1/13: Roper ready to reign over Florida offense

Two weeks after officially being announced as the newest Florida Gators offensive coordinator, Kurt Roper met with the media in Gainesville, FL to discuss extensively what it will take to turn around a unit that finished 112th in scoring offense (18.8 points per game) and 113rd in total offense (316.7 yards per game).

THE INTRODUCTION

Before Roper could take the podium, head coach Will Muschamp discussed the process he went through to hire the Gators newest offensive coordinator, the third since he took over the program in 2011.

“After the season was over, obviously needed to make some improvements on the offensive side of the ball. I mean as I looked at it, I think evaluation-wise, we needed to be more tempo, we needed to create more snaps, we needed to create more space plays, continue to stay balanced, be diverse in our background moving forward. I felt like being in the [shot]gun would help some of our personnel and that’s where we’re headed. …

“I took about 12-15 teams, two to three games apiece, and just kind of started looking at people that I felt fit that mold, fit that style. Kept playing through it, formed about four or five candidates that I felt had interest in the job. Kurt Roper’s name kept coming up. I did a lot of research, talked to a lot of people, found out a lot of things looking into his background.

“Did not realize he called the plays at Ole Miss while I was at LSU as defensive coordinator. He did a fantastic job there developing Eli Manning as his quarterback. Moving onto Kentucky with Andre Woodson, did a great job. To Tennessee, then Duke with Thaddeus Lewis and Sean Renfree, two guys playing in the National Football League right now. So the quarterback development part was there, which is critical in that position, what we’re trying to do. Play-caller part [was also there] and then the diverse background.

“Talked to a lot of guys who talked about their system. Well, you kind of go through what we went through this past year, you lose a couple guys in your system and you’re in trouble. So you’ve got to be able to shift gears and change to what fits your personnel, and I think his background speaks for itself as far as being a two-back team at Ole Miss and as he moved forward, now you’re looking at Duke and a lot of the spread principles we need to look at. So I think it’ll mix well with what we’re trying to do here at the University of Florida with our players and the development of our guys.”

A PPG TEAM

The Gators were at the bottom of the barrel last season in both scoring and total offense, but Roper made it a point to explain Monday that he is only concerned about the former – putting as many points on the scoreboard as possible.

“Our whole philosophy on offense is points per game. It’s not yards, it’s not going up and down the field. It’s how many points we can get,” he said. “Hopefully, we’re a PPG team…is what we get down to.”

Roper’s goal, one Muschamp previewed with his own comments, is to get Florida playing with tempo, speed and in space, creating “as many one-on-one tackle opportunities as you can” because those create “positive yards and positive yards keep you on the field.”

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Florida OC Roper talks Cutcliffe, coaching, challenges and expectations with Gators

Hours after officially being announced as the new offensive coordinator of the Florida Gators, Kurt Roper met with the media via a teleconference held by the Duke Blue Devils. He will remain with Duke as offensive coordinator for the 2013 Chick-Fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31 before joining the Florida football program.

FROM THE COACH THAT KNOWS HIM BEST

For all but one of his 17 years as a coach, Roper has worked in some way, shape or form under Blue Devils head coach David Cutcliffe with stops at Tennessee, Ole Miss and now Duke. Cutcliffe on Thursday discussed Roper at length, explaining why he believes he is ready for a top-tier job.

» On Roper’s strengths: “There’s the things that we pride ourselves in: detail and training quarterbacks, the attention to detail of preparing an offensive team to play a game, practice habits. It’s the total package. I think you have a systematic approach, everything is covered. You try to take players offensively – that’s what your job is to be an offensive coordinator – to put them in every circumstance they can possibly be in, in a game, in practice, and build confidence through great execution. Kurt will certainly, that will be one of their great strengths. They will be extremely well-prepared coming out of practice.”

» On Roper’s coaching style: “His style would be intensity, tempo, quality of repetition. From the minute they hit the field, it’s going to be intense. He’s not a…I wouldn’t call him a laid-back football coach by any stretch of the imagination. It’s going to be what we call ‘treat the ground like a hot stove.’ If you hit the ground, you better get up running. By the time they get on the field until they get off, they’re going to be moving and getting a bunch of quality reps. So I would call it very intense.”

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