Florida Gators fire two assistant coaches following 4-8 season
Coach Will Muschamp fired two coaches the day after UF lost to rival FSU because the Gators’ offense languished at the bottom of the SEC in several key categories.
12/02/2013 12:00 AM
12/02/2013 12:06 AM
Well that didn’t take long.
A day removed from Florida’s worst home loss ever to Florida State — a 37-7 thrashing — UF coach Will Muschamp decided change couldn’t wait.
The Gators fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis early Sunday afternoon, confirming weeks of speculation and scapegoating.
"I have a lot of respect for Coach Pease and Coach Davis,'' Muschamp said in an official statement. "They are both good football coaches and even better people. There have been a lot of unfortunate circumstances this year, but that is part of the game sometimes. I want to thank each of them for their contributions to the program both on and off the field."
The Gators (4-8), who ended the season on a seven-game losing streak, will conduct a search for an offensive coordinator for the third time in four years.
Pease, a veteran coordinator at Kentucky and Boise State before coming to Florida in 2012, presided over a unit that ended the year ranked No. 114 nationally and last in the Southeastern Conference in total yards (316.7 ypg), per play average (4.79 ypp), scoring offense (18.8 ppg), touchdowns (19) and red zone offense (44 percent).
UF’s attack was decimated by injuries — two quarterbacks, a starting tailback, three offensive tackles — but it’s weekly “ineptitude” was too much to overlook, according to Muschamp.
Muschamp called Florida’s offensive struggles “infectious” following the team’s humiliating loss to FCS-foe Georgia Southern two weeks ago.
The contagion spread to UF’s once-impenetrable defense, which was shredded through the air and on the ground over the final month of the season.
“The offense is just three-and-out, three-and-out, three-and-out,” sophomore defensive end Jon Bullard frustratingly admitted after UF’s season-ending thumping to FSU.
“Give us 21 a game,” he said. “If they can do that, then I would put the blame on us if they score 21 points or over. Hopefully change for the better, because what we're doing right now just ain't working.”
Pease, who was under contract through 2015 and owed roughly 1.2 million, said earlier last week he deserved another season based on so many extenuating circumstances.
But for the third straight season Florida’s offense finished the year ranked in the bottom-20 nationally in total yards — the last two seasons under Pease’s control — and failed to score over 20 points during the team’s longest losing streak in 34 years.
"I know we came up short of our ultimate goal, but I will carry on knowing I gained valuable friendships and relationships during my time here,” Pease said in UF’s official statement.
Against FSU, Florida tallied less than 200 yards for the second time this season and nearly had as many drives under four plays (six) as first downs (eight). Afterward, Muschamp refused to comment on any potential coaching changes, but acknowledged a reevaluation of UF’s offensive philosophy.
“We need to take a look at ourselves schematically with what we’re doing,” Muschamp said. “There have been some things that have happened that are very difficult to overcome, but schematically, there’s no question we need to take a look at ourselves.”
Muschamp also dismissed the notion he only prefers a grind-it-out, ball-control offense.
“Perception’s not always reality,” Muschamp said. “I’m willing to do what we need to do to score points and win games.”
Join the Discussion
Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.