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).
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.”