Saturday, December 16, 2017
Colleges

Florida Gators fire offensive coordinator Pease

GAINESVILLE — Less than 24 hours after Florida coach Will Muschamp and athletic director Jeremy Foley said fundamental offensive changes were necessary after a 4-8 season, Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis on Sunday morning.

Florida, which finished No. 112 out of 123 Division I-A teams in total offense, seeks its fifth offensive coordinator since 2008 and third in four years under Muschamp.

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Pease and Coach Davis," Muschamp said. "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."

Pease, 49, replaced Charlie Weis in January 2012 after six years at Boise State, the final year as offensive coordinator. He will receive about $1.2 million on the final two years of his contract.

Davis, 55, spent two seasons at UF after serving as offensive line coach at Utah in 2011. Florida gave up 56 sacks during his tenure.

Among those reported to be potential candidates for the offensive coordinator job: USC offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Clay Helton; Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper; Arizona State offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Mike Norvell; and Dave Christensen, who was fired Sunday as Wyoming's head coach.

Last week, Pease cited injuries as part of the Gators' problems. They lost starting quarterback Jeff Driskel to a broken leg in the third game, and starting running back Matt Jones and two starting offensive linemen sustained season-ending injuries. Third-team quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg started the final three games.

On Saturday, Muschamp said the Gators had to reevaluate what they are doing schematically, and Foley said changes needed to be made regardless of injuries.

"I don't think it's any secret, and Will will tell you, we've got to fix that side of the ball," Foley said. "I'm not being disrespectful to anybody, but you look at some of the games we've lost, we haven't scored many points. It's his biggest concern."

Under Pease, the Gators scored more than 30 in just seven of 25 games. They didn't score more than 23 offensive points in the final nine games this season and rank No. 111 nationally in scoring offense — tied with Eastern Michigan — and No. 107 in passing.

Despite professed admiration for Pease and Davis after Saturday's 30-point home loss to No. 2 Florida State, players seemed convinced that changes had to be made.

"Whatever they do hopefully is changed for the best," defensive lineman Jon Bullard said. "Give us 21 (points) a game. If (the offense) can do that, then I would put the blame on us if (opponents) score 21 points or over. What we're doing right now (on offense) just ain't working."

Added offensive lineman Max Garcia: "It's just kind of like we need to do something different. We need to make a change."

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