Muschamp interviews Roper for Florida OC job

Updated at 4:15 p.m.

Head coach Will Muschamp on Monday interviewed Duke Blue Devils offensive coordinator Kurt Roper for the same position on the Florida Gators staff, according to CoachingSearch.com, and was still in the process of doing so as of press time.

According to the travel history of the University Athletic Association’s private jet, Muschamp or Florida representatives flew into Raleigh, NC, Monday morning around 6 a.m. but left a half hour later, arriving back in Gainesville, FL at 8 a.m. with Roper as a passenger. The same flight departed from Gainesville in the afternoon and has already set down back in Raleigh.

One of five finalists for the 2013 Broyles Award (which is handed out to the best assistant coach in college football), Roper is in his fifth season at Duke and also serves as the program’s assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach. His unit has finished top-70 nationally each of the last two seasons in both scoring and total offense.


Roper has been a highly-regarded assistant throughout his career, which includes plenty of experience in the Southeastern Conference. He started off by serving as a graduate assistant at Tennessee (1996-98) before moving on to Ole Miss and working under David Cutcliffe as a quarterbacks coach (1999-01) and passing game coordinator (2002-04). In the latter role, Roper helped direct Eli Manning to a 2003 SEC Player of the Year Award; he would eventually become the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Muschamp and Roper went head-to-head on the gridiron from 2002-04 with the former LSU defensive coordinator finishing 3-0 in their battles. Ole Miss fell 14-13 in 2002, 17-14 in 2003 and 27-24 in 2004. According to Pete Roussel of CoachingSearch.com, Roper was also the Rebels’ play caller when they put together a 35-24 win over the Tigers in 2001 when Muschamp served as LSU’s linebackers coach.

When Cutcliffe was fired, Roper moved on and coached quarterbacks under head coach Rich Brooks (and offensive coordinator Joker Phillips) at Kentucky in 2005. He then spent two years working as a running backs coach at Tennessee before taking his current position back at Duke, both with Cutcliffe as his boss.

In his first two seasons with the Blue Devils, Roper helped turn QB Thad Lewis into a two-time All-ACC selection who finished his career as the school’s all-time leading passer, setting more than 50 program records.

As Duke began improving the talent on its roster, the team’s offensive production spiked. In 2012, the Blue Devils set single-season records for total points and points per game, numbers Duke eclipsed in 2013 with a total of 411 points (31.6 per game).

The Gators are replacing offensive coordinator Brent Pease, whose units at Florida finished 103rd and 113th in total offense over each of the last two seasons, respectively.

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53 Responses to “Muschamp interviews Roper for Florida OC job”

  1. Champ supporter says:

    Adam, would you like this hire?

    • I don’t like or dislike hires. But Florida could do much worse (Applewhite).

      • Champ supporter says:

        Well I know we’ve had injuries, but I don’t know if anything can be worse than the collection of “offensive” displays we have seen the last three years with Weis and Pease. Thanks for your work Adam and thanks for responding to questions. I really appreciate it. I live in Biloxi, MS and I am surrounded by Roll Tide, Geaux Tigers, Dawgs, Rebels and now all of a sudden War Eagles!!! I really enjoy only gators!

  2. Swampy says:

    Eli. Arian. Thad. 1000yrd receivers. And producing consistent results in a bigger conference while usually having to coach with a large talent gap… Not a bad resume and also seems like a balanced type spead/uptempo system

  3. gary says:

    Last offensive mind we got from Duke worked out pretty effin well…

  4. WJP2 says:

    I really don’t think it’s the OC’s fault for our O. I think Boom has imposed his will of what he wants on them. Unless he give them more control it’s going be the same O. But let’s not even think about Applewhite. Go Gators.

    • Oldfyer says:

      On what basis do you make the statement that Muschamp, a rookie head coach, imposed his will on Charlie Weiss? Or Brent Pease for that matter?

      As far as I can tell, someone created that little fantasy on the internet, and it became gospel.

