There were 11 seconds left and Kentucky fans lined the sidelines, ready to storm the field as the Wildcats closed in on an upset of the nation’s 14th-ranked team. LSU fan Joey Herzog watched in dismay as quarterback Marcus Randall stepped to the Tigers’ huddle for one last desperate attempt downfield.
Little did Herzog know, he was about to become part of college football lore.
As Randall took the snap and heaved a prayer downfield, Kentucky fans behind him began to tear down the goalposts in celebration. But Randall’s pass somehow bounced through a handful of UK defensive backs into the hands of Devery Henderson, who ran in for the game-winning touchdown as Herzog sprinted onto the field – decked out in a purple and gold cow suit.
The image of Herzog cheering triumphantly over a Kentucky player knelt in defeat has become the lasting image from the 2002 “Bluegrass Miracle” and some LSU fans still wear cow suits to games to this day.
Will Muschamp may not remember Herzog or his cow suit, but he certainly remembers something from the game his team won 33-30 in his second year as LSU’s defensive coordinator.
Citing a source close to Florida, ESPN’s Ed Aschoff reported Muschamp will name Brent Pease the Gators’ new offensive coordinator on Wednesday. Pease was the offensive coordinator who managed to hang 30 points on the current Florida head coach and the Tigers’ Top 10 defense on that chilly November day in Lexington, Ky.
GatorCountry.com’s sources have confirmed ESPN’s report. Pease reportedly has agreed to a five-year contract worth about $500,000 annually.
The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu first reported Pease as a candidate for the open position on Dec. 30.
Things heated up between Florida and Pease late Thursday evening, and Pease flew into Florida to meet with the Gators on Friday afternoon, sources confirmed to GatorCountry.com.
Multiple sources told GatorCountry.com Pease was set to be announced as offensive coordinator on Friday, but negotiations stalled. Pease was expected to meet with Alabama about the open offensive coordinator job there on Tuesday, but GatorCountry.com was unable to confirm whether he made that visit.
Pease spent the past year as the offensive coordinator at Boise State coaching quarterbacks. He helped Kellen Moore throw for 3,800 yards and 43 touchdowns with just nine interceptions, while leading the 11th-ranked passing offense in the nation.
Prior to being named offensive coordinator at Boise State for the 2011 season, Pease was named Indiana’s offensive coordinator in December 2010. He returned to Boise State two weeks later when the offensive coordinator job opened up. He spent five seasons as the wide receivers coach for the Broncos from 2006-10, while he was the assistant head coach from 2007-10.
He helped coach two of the most productive receivers in Boise State history in Austin Pettis and Titus Young, who were both 2011 NFL Draft picks. Between them, Pettis and Young hold the Broncos’ school records for career receptions, receiving touchdowns and receiving yards.
Before taking a job at Boise State, Pease spent three years as the offensive coordinator at Baylor, from 2003-05. He was the offensive coordinator at Kentucky from 2001-02, and his 2002 team that took Muschamp’s team to the brink of defeat finished ranked 23rd nationally in scoring offense. He coached quarterback Jared Lorenzen at Kentucky.
Pease began his coaching career as the offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona in 1999. He had a four-year NFL playing career as a journeyman quarterback.
At Florida, he would be tasked with helping turn around one of the program’s worst offenses in decades. The Gators finished the 2011 regular season ranked 102nd in the nation in total offense while scoring 25.6 points per game.
The passing game was a constant struggle for Florida, as the team passed for just 185.7 yards per game. That’s an area Pease brings some expertise as a former quarterback and a quarterbacks coach.
However, he would also need to get marked improvement from the receiving corps. Deonte Thompson finished as Florida’s leading receiver in 2010 with 21 catches, and the entire receiving corps finished with just 76 catches, less than 42 percent of the Gators’ receptions on the year.
Andrew Spivey and Mike Capshaw also contributed to this report.
You can view the famous “Bluegrass Miracle” below or find more info about Herzog here.