Column: Pease not ready for Kentucky

After the Kentucky announced that current head coach Joker Phillips would not be retained after the season was over, rumors started to swirl about potential replacements.

Some of the common names were thrown around like Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes, Western Kentucky’s Willie Taggart and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, but also a few up-and-coming coaches with ties to the Wildcats also arose such as Texas Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown and Florida’s Brent Pease.

Pease, who is still in his first season as offensive coordinator for the Gators, previously served as offensive coordinator at Kentucky from 2001-2002 before moving on to to Baylor with head coach Guy Morriss.

On Nov. 6, Brent Pease addressed the rumors of his interest in the head coaching position at Kentucky with a coachspeak non-answer.

“That’s what we’re in the profession for,” Pease said. “First off, that situation is out of the question right now because I haven’t heard anything. I’m focused on here. I’ve only been here one year.

“They got great people, they got a great program and the facilities are good. I think they’re committed to winning, and they have won. They won when I was there on staff, they won when Rick Brooks was there. You can get good kids there.”

Even though Pease expressed some marginal interest, would he be a good fit at Kentucky?

In my opinion, no.

Looking at Pease and his recent rise to prominence is interesting.  As an offensive coordinator, Pease has only once coached an offense ranked higher than 53rd in national scoring offense and that came in his final year at Boise State when the Broncos were fifth in the country. Further, Pease’s rushing attacks have ranked 100th, 57th, 102nd, 104th, 99th, 40th in the nation during the last six years with Florida currently ranked 39th — not stellar numbers.

Moreover, only twice in Pease’s career — 2001 Kentucky (19th) and 2011 Boise State (11th) — have his passing attacks ranked better than 61st in the country.  Amalgamated, Pease’s offenses have ranked 56th, 87th, 114th, 102nd, 97th and 9th in total offense. Florida is currently ranked 103rd. 

While statistics aren’t everything, they certainly don’t paint a pretty picture of Pease. The statistics show that Pease had one very successful season at Boise State and has struggled mightily at each of his other stops.

Though Pease does have the endorsement of Gators coach Will Muschamp to pursue a head coaching vacancy, there are still questions about Pease as a play caller at Florida and certainly questions about his past performances.

Further, Pease hasn’t necessarily been stellar on the recruiting path. During his short stint with the Gators, Pease has only attracted two three-star quarterbacks to Florida and was unable to win over standout receivers Nelson Agholor and Stefon Diggs for last year’s class. At Boise State, Pease was only responsible for bringing in two players — a three-star athlete and a three-star running back — during his six years. Pease must prove to Kentucky that he can lead the recruitment of, and solidify the commitments from, good talent, while competing with bigger SEC schools and higher performing regional schools such as Louisville.

What do you think? Would Pease be successful as the head coach at Kentucky?

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Daniel Thompson
Dan Thompson is a 2010 graduate of the University Florida, graduating with a degree in Economics and a degree in Political Science. During this time at UF, Dan worked three years for the Florida Gator Football team as a recruiting ambassador. Dan dealt daily with prospects, NCAA guidelines, and coaching staff. Dan was also involved in Florida Blue Key, Student Government and Greek Life. Currently, Dan oversees the IT consulting practice of a Tampa-based company. Dan enjoys golfing, country music, bourbon, travel, oysters, and a medium-rare steak. Dan can be found on Twitter at @DK_Thompson.