      On the other hand neither of the two have ever suggested such a thing to justify their own miserable offenses. Human nature would seem to lean toward doing that if it were possible.

  5. verogator says:

    top 70 in offense? with muschamps guidance, he could be top 100. got to have goals people.

  6. Will W says:

    Mr Roper? He was great on Three’s Company.

  7. SWFL Joe says:

    So we are now officially on to the B list candidates. Nice to know when UF comes calling everybody gets a promotion/raise and we get the shaft. I remember the days when guys lined up to be on the UF coaching staff now we have to beg them just to talk to us. No offense to Mr Roper but the thought of a top 70 offense just doesn’t make me feel all tingly inside. Are we so hard up that Kiffin and Applewhite have now become viable options? I know nobody wants to take their cousin to the prom but how many more kicks to the nads do we have to take before we just say eff it and go with Joker or White?

    • Oldfyer says:

      Roper is a solid coach with an excellent background, and a good record at various venues.

      Why denigrate him? What do you know about him, that bothers you; other than he comes most recently from Duke? Duke, where he has helped turn a chronically weak program into a respectable one. Where did you find the A list; the B list? I don’t think anyone beyond Foley and Muschamp knows who is on any list.

      The fact is that this is the very first name we have seen reported as being interviewed; and we do not know at what stage this is at.

      I would be as pleased with him as with most of the names that have been batted about.

      • g8ter27 says:

        Agreed. He won at Duke…….Duke.

      • SWFL Joe says:

        I never denigrated him or Duke. All I said was that an offense ranked 70th really doesn’t excite me. Granted compared to what we have had for the last 4 years it would be an improvement. Roper’s resume is solid but he is far from the Home Run hire everybody was hoping for. We have 2 past OC’s currently on staff that their resumes are just as impressive as Roper’s. My post was lamenting how far our program has fallen that we are now down to begging OC’s to come here or are looking at hiring others teams scraps (Kiffin and/or Applewhite). As far as him being on the B list, I stand by my comment. Pease was fired 22 days ago, to think that Roper was one of the first guy Muschamp contacted is asinine.

    • MarcusinATL says:

      Yes. Duke. we all know how the LAST hire from Duke turned out right?

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I am also confused about why Appelwhite, or Kiffin are even being tossed about. Has WM brought the program down that far? is a 70 rk offense acceptable? Seems someone named Spurrier had a top 20 offense at this “lowly no talent” program at duke and was able to succeed….

  8. Nugent1021 says:

    Cutcliff is the proven coach here. I dont think you can give roper credit for eli. Cutcliff proved himself when he left fulmer, fulmer sucked, then he came back and fulmer wasn’t bad again. I fear this is another pease hire, someone that works for an offensive coach and wasn’t responsible for anything themself. I hope I’m wrong.

    • Roper was Eli’s QB coach and the offensive coordinator during his whole college career.

      • nugent1021 says:

        Sorry, I wasn’t questioning the validity of Roper being there during Eli’s Ole Miss time frame, I’m just clarifying that the credit for Eli’s actual success shouldn’t be necessarily to Roper. Cutcliff is a very good OC and Eli was already very talented. Roper seems similar (i.e. coattail bandit) to Pease. Also, OleMiss was 7-6 in 2002 (Eli), 10-3 in 2003 (Eli), and 4-7 in 2004 (no Eli) with him as coordinator.

        Again, though, time will tell and I hope I’m wrong if this ends up being Muschamp’s choice. I’d think, if you want someone directly responsible for what has been produced, that Kerwin Bell (albeit Bell’s in a much lower conference) would be a better choice. I mean, if you’re just going to throw the dice like you would be with Roper…. Bell’s directly responsible for the offense he’s produced – a direct line without all the cloudiness Roper (and Pease) have as far as what they’ve contributed. IMO.

        • Then Mullen had nothing to do with Tebow’s success either.

