Heading into Florida football’s season finale versus rival Florida State, many questions loom over the program’s future, none of which involve bowl game scenarios for the first time since 1990.
After a 26-20 loss to Division I-FCS opponent Georgia Southern, bowl aspirations for the Gators were erased, and the coaching staff seems to have lost most support from the fan base. Offensive coordinator Brent Pease seemed less than optimistic at a Tuesday press conference, addressing last week’s shocker, the upcoming game against Florida State, and his own future as a member of the football staff.
Prior to kickoff against FSU, Pease said he wants to stay with Florida, but cannot guarantee his future.
“I would hope so,” Pease said when asked if he will remain offensive coordinator for one more year. “But, I’ll direct that at a later time, after this game.”
The offense has struggled all season, averaging only 19.9 points per game this season, ranking a lowly 112th in the nation. However, Pease does not think the blame should be saddled on solely one person or unit.
“The thing you never want to do is get into a finger pointing situation, and I don’t look into it that way,” Pease said. “I still always look at it as ‘we’re a staff, we’re a team, that’s how it is. If it’s coming my way, then it’s coming my way. Sometimes you’ve got to take the blows.”
Florida’s offense faces a strong defense Saturday, one often overshadowed by the Seminoles high powered offense. FSU sits second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing merely 11.4 points per game. Leading tacklers Telvin Smith and Lamarcus Joyner anchor the steady group that has held opponents to under 20 points in every game save for September’s 48-34 victory over Boston College, a tough task for the Florida offense to take up.
“They’ve got experience and they’ve got great speed.,” Pease said. “Those kids play fast and they mix up enough coverages to cause confusion. One thing you always want to do with the quarterback is put them in a position where they’re guessing a lot, so they’ve done that. Their team is built around speed.”
One of the few bright spots for the Gators offense has been the recent performance of running back Kelvin Taylor. Taylor led the team in rushing for the fifth straight week, moving forward for 92 yards on 22 attempts against Georgia Southern.
Tyler Murphy is listed as questionable, but Skyler Mornhinweg will likely assume the role of starter for the third time on Saturday. The redshirt freshman is 24 for 38 with 229 yards and two touchdowns so far this year.
To hear audio for this story, click below.