“The game plan was vanilla. Florida didn’t show anything on offense because they play [fill in the blank] later in the season and they don’t want to show them anything.”
These are the main two things you hear after the Gators win or lose a game. Florida doesn’t win with style points — probably some of the reason they were hopped by LSU and FSU in the coaches poll — because that isn’t important to Will Muschamp or his coaching staff. There is one stat that is important to Muschamp and that’s winning football games.
If Florida thought that throwing the ball 30 times a game and taking deep shots down the field would give them their best opportunity to win a football game then that’s what they would do. Don’t take my word for it, listen to what quarterback Jeff Driskel has to say about the offense.
“We pretty much wanted to run the ball and that’s what we did. That really doesn’t change week to week. We’ve always gotta run the ball,” Driskel said speaking about the game plan against Toledo. “We did some things with some zone-read stuff. We did some nakeds, some drop-backs, some empty, so I didn’t think it was too basic. We just didn’t have too many vertical plays because the defense was so loose. I don’t think it was too basic at all.”
This is coming from the quarterback. Every quarterback wants to throw the ball. It’s flashy, they can show off their arm and big passing stats get quarterbacks drafted. What quarterback wouldn’t want to throw for 300 yards a game? If any player would take exception to a “vanilla” gameplan, it would be Driskel.
Pease met with the media on Tuesday and was again asked about a bland game plan. Pease has been answering these questions pretty much every week since he took over the job and you could tell that he is growing tired of having his offense questioned.
“I’ve never made a game plan with vanilla,” Pease said on Tuesday. “It’s never what I would go into with a game plan. I would feel too uncomfortable saying, ‘We got save all this, save all that.’”
Pease continued to say that Florida did have vertical passing plays in the game plan. That Florida was prepared to stretch the field last Saturday but the defense that Toledo played forced Florida’s hand. Pease isn’t going to take shots down the field just to do it.
Coverage takes some things away. Do you ask the quarterback not to throw into coverage deep? Yeah, you do,” Pease said. “We can stretch the field if we want to stretch the field. Did we have to stretch the field at a certain point in time? No. Did we have it in the game plan? Yes. I’m not sure what everybody wants, and I’m not saying you guys as much as things I hear on the outside– I understand. Are we gonna throw the ball 75 times a game and throw vertical? No. When a team plays quarters coverage like Toledo, you don’t throw the ball vertical. You throw the ball in intermediate to check-down throws.”
Florida is what it is. The team hasn’t tried to hide the fact that they want to run the football. It’s something that Florida does exceptionally well and when you find something that works, work it.
Pease has plans and expectations for the passing game but he is on board with the head ball coach and will call plays in a way that gives Florida the best chance to win.
“If you’re looking for a guy that’s gonna walk in here and have 90 catches, I don’t know if that’s gonna happen, because everything’s gonna be spread around and everybody’s gonna be involved,” Pease said. “Now, do I want guys with 50-plus? Yeah, absolutely, but we’ll see how it works out at the end of the year. That’s what we evaluate and go back and look at ourselves on.”