Florida RB Mike Gillislee
Ever since Tim Tebow left Gainesville in 2009, the Florida offense has left a lot to be desired.
In Urban Meyer's last season as head coach in 2010, the Gators finished 10th in the SEC in total offense with an average of 351.2 yards per game.
With Charlie Weis calling the shots in the first season of the Will Muschamp regime, the Gators again finished 10th in the SEC, but regressed to a 328.7 yards-per-game average.
That won't cut it anywhere, and particularly in a place like Florida—where high-powered offenses are expected.
Brent Pease was brought in from Boise State to fix the offense, and he has made one thing abundantly clear since taking the job: He wants to run between the tackles.
Pease told the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun on Wednesday that he is impressed with the depth the Gators have amassed at running back, and he restated one of his primary goals as Florida's offensive coordinator:
“Last year, it was more stretch the boundary," Pease said. "We're going to be downhill in the run game.”
This comes after Pease stressed the importance of running between the tackles at Florida's pro day this spring.
That has to be music to Gators fans' ears.
Mike Gillislee figures to be the guy to get the lion's share of the carries early on. He exited spring practice as the leader in the clubhouse, and he famously boasted at SEC Media Days that he wants to rush for 1,500 yards and score 24 touchdowns in 2012.
Where will Florida finish in the SEC in rushing offense in 2012?
That's a lofty and perhaps unattainable goal. But Pease has been impressed with Gillislee so far during fall camp.
“He's a good running back,” Pease said. “He's got good hands, he's smart, he understands recognition in protection, which makes him a well-rounded player. He runs physical, yet he's got great vision and balance for more zone schemes."
Pease is a smart, experienced coach. He's saying all of the right things in Gainesville, and if his running backs can follow through, the Gator program will be back contending for SEC titles sooner rather than later.