HOOVER, Ala. — To Florida running back Mike Gillislee, last year’s offensive coordinator didn’t have a first or last name. It all ran together as “Coachchar-la-weis.”
“Coachchar-la-weis, he was fun to be around, I miss that about him,” said Gillislee, the Gators’ top rusher last season with 920 yards.
Was he different than any of Gillislee’s other coaches?
“Maybe showed some favoritism, with the starters,” said Gillislee, who wouldn’t be more specific. “I liked Coachchar-la-weis, nothing but good things.”
Perhaps Weis, now Kansas’ head coach, was doing anything he could to jump start an offense that went in the tank after senior quarterback John Brantley injured his ankle in the fifth game against Alabama. He missed the next two games and was limited the rest of the season.
“If John Brantley stays healthy, we’re going to have a chance,” said Gators head coach Will Muschamp. “Confidence is so key. When John went down that handcuffed us a little bit.”
As it would be for Kansas if the Jayhawks suffered an injury at quarterback. The offense belongs to Notre Dame transfer Dayne Crist, but there’s not another player in the program eligible this season who has taken a Division I snap.
Last year, Florida was forced to go with freshman Jacoby Brissett, a true freshman. He finished up against Alabama in his first extended playing time and played at LSU in his first start.
After spending three seasons as Texas’ defensive coordinator and being named the coach-in-waiting to succeed Mack Brown, Muschamp jumped at the chance to succeed Urban Meyer at Florida. He pulled off the surprising hire of Weis from the Chiefs.
The Gators finished 7-6 overall, the most losses since 1987 but beat Ohio State in the Gator Bowl. The offense has been turned over to coordinator Brent Pease, who was Boise State’s offensive coordinator last year.
The offensive numbers ranked in the bottom half of the SEC, 25.5 points and 328.7 yards per game. They were similar to Kansas’ 2011 figures (22.3 points and 326.8 yards) with a major difference: The Gators played in a ferocious defensive league, and the Jayhawks’ opponents are most offensive minded.