          • nugent1021 says:

            I see the similarities in their backgrounds, but it’s still a crapshoot which way he turns out – Mullen or Pease. …

            I’m not sure Mullen has to = Roper, unless by your logic Cutcliff = Meyer. Meyer’s been a winner everywhere he’s gone, Cutcliff has not. I think Cutcliff is a good offensive coordinator, but I wouldn’t put him on the same level as Meyer. Maybe this guy Roper deserves a shot though.

            Thanks for the info and keeping us up to date.

            • You’re the one linking Manning’s success to Cutcliffe and indicating you believe Roper had nothing to do with it. I’m just saying that’s as ridiculous as believing Mullen had nothing to do with Tebow’s success. Both were the position coach and play caller for the respective player. I really do not plan to continue this portion of the conversation past this reply.

            • Ken (CA) says:

              nugent, it is cutcliffe, not cutcliff, it is hard to try and read comments seriously when they are misspelled over and over. I am not the grammar plice except to help out Adam editing now and then on things that are so obviously needed changing, but hard to read the same thing wrong over and over….

        • Oldfyer says:

          Oh my, Kerwin Bell. Who could have guessed?

        • uf_84 says:

          Nugent1021, I agree completely. Bell should have been hired weeks ago. Probably doesn’t matter. I hope I’m wrong but I doubt that whoever gets the job will still be here after next year anyway.

  9. G2 says:

    Top 70, thats still better than us? Think you have to look at the academic scenario, maybe thats all you could expect at Duke.
    May be our only option at this point. Do not want to hire from within.

  10. Sam Andreu says:

    31.6 PPG WOULD BE AN IMPROVEMENT! The defense is good enough to win 10 ballgames if we can do that. Still a push to win the sec east. Btw, thoroughly enjoyed the previous comment.

    • Ziggy says:

      Not trying to be negative, but 31.6 points per game in the All Cissy Conference = 14 points per game in the SEC. If memory serves, Duke didn’t exactly light it up against Free Shoes U this year.

      • Duke players not Florida players.

        • Ziggy says:

          I would submit that Duke has as good of players on offense as UF does right now. I think Muschamp is improving that and it will hopefully translate next year.

          • Absolutely not. They may have played better than Florida’s did but by pure talent and ceiling, no comparison.

            • Ziggy says:

              I think we’re talking apples and oranges. I agree UF has a lot of talent, but the upper (contributing) class is better suited for a spread option, not pro-style or any other offense that desires to throw the ball. I think the next OC will do better by virtue of the skill set of new recruits finally beginning to contribute. IMO, we have a bunch of talented players that just don’t compliment each other very well.

  11. Lou says:

    Is there some sense to the thinking that Boom should look at OCs that will help Driskel achieve his potential? Does anyone know whether Roper’s (or Duke’s) offense would be one that suits Jeff’s skillset? Go Gators! (all kinds of weather…)

  12. aziatic41 says:

    I think Roper will do a good job with Driskel if he can employ a more spread and wide open offense. Driskel’s skill set is more suited for a spread offense, were his reads are simplified. Driskel also would be a bonus running threat out of a spread offense.

    But I personally think Dave Christensen will be the better hire for our immediate needs. We need instant offense!

  13. Dave says:

    Here’s part of a comment by Pete Roussel at Coach Search: “There are only a handful of coaches in college football, Roper being one, that have called plays and defeated the likes of Alabama, LSU, and South Carolina.”
    This is very encouraging as relates to Roper’s background and skill set, etc.

  14. Rob says:

    Very tired of the bashing of our Coach and the status of the program. If one can succeed at Duke with a background in the SEC including working with Joker, I am excited about the potential hire. Most derogatory posters were probably thrilled with Weiss and Pease. Eli did what his brother could not do…

    • Oldfyer says:

      Well said Rob.

      Clearly, Cutcliff thinks highly of Roper since he took him to three different destinations. I think Cutcliff is a very sound coach, and I will defer to his judgement when choosing assistants.

      Now, my only question is; is he hired or not?

