Pease notebook: Players respect Leak

Pease notebook: Players respect Leak

The addition of graduate assistant Chris Leak to the Florida football staff took time to happen. At first, he was helping on the defensive side of the ball as a quality control coach. That changed this summer when Leak was accepted to graduate school and became a graduate assistant, helping Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease with the quarterbacks.

If there's anyone that understands the expectations of playing quarterback at Florida, it's Chris Leak. He could've chosen any school across the country but wanted to play for the Gators, leading the team to a national championship as a senior in 2006.

Leak played one year with the Chicago Bears before making a trip to the Canadian Football league from 2008-2011. He finished his playing career with two years in the Arena Football League before giving up football.

Now he's working hard with the Florida staff, trying to create a role in college football as a coach.

"He's a young guy, he's gonna be good," Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. "Kids have a lot of respect of what he can bring to the knowledge of the game and he's helping us out.

"He's gonna be a good coach. He's found what he wants to do and he's got good ideas and he works hard. The tough thing about when you leave, if you're a professional player and you all of a sudden have to come to college and you're shoved into a room and you've gotta break film down and you're there for long hours, there's a lot of hard work."

With that work comes sacrifice. For Leak, that's spending time away from his family that lives in Orlando. They come up on the weekends to see Leak, but the time away has made him question if he wants to stick with it. It's the difficult parts of beginning in the coaching industry, and Leak is sacrificing to make his mark.

"It's worth it to him because he's doing it, and he's doing a really good job with it," Pease said.

HANDLING A SHOOTOUT: The Florida defense has kept the offense from needing to put up a large number of points. This could be the weekend that changes, as the Gators head to Baton Rouge to take on LSU. The Tigers boast an explosive offense that hasn't been slowed by anyone yet.

The Florida defense could present that challenge, but if it doesn't, the Gators will need to have their best offensive day of the season to keep up. Pease thinks that can happen if they need it to.

"We're capable of scoring whatever we have to," Pease said. "That's what we've got to have the mentality of. Our kids will rise to the occasion. It's not like we can't or shouldn't do it."

That hasn't been the case this year. Outside of the Miami game, the defense has been dominant and allowed the Gators to maintain the ball on offense and not risk turnovers. Last Saturday against Arkansas, the Gators felt like the game was well in hand and that the Razorbacks couldn't get back in the game with the level of play from the Florida defense.

"Sometimes we control the ball," Pease said. "Sometimes we get to the point of, we're going to grind the ball and be very conservative -- we've got the game in hand. Let's face the fact. We're capable of it. Guys are going to make plays. You get more guys like Solomon Patton making plays like he did outside of the range, making huge explosive plays for touchdowns."

RUN GAME QUESTIONS: The Florida running game hasn't produced as much recently, but Pease remains optimistic it's on the right track. The running game was productive and put up big numbers against Kentucky. It was down against Arkansas, but Pease credited that to the play of the Arkansas defensive line, which Will Muschamp called the best Florida has seen so far this year.

"I probably did a few things keeping the ball inside too much, because we didn't think we could get outside on them the way they were playing us," Pease said of the Arkansas game. "Arkansas did a good job of keeping us contained and once you get the guys boxed in, it's tough sometimes in the schemes."

The running game continues to be led by Mack Brown and Matt Jones, but Kelvin Taylor is the third running back on the roster. There's no decision yet on whether or not he'll redshirt this season.

"We'll discuss that," Pease said. "I don't know. You'll have to ask the head coach."

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