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Gators Quick in Picking up Pease’s Offense, Retaining Knowledge from Spring Practice

By   /   August 7, 2012  /   Comments Off

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The only glimpse we’ve seen of what the Gators will be like on offense under first-year coordinator Brent Pease came in the Orange & Blue Debut in April.

Of course, that was nothing more than a scaled-down appetizer.

Gators coach Will Muschamp offered a little more insight into how Pease’s offense might be different than what Florida used a year ago with Charlie Weis calling the plays.

Think lots of motion and shifts and “variations of formation” according to Muschamp.

“From an imagination standpoint, those would be the things that I would see that are going to be drastically different,’’ Muschamp said.

Pease’s offense at Boise State excelled at creating confusion for the defense at the line of scrimmage in trying to adjust to all the movement. The Gators will try to do the same. Muschamp said to expect about a 50/50 ratio of under center to shotgun formation, about the same ratio the Gators used last year before quarterback John Brantley went down with an ankle injury.

Muschamp doesn’t know all the answers after the first three days of practice, but he sounded confident in at least one on Monday afternoon.

The Gators worked hard to learn Brent Pease’s offense and also have a deeper understanding of the defensive system implemented by Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a year ago.

“I do want to compliment our players on the retention from spring,’’ Muschamp said. “It was very evident in our first three days on both sides of the ball, which credits our players with the job they did this summer. We are far ahead, after three practices mind you, where we thought we would be at this point on both sides of the ball.

“That’s a great credit to our players and the buy-in they had during the summer. We are further ahead mentally than I certainly thought we would be at this point.”

JONES HITS GROUND RUNNING

Muschamp reiterated once again Monday that senior Mike Gillislee has created some separation at tailback. He is confident Gillislee can be Florida’s featured back but is looking for others to help him out.

One of those players could be true freshman Matt Jones, a 6-3, 213-pound-and-growing running back out of Armwood High in Tampa.

“I think Matt is going to help us this year,’’ Muschamp said. “How much is going to depend on how the rest of training camp goes, so let’s don’t jump off the ledge here. But he is a mature young man. He is very driven, very intelligent. He runs the ball hard based on what I saw [Sunday] night.”

QUOTE OF NOTE

“There is absolutely zero evidence to support that you can’t win a championship and be a penalized football team. It’s discipline penalties that are the issue. When you are jumping offsides – that’s a problem.”

That was Muschamp on whether you can win yet have a team that gets penalized regularly. The Gators were SEC’s most-penalized team (59.5 yards per game) in 2011 and the coaching staff seeks improvement, especially in the type of penalties the Gators commit.

Muschamp knows the subject matter. The two most penalized Florida teams in history – 1996 (125 penalties for 91.3 yards per game) and 2006 (116 flags for 63.4 yards per game) — won national titles.

SO FAR, SO GOOD

Cornerback Marcus Roberson and linebacker Neiron Ball are both coming back from the kind of career-threatening injuries that can affect a player mentally once the physical healing is complete.

Roberson suffered a neck injury that ended his freshman season early and Ball missed all of last season after being diagnosed with a congenital vascular condition in his brain that required radiation treatment.

Both players had a good first weekend being back on the field.

“Both of those guys, it don’t seem like it slowed them down,’’ Muschamp said. “They were both playing very fast and very physical.”

EXTRA POINTS

Freshman WR Latroy Pittman and junior-college transfer DT Damien Jacobs were among the newcomers to work with the veterans over the first weekend of split-squad practices. “A lot of it had to do by position,’’ Muschamp said. “We did some things for different reasons to get some guys some different looks in the first two practices.” … Muschamp said team chemistry “is certainly better than it was a year ago. I think a lot of that has to do with the staff’s been here for a year, there is a little more understanding of what to expect. Talk to me after Practice 18 and let’s see how close we all are.” … As Muschamp talked to the media on Monday a Twitter update reported a fight at Jets camp involving up to 20 players. Coincidentally, Muschamp was asked his views on fighting around the same time. “If guys fight I take them out. I don’t know what you gain out of it. You can’t do it in a game. I don’t like it.” … The Gators have their first scrimmage on Saturday … Muschamp said freshman DL Dante Fowler (6-3, 261) “moves pretty good” after watching him in pass rush on Sunday night.

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About the author

Owner / Editor / Writer

Tom Knighton is the publisher of The Albany Journal. In November, 2011, he became the first blogger to take over a newspaper anywhere in the world. In August of 2012, he made the difficult decision to take the Journal out of print circulation and become an online news agency, a first for the Albany area.

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