GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease seems resigned to his fate.
Pease wants to return in 2014 and believes he has earned the right to help turn things around in Gainesville. But he also realizes the Gators (4-7) have failed miserably this season. They have a six-game losing streak and have secured the program's first losing season since 1979.
And Pease and his offense are getting the brunt of the blame.
"I understand things," Pease said Wednesday. "I know you've got to win and have success. If it's not meant to be ... I came into this with friends and I'm walking out of it with friends."
Pease said coach Will Muschamp has given him no indication about his status for the next season. Pease has two years remaining on a four-year contract now worth $590,000 annually. He was given a $100,000 raise and a one-year extension after Florida finished 11-2 last season.
The offense, though, regressed in 2013. It's made few, if any, strides since Tim Tebow's final season in 2009.
The Gators ranked 82nd in total offense in 2010, 105th in 2011, 103rd in 2012 and 111th this season. So it can't be all Pease's fault, right?
Steve Addazio was Florida's offensive coordinator in 2010, and Charlie Weis took over the following year. Neither of them seemed to get the most out of Florida's talent, either.
Pease's two-year stint has been filled with pitfalls.
He had a first-year starting quarterback (Jeff Driskel) in 2012 playing alongside a mediocre offensive line and average receivers. The unit was supposed to be significantly improved in Pease's second year. But Driskel broke his right leg in the third game of the season and has missed the rest of the year.
The Gators also lost right tackle Chaz Green (labrum) and receiver Andre Debose (knee) before the season and played significant chunks without running back Matt Jones (knee) and left tackle D.J. Humphries (knee). Making matters worse, backup quarterback Tyler Murphy also has been sidelined with a sprained throwing shoulder.
Third-stringer Skyler Mornhinweg is expected to start his third consecutive game Saturday against No. 2 Florida State (11-0).
Regardless of the injury woes, few people anticipated last week's 26-20 loss to lower-division Georgia Southern. The Gators were beaten soundly on both lines of scrimmage, giving up 429 yards rushing and several big plays in key situations.
But Muschamp singled out the offense afterward, saying the unit's continued struggles have become "infectious" for the entire team.
Florida ranks last in the Southeastern Conference in scoring offense (19.9 points) and total offense (327.9 yards). Barring a breakout game against the Seminoles, that would be the lowest scoring average since 1979 and the fewest yards a game since 1988.
And fingers are pointed at Pease.
Asked whether he feels like his dismissal would make him a scapegoat for the team's season, Pease said, "That's a tough question to answer."
"I mean, right now I'd say no," he added. "You can always address that question later."
Maybe next week.
With Florida missing a bowl game for the first time since 1990, Muschamp will have plenty of time to evaluate his staff and make changes long before the final recruiting push.
Just about everyone, including Pease, sees the writing on the wall.
"If it's coming my way, then it's coming my way," Pease said. "That's something you've just got to kind of take the blows."
Maybe the better question is whether Muschamp will change his offensive philosophy, moving away from the run-heavy, ball-control scheme that usually yields tight games and has little margin for error.
"We need to be more productive on the offensive side of the ball," Muschamp said. "I think that's something we obviously need to look at, that we need to be able to evaluate. ... There's been some obvious things that have been very difficult for us to deal with as far as where we're headed with things. That's something I'll evaluate and deal with."
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