan; 2006-09), and the second player in NCAA history with four 3,000 passing yardage seasons (Timmy Chang, Hawaii; 2000, 2002-04). Moore was just the sixth quarterback in NCAA history to eclipse 14,000 career passing yards.
· Pease tutored All-Mountain West wideout Tyler Shoemaker and a trio of All-WAC receivers in Austin Pettis, Titus Young and Jeremy Childs.
· Shoemaker’s 16 touchdown catches in 2011 set a Boise State single-season mark and he finished with 62 receptions for 994 yards (16.0 avg.), including three-touchdown efforts against Toledo and San Diego State.
· BSU wide receiver Matt Miller set school single-season freshman records in each of the three major receiving categories last year with 62 catches for 679 yards and nine TD.
· Pettis closed out his career as the school's all-time leader in receptions with 229 and touchdown catches with 39. The two-time first team All-WAC honoree also ranks second on the school's all-time list with 2,838 receiving yards. Pettis was chosen in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, 78th overall.
· Young, a three-time first team All-WAC selection who was taken in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions with the 44th choice, wrapped up his career as the school's all-time leading receiver with 3,063 yards. He also set BSU's all-time single-season receiving yardage record with 1,215 in 2010, and he finished second behind Pettis in career receptions (204) and fourth in career receiving touchdowns (25).
· Childs, a two-time All-WAC member, is fourth all-time at BSU in career receptions (168) and holds the record for single-season receptions (82) set back in 2007.
· Pettis and Young both received invitations to the 2011 Senior Bowl and combined for 2,166 receiving yards and 19 receiving touchdowns in 2010 alone. Pettis reeled in 71 catches for 951 yards and 10 touchdowns. He was part of a Bronco offense that ranked second in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 46.67 points a game during the regular season.
· Young became the first Bronco to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark twice (2009, 2010) and averaged 152.42 all-purpose yards per game during the regular season - a mark that ranked in the top-20 nationally.
· In 2009, Pease helped construct one of the deepest Bronco receiving corps in recent history. Boise State finished the season with six different receivers that caught at least 20 passes. Pettis set a school record with 14 touchdowns, which included a record streak of 10 consecutive games with a TD catch. Young led the team in receiving with 79 catches for 1,041 yards and 10 touchdowns.
· Prior to his stop at Boise State, Pease spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at Baylor. The Bears broke the school's single-season mark for completion percentage (.595) and established a new standard for total completions with 235 in 2004. BU threw for 2,342 yards, the fifth-highest one-year total in school history, and improved its total offense average (311.8 ypg) by more than 30 yards per game over the team's 2003 output.
· In 2003, the Baylor offense produced the program's first 1,000-yard rusher since 1995 (and just the sixth ever at the time) in running back Rashad Armstrong, who earned All-Big 12 honors after rushing for 1,074 yards. The Bears' quarterbacks combined to complete 56.7 percent of their passes on the year, at the time a single-season school record.
· During his time at Baylor, Pease coached future NFL wide receivers Trent Shelton (2009 Washington Redskins) and Dominique Zeigler (2008, 2010 San Francisco 49ers).
· From 2001-02, Pease served as offensive coordinator at Kentucky, where he helped turn the Wildcats into one of the top scoring offenses in the country. After posting a 2-9 season in Pease's first year, Kentucky finished 7-5 in 2002, which matched its best record since 1998, and ranked 23rd nationally and led the SEC in scoring offense.
· Pease coached future NFL players Artose Pinner (Detroit Lions) and Jared Lorenzen (New York Giants) during his two seasons with the Wildcats. Pinner led the SEC in rushing, finished 13th nationally and earned first-team All-SEC in 2001. Pinner was the 2002 SEC Player of the Year by the Mobile Register and was also the SEC Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press and CollegeFootballNews.com. Lorenzen was 23rd nationally in pass efficiency that season, while Derek Abney was 10th in all-purpose yardage in 2002 and 12th in 2001.
· Before moving to the Division I level as a coordinator, Pease spent 10 seasons at Division I-AA schools Montana and Northern Arizona, five of those as a coordinator.
· Served as assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at NAU in 1999 and 2000, helping the Lumberjacks advance to the 1999 NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
· Coached quarterback Travis Brown, who was the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 Blue-Gray Game.
· Was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Montana from 1996-98, and he was an offensive assistant coach from 1991-95.
· Pease helped the Grizzlies establish themselves as one of the premier I-AA programs in the mid-'90s, when they won the I-AA national championship in 1995, finished second in 1996 and advanced to the semifinals in 1994.
· During his tenure at Montana, the Grizzlies finished with 10 or more wins four times in eight years and made the playoffs each of his last six years.
· While he was the team’s offensive coordinator, Montana compiled records of 14-1 (1996), 8-4 (1997) and 8-4 (1998).
· Pease’s quarterback in ’95, David Dickenson, won the Walter Payton Award as the I-AA National Player of the Year and was the Big Sky Conference Most Valuable Player from 1993-95.
· Dickenson’s successor, Brian Ah Yat, was a three-year finalist for the Walter Payton Award and played in the Hula Bowl.
· Montana quarterbacks won the Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year Award in five of his eight seasons at the school. Pease also coached two All-America wide receivers.
After two seasons at Walla Walla (Wash.) Community College, Pease played quarterback at the University of Montana in 1985-86. He led the nation in total offense in 1986 and set nine school records during a standout career.
After college, Pease was drafted by the NFL's Minnesota Vikings and played two years for the Houston Oilers (1987-88). He also has playing experience in the Canadian Football League, the World League of American Football and the Arena Football League. In 1991, he was the first player selected in the inaugural WLAF Draft by the Birmingham Fire.
Birthdate: Oct. 8, 1964
Hometown: Moscow, Idaho
Education: 1990 – Bachelor’s Degree in Health and Human Performance from Montana
Family: Wife – Paula; Daughter – Halle (17); Son – Karsten (15)
FCS Championship Finishes
1993: FCS Championship – First Round (Montana)
1994: FCS Championship – Semifinals (Montana)
1995: FCS Championship – National Champions (Montana)
1996: FCS Championship – Finals (Montana)
1997: FCS Championship – First Round (Montana)
1998: FCS Championship – First Round (Montana)
1999: FCS Championship – First Round (Northern Arizona)
Bowl Games as a Coach
2010: Las Vegas
2011: Las Vegas