Mark McLeod, ESPN Radio
Did the resignation of Aubrey Hill put Florida in a desperate situation? The consensus among some of the Gators rivals after Hill’s resignation is that the Florida offense is the equivalent of the Titanic with George A. Custer at the helm on Friday the 13th. They thought that before Hill resigned too.
Obviously, it doesn’t matter what they’re saying, but it provides some humor for the day and further insight into just how far off the radar they have fallen. I definitely got the feeling at SEC Media Days and Florida Media Day that the Gators are enjoying being an underdog. They want the opportunity to sneak up on some people. And in a matter of days, we’ll see if they can do so.
The only real fallout has been St. Petersburg Lakewood wide receiver Rodney Adams, who told GatorNation that will reopen his commitment. Adams is going to take a wait and see on who Muschamp hires to coach the wide receivers. I wish these kids would commit to schools rather than coaches, but that’s just me.
Brent Pease looks over a Florida practice/ UF Sports Information
It’s good that it happened before practice began. Players will be caught up in practice, meetings, and camp that they won’t be consumed by it. You won’t see much of it in the news, either. The biggest question is do you think offensive coordinator Brent Pease has too much on his table. I’m sure some are still stinging about 2010 when then offensive coordinator Steve Addazio ran the offense and coaches the offensive line. I’ve heard that comparison.
This is a very different situation. I think Florida will be just fine with this turn of events.
There are a couple of reasons. First of all, you simply don’t rise to Florida’s stature in the world of college athletics without being prepared and you can bet Athletic Director Jeremy Foley and Will Muschamp had an audible called for this potential outcome. There have been a lot of rumors coming out of Coral Gables regarding Hill’s involvement in the University of Miami scandal, but for now they are just rumors. The timing of Hill’s resignation with the NCAA still combing through the Hurricanes program is let’s just say- curious.
Secondly, the Brent Pease hire and fact that Bush Hamdan, a former player familiar with the offense, makes for as ideal a scenario as one could expect given the start of practice. Pease has extensive experience working with wide receivers and I like the fact that he is even more involved with the group.
Latroy Pittman works during Friday's practice/UF Sports Information
After Pease was hired, I sought out Nate Kuester of the National Football Authority, who covered the Boise State program and was well versed on Pease. I asked him to share some examples of Pease as a coach/coordinator and he brought up former Broncos wide receiver Titus Young.
“Brent Pease, overall, knows how to work with the tools that he’s got,” Kuester said. “If you look at what Boise State did, he’s been either the wide receivers coach at Boise State or most recently, the offensive coordinator. You look at some of the wide receivers that have come through- Titus Young is a guy that has made a name for himself with the Detroit Lions and that was definitely a big project for Pease, because Titus Young, initially in his early days at Boise State was kind of on the outs with the coaching staff and Pease helped develop him into the player that he is today.”
Florida has struggled to get production from their receiving corps. I’ll bet you can think of a few veteran receivers who need to step up and force the staff to push their names to the top of the depth chart. And it wasn’t that hard was it?
Kuester indicated that Pease is a hands-on coach, who works to get whatever he can out of a player. Where some coaches have a shorter leash- Pease seemingly works to try and find out what inspires that athlete. Perhaps, Pease and/or Hamdan will find the hot button that helps to launch a career.
Frankie Hammond goes up for a ball on Friday/ UF Sports Information
Muschamp was quick in tonight’s press conference to give Hamdan an endorsement.
“Bush has a great background with the offense, so I feel very comfortable with that situation,” Muschamp said. “I’m not at all worried. I never blinked. We were going to be fine. I knew what we were going to have to do. He will be the receivers coach this fall. He will be the position coach in the fall. And I have all the confidence in the world that he will do an outstanding job at Florida.”
Hamdan was the tight ends coach at Sacramento State before coming to Florida in January. He was a back-up quarterback at Boise State (2005-2008) and was received the 2008 Bronco Excellence Award as a senior. And he will serve under Pease, where familiarity can’t be highlighted enough.
A couple other notes on Brent Pease…
The Red Zone is definitely an area where the Gators have struggled the past two seasons.
“Boise State in four of the last five years has had one of the top five scoring offenses in the country and Brent Pease has been a big part of that and for a team that is looking to get more active in the red zone like Florida, you’re going to like what Brent Pease brings to the table,” Kuester stated.
Pease sure seems well-suited to come into Florida at this time. The Gators have a veteran offensive line and a few big backs that run downhill.
“When Brent Pease was named as the offensive coordinator, you saw a few different wrinkles and what’s so great about Brent Pease, as I mentioned before, is that he is so good at using the tools that he has available. If you look at how much Boise State ran the ball and how effective they were this year compared to year’s past that run game was much more effective this year. He did have say in how things were used.”
I just don’t see Hill’s resignation at this time as being a pre-season tragedy that we’ll be pointing to as a major issue come December. Pease and Hamdan will do the job and Florida will be just fine.
Mark McLeod is co-host of “The Mark McLeod and Tim Casey Show” and covers Gators football, recruiting, and baseball for ESPN Radio (Gainesville/Ocala). Mark is a member of the Football Writers Association of America. He’s been covering recruiting since the ‘90’s and Florida baseball since 2005. You can follow him on Twitter at @McLeodLive. E-mail Mark at