Pease used nature walk to calm Murphy

Pease used nature walk to calm Murphy

Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease understood the situation. He was dealing with a quarterback preparing for his first career start and wanted a way to clear Tyler Murphy's mind. He didn't want the junior quarterback dwelling on his preparation before the night game at Kentucky, so he came up with a creative plan to keep Murphy's mind from being only on football.

It started with a text message.

"Nature walk. 1:30. Don't be late."

The Florida quarterbacks were given a warning on Friday night at the team hotel in Lexington -- they should be prepared for something a little different on Saturday. So when Brent Pease sent the text message out to his quarterbacks shortly after the team's 9 a.m. wakeup on Saturday, Tyler Murphy didn't have trouble understanding it.

He met Pease and the other quarterbacks in the lobby of the team hotel before heading out to talk around a local golf course. The Florida offensive coordinator, who was born and raised in Idaho, has an extensive knowledge of the outdoors.

While walking around Lexington for the 15-30 minute trip, Pease pointed out some of the local trees and bushes.

When asked for something specific that he learned, Murphy drew a blank before saying that Pease talked to the group about oak trees, saw grass and other trees they saw in the area. But he couldn't draw back to a specific piece of information he learned. Pease brushed that off, saying he must've just been caught in the moment.

"He also learned that you don't venture too far out when you're doing it on a golf course because the guys sometimes don't holler ‘Fore.' We almost got hit by golf balls, and then I said, ‘bad idea we need to get off of here,'" Pease joked.

It was the first time Pease has used the nature walk technique since he took the job at Florida before the 2012 season, but it wasn't the first time he has ever done it with his players. He did it at Boise State before some of their big games, walking some of his players through the local trees of the area they played in that weekend.

But he won't do one in Gainesville. The nature walks are reserved for road games only, and even then, Pease only brings them out for unique scenarios.

"You just go out, you see different parts," Pease said. "You talk about things. Some kids are smart. You never realize that a kid from Florida understands that the bark on a Birch tree sheds. A kid from Connecticut did not know that. He did not know there are pine needles that fall off Pine trees. He didn't realize that."

"I'm from the northwest. I like the outdoors."

The Florida offensive players that weren't allowed on the nature walk didn't have as many positive things to say about the trip, even if it came in a joking manner.

"I heard it was a pretty boring trip. I heard it wasn't good," Florida running back Matt Jones said with a laugh.

Pease laughed off the comments by Jones.

"How does he know? He wasn't there," Pease said with a smile. "If you just listen to all the knowledge you can gain from something out there, it's not about boring, it's about how much you learned that you didn't know. It's kind of like watching "Duck Dynasty." There's a lot of can learn by watching "Duck Dynasty" that you didn't know."

The goal of the trip was to calm Murphy before making his first career start, and according to the junior, it worked. He watched some of the South Carolina at UCF game before the walk and listened to music after it to calm his mind.

As crazy as it might sound on the outside, the nature walk took his mind off what needed to happen against Kentucky that night.

"You get anxious," Murphy said. "I was kind of anxious last week. I was kind of hoping for an earlier game. You have to relax in your room, and just keep preparing, go over things, maybe watched some other games. Coach Pease took us on a little nature walk and it was kind of cool. It cleared my head.

"It took my mind off the game for a little bit. I was able to laugh and have a good time with my teammates. Any time you can have time like that with your teammates, it's good."

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