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Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease has experience against Georgia's defense.

Tuesday October 23, 2012Pease, Gators Prefer Wins Over Yards Any Day

Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease has experience against Georgia's defense.

Chris Harry
By Chris Harry Senior Writer

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- At Boise State, the scoreboard was a fireworks display of points, touchdowns and total yards.

Offensive coordinator Brent Pease had a pass-first offense with the Broncos that could bust a big play from anywhere on the field and leave statisticians in the press box as dizzied as defenses on the field.

So the issue was put Tuesday to Pease, now offensive coordinator at Florida, about his unit now ranking 11th in the Southeastern Conference (350.4 yards per game) and last in passing (137.4 yards per game).

“I’m not really concerned about that,” he said. “I’m concerned about winning.”

The Gators have played seven times this season and happen to be 7-0, including 6-0 in the Southeastern Conference heading toward Saturday’s huge league game against rival Georgia (6-1, 4-1), a game that figures to decide the Eastern Division title.

Don’t mistake Pease’s remark as any sort of apology rationale for what’s going on when Florida has the football. In the case of last week’s 44-11 defeat of South Carolina, it was more about where the Gators got the ball.

Turnovers by the defense commenced drives on the USC 2, 29, 1 and 11.

The Gators scored touchdowns on all four possessions.

“So now I’m looking at, ‘Are we scoring?’ We better be scoring touchdowns on that,” Pease said. “I’m not protecting what we do or anything, but yeah, I think it’s misleading because I don’t think [stats are] a good [indicator] to the total outcome.”

When a defense is playing as well as UF is -- the Gators rank seventh in the nation (282.0 ypg), including fourth in scoring (12.4 point per game), and have forced 15 turnovers -- the offense’s barometers change. They tend to shift more toward red-zone efficiency (92.6 percent, which is second in the SEC), third-down conversions (39.4 percent) and ball security (four turnovers all season).

“When you’re scoring points and winning games, the rest of the numbers don’t really matter,” junior guard Jon Halapio said.

That doesn’t mean Pease is satisfied with everything UF is doing on offense. It just means this is the state of the Gators through seven games.

Florida has averaged just 77.3 yards passing over the last three games, yet won each by adapting to the flow of that individual game; whether it was eating clock and feeding Mike Gillislee against LSU, riding quarterback Jeff Driskel’s legs at Vanderbilt or capitalizing on Grade-A field position against South Carolina.

“As wide receivers, hey, we’d love to catch more balls,” junior wideout Solomon Patton said. “But the offense is doing what it has to do to put points on the board. That’s the bottom line.”

Or as Driskel shot back when told the Gators are last in the SEC in passing: “Yeah, but we’re first in wins.”

The sign of a good team is one that adjusts to the environment of the day.

“Every game is different, every opponent is different,” Coach Will Muschamp said. “You’ve got to change gears. It’s about what we need to do win the game. That can change week to week and sometimes your idea of what it’s going to take can certainly change. That’s one thing that is really good about our staff: we adapt very well when the circumstances do change.”

Take Driskel, for example.

A week after he rushed for 177 yards and three touchdowns at Vandy, the read option was basically shelved against a Gamecocks defensive front among the best in the nation. He ran just nine times and only threw 16 passes.

Driskel completed 11 of those throws, four went for touchdowns.

And no interceptions.

“I look at the efficiency [of the offense] and how Jeff is handling it,” Pease said.

So far, so very good.

Don’t go to sleep on Pease’s playbook, though. There’s a bunch of creative -- and even pass-happy -- stuff in there, but there’s a time and place for everything, and Pease had no trouble admitting Monday that going up and down the field in the Mountain West Conference is a little different from doing against the Jadeveon Clowneys, Barkevious Mingos and Damontre Moores of the SEC world.

“At Boise, if we’re facing those guys every day, I don’t know if you’re always going to have that explosion, but you’ve got to learn to adjust,” Pease said. “I’ve done that here.”

UF fans who double as stat-watchers, are adjusting with him.


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