    • Ken (CA) says:

      I don’t know about derogatory, but questioning should this be the decision rather than just an interivew, but, just not convinced. I was one of the biggest head scratchers on the Weis hire, although I was applauding the Pease hire. I still am not sure why that went bad if was head coach handcuffing or Pease just not that good, he has seemed to do well everywhere else.

      Remember this was just an interview and we don’t even know if first chioce, still bowl season, he talked to lots of people before previous hires as well. I wouldn’t make any assumptions at this point.

      • Jacob says:

        Pease’s seasons as an offensive coordinator since 2003: 110th, 103rd, 92nd, 9th, 105th, and currently 110th. The one season of success was under Boise State and Chris Petersen, in a system of Petersen’s design which he had inherited. He’s shown nothing on his own.

        I’ll be honest though, I was happy with Pease initially as well, hoping he’d bring some Boise style excitement to the Gators, unfortunately landed with the exact opposite… though as you said Boom may have had him handcuffed.

        Roper has a stronger track record than Pease, and as the article mentioned is a candidate for best assistant in the country. Last year having had two thousand yard receivers is spectacular, and the QBs he’s coached (Renfree, Lewis) have all been solid, so I’m completely on board.

  15. Ken (CA) says:

    well, I guess going from 110 to 70 is an improvement, but really? This doesn’t sound like a speed up or a major philosophy change. Maybe can improve QB play, but still needs a line and receivers. This doesn’t sound like a slam-dunk type change if he is the prime choice. Interesting how he wasn’t eevn in Adam’s top 10 list a few days ago. WM goes on the edge again. It could be the most brilliant thing in the world, or it could be just another WM ego stubbourness thing. I gave him willing of the doubt when he fired and made his comments about switching things up and maybe changing philosophy, but I really don’t see how this guy is a game changer.

    • Roper was on my original “Replacing Brent Pease” post, published 12/1, and never left it.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        haha adam, sneaking in behind my posts, you are up late tonight! I am sure you are right remembering your posts better than I do, his resume must just not have resounded with me, but now I kind of remember him, and you saying his brother or something was also at duke so was a long shot. And if nothing comes up in next couple of days, Merry Christmas to you and great work for yet another year!

  16. Mike S. says:

    Pretty sure every Gator wants Muschamp to be successful. I know I do. But many of us are highly skeptical at this point. I know I am. You are what your record says you are and Muschamp is a .500 coach. Not good enough at UF. PERIOD.

    Will any offensive coordinator matter that much? Roper, Mazzone, Bell – whoever? We can hope I guess. Mostly what I hope is that when the Muschamp era is mercifully over, James Franklin is available to coach our team. I have personally had enough of head coaches that were defensive coordinators prior to becoming HBC at UF.

  17. Jody S. says:

    We got beat by Georgia effing Southern! The whole damn staff AND team should be fired.

  18. WJP2 says:

    Happy Holidays. Think Coach is a good coach just need to let the OC control the Offense.

  19. AJ says:

    Aim higher!

    For all I know this guy could be a great offensive mind but to be the first guy interviewed seems like a stretch. And please stop making references to Spurrier just because he came from Duke too. It’s disrespectful.

  20. uf_84 says:

    Dear Santa,

    For Christmas this year please bring Gator Nation a brilliant offensive coordinator, an epic recruiting class, an NCAA mens hoops championship, and a return to high scoring kick ass Gator football next season.

    Merry Christmas fellow Gator fans and OGGOA posters. Especially to you Adam. Thanks for this site and for all of the hard work you do to make it one of the best Gator sites on the internet.

  21. MuschampMustGo says:

    Does Roper know what he is getting into with the Muschamp mess? Three Off. Coordinators in Four seasons. Muschamp will go down as the worst head coach in UF history, so unless Roper thinks he can snag the Head Coaching job after Foley and Muschamp are fired next season, I certainly don’t see any upside or reason for him to make this move. Foley and Mushcamp must have put one heck of a snow job on Roper to convince him to come to UF.

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