Thoughts of the day: October 22, 2013


“If you continue to do the same things, you are going to get the same results.” Einstein said something similar, but those were the very recent words of Florida coach Will Muschamp. It’s a bye week and he’s said there is much to do during the next few days to get Florida’s ship righted, but will the changes he proposes include any on the offensive coaching staff? Offensive coordinator Brent Pease and line coach Tim Davis are definitely under fire for their under-performing units but firing coaches in the middle of a season is a radical approach that hasn’t been done at Florida in at least the last 25 years, perhaps much longer. But, with the possibility of the first losing season since 1979 hanging over the Gators’ heads, something radical could be in the works. Muschamp won’t meet with the media until Wednesday so it’s not likely that if there are changes that they will be announced before then.

2012 VS. 2013

In Pease’s first year as Florida’s offensive coordinator, the Gators averaged 26.5 points per game, 5.25 yards per play, 4.53 yards per rush and 6.6 yards per pass attempt with 13 touchdowns against five interceptions plus another 22 touchdowns on the ground. While yards per pass attempt are higher this year (7.1 per attempt), the Gators have taken a step back in the other categories. Florida is averaging 21.1 points per game, 4.94 yards per play, 3.7 per rush and they’ve only thrown for seven touchdowns against five interceptions. The Gators have run for nine touchdowns. The passer rating is very similar for both years: 130.44 in 2012, 132.72 in 2013.


Pease was the offensive coordinator for Guy Morris at Kentucky in 2001-02. Because of heavy NCAA sanctions, Morris bolted for Baylor after the 2002 season taking Pease with him. Pease’s best year at Kentucky was 2002 when the Wildcats averaged 32.1 points per game, 4.1 yards per rush and 6.8 yards per pass attempt with 24 touchdowns and only six interceptions. That year Kentucky put a scare into the Gators at The Swamp. Florida overcame two special teams touchdowns and two touchdown passes from Jared Lorenzen to take a 41-34 win. Later in the season, Kentucky had LSU on the ropes until a 75-yard touchdown pass on a deflection on the game’s last play gave the Tigers a 33-30 win. Kentucky scored 16 points in the fourth quarter on LSU coordinator Will Muschamp’s defense and Artose Pinner gashed the Tigers for 137 rushing yards.


Pease spent three years at Baylor with Morris (2003-05) before he “resigned” to “pursue other coaching opportunities.” Baylor posted three wins in each of 2003 and 2004, then won five in 2005. In 2003, Baylor averaged 15.9 points per game, 2.8 yards per rushing attempt and 6.0 yards per pass attempt with 11 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. In 2004, the Bears improved to 20.4 per game and 3.0 per rushing attempt, but Baylor dipped to 5.9 yards per pass attempt with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. In 2005, Pease’s final season on the job, Baylor averaged 21.5 points per game, 3.1 yards per carry and 5.8 per pass attempt with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.


Pease coached wide receivers at Boise from 2005-10, then took over as the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2011 when Bryan Harsin left to take a similar position at Texas. Boise State beat Georgia, 35-21, in the season opener and was a missed field goal as time expired against TCU from a perfect season. At Boise in 2011, quarterback Kellen Moore threw for 3,800 yards, 43 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. Tailback Doug Martin ran for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns and there were two receivers with 62 catches and six who had at least 20. Boise averaged 4.5 per rushing play and 8.43 per pass. It must be noted that Boise didn’t run Pease’s offensive system. Boise is running the same system that has been in place since Dirk Koetter installed it in 1998, which is one of the reasons you’ll find there isn’t much variation in the offensive numbers for Boise from 2006-11. No matter who is calling the plays, it’s pretty much the same thing every year in terms of production.


Muschamp already has two proven offensive coordinators on his staff in wide receivers coach Joker Phillips and running backs coach Brian White. As Kentucky’s offensive coordinator, Phillips put together outstanding back-to-back seasons in 2006-07 with Andre Woodson at quarterback. In 2006, Woodson threw for 3,515 yards, 31 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. The Wildcats averaged 8.25 per pass attempt but only 3.1 per rushing attempt. The Wildcats had a 1,000-yard receiver in Keenan Burton who snagged 77 passes for 1,036 yards and 12 touchdowns. Things improved in 2007 when Woodson threw for 3,709 yards, 40 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions. The Wildcats produced a 1,000-yard rusher that year in Rafael Little and had two receivers with more than 60 catches, two with more than 50 and one with 42. White was the Wisconsin running backs coach from 1995-98 and from1999-2006 was also offensive coordinator. In his eight years on the job, White produced a 1,000-yard rusher six times including 1999, when Ron Dayne ran for 2,087 yards and won the Heisman Trophy. When Wisconsin won the Rose Bowl in 2006, the Badgers averaged 8.3 yards per pass and 4.0 per rush with P.J. Hill going for 1,569 yards rushing and Travis Beckum catching 61 passes for 903 yards. Wisconsin produced four 1,000-yard receivers during White’s tenure with the best Lee Evans’ 75 catches for 1,545 yards in 2001.


At sometime between 8-9 a.m. Miami will find out its fate from the NCAA. Miami has self-imposed two bowl bans, a ban on playing in last year’s Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and suspended more than a dozen athletes, what school president Donna Shalayla says is penalty enough for years of wrong-doing that was documented by convicted felon Nevin Shapiro. The evidence Shapiro provided should have been enough to put the Hurricanes in the NCAA jail, but unethical conduct by the NCAA enforcement staff that went over and beyond Sharpio’s documents could weigh the Infractions Committee to accept the self-imposed penalties and close the case.


If the NCAA decides further penalties are necessary, it could affect Miami’s football team, ranked #7 nationally and undefeated at 7-0. It could also affect the Missouri basketball program since it could levee a show cause penalty on head coach Frank Haith, who was the Miami coach at the time of the allegations and has been implicated in wrongdoing. Miami lose scholarships, see both its football and basketball teams sanctioned and could also get hit with a lack of institutional control, which would mean any violation by any of its athletic teams, no matter how trivial, could cause the Infractions Committee to reconvene and issue the death penalty. PREDICTION: Miami loses a few scholarships, the NCAA accepts the two self-imposed bowl bans but hits Miami with lack of institutional control.


Since Miami could get the works from the NCAA today, it seems only appropriate that today’s music is from famous UM alum Pat Metheny, who was named a full professor of music at UM midway through his first semester on campus in the 1980s. Metheny is one of the few real geniuses in music today. He’s always pushing the musical envelope and stretching jazz to new limits. “Song for Bilbao” is one of my real favorites because of the great keyboard work from Lyle Mays and the wordless scat vocals from the incredible Richard Bona.

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Franz Beard
Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.