9/2: Roper, Driskel believe in matured Robinson

By Adam Silverstein
September 2, 2014

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and a couple of his players met with the media on Tuesday to provide some thoughts on the Gators and Florida’s new season-opener against the Eastern Michigan Eagles set for 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.


When sophomore wide receiver Demarcus Robinson was announced as suspended on Saturday, many assumed it was the conclusion of his season-ending suspension from 2013. Head coach Will Muschamp pointed out on Monday that was not the case, noting that Robinson’s suspension was for a completely separate, albeit not announced, university sanction.

That means Robinson, a four-star prospect who was supposed to be a breakthrough player for Muschamp and the Gators’ offense, has been suspended on three separate occasions in one full season and one not-played game during his time at Florida.

While Robinson has seen plenty of the dog house, Roper stated on Tuesday that he’s had no issues whatsoever with Robinson since taking over as UF’s offensive coordinator.

“Demarcus has been great since I’ve been here. I think he’s a guy that is really working hard to improve himself, if that makes sense. That’s not always easy to go through some challenges that he’s been through,” Roper explained.

“I think he’s working trying to be a better personal the time. On the practice field, he gives a lot of effort. He works really hard. He leaves it out on the field. He empties the bucket when we go to the practice field. I appreciate the way he works. Obviously as a coaching staff, we’re here to help him grow.”

Redshirt junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, who was happy to sing Robinson’s praises in the offseason, had his back once again on Tuesday.

“I do honestly think Demarcus is a good guy. Sometimes he’s made poor decisions in the past, but I think he’s matured a lot,” he began.

“He did everything he could to help the team out this past week knowing that he wasn’t going to play. It takes a mature guy to do that and not hang your head. I think he’s going to help us out a lot this year and he’s a guy that we’re going to have to count on.”

Driskel admitted that he has seen a change in Robinson after his freshman campaign but made sure to note that the change has all been for the better thus far.

“It’s just another year of maturing. Coming out of high school, it’s tough. It’s the first time he was on his own. A lot of things thrown his way in a short period of the time. Since the past season, he’s matured a lot, and he’s going to keep continuing to do so.”


For a team that needs to test out a brand new offense and young, unproven secondary, the Gators had every reason to want to play the Idaho Vandals on Saturday.

As the old football saying goes, teams usually make the greatest strides between their first and second games. Roper reiterated just that on Tuesday and used it to explain how missing the contest could potentially cost Florida early in the season.

“Losing that game obviously affects you that way. It also slows you down on learning what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, who you are, who those players are that you can really hang your hat on and those types of things,” he explained.

For a Gators team under Muschamp that prides itself on not making excuses, UF will not be able to use this as one either. Roper believes the only thing Florida can do is look ahead and get ready for Eastern Michigan.

“It obviously really affects you, but you just go on to the next thing. We don’t have any control of it. You just go on and go to work,” he said.

“I think it affected my daughter more than anybody else. She was so upset. She told my wife – obviously it got pretty late and she is six – my wife said at some point she’s got to go home. So, my mother-in-law started to take her and my son home. My daughter said – she had her fingernails painted, toenails painted orange and blue, stickers everywhere – ‘I got all dressed up for this! I’m just so disappointed!'”



“I think they’re a good football team. I think they’re a physical football team. I think they’ve got a nose guard that makes a lot of plays in your backfield and is active. I think they all play hard and they’re active.

“I think their secondary is physical; their corners don’t mind the contact part of the game, their safeties are bigger guys that are physical. They’re a multiple team. They’re going to give us several different looks just like every week you see different looks.

“But they’re a team that, I think, likes the physical part of the game.”


» Roper on the game being canceled: “I’m 42 years old and I’ve been around college football my whole career … and that’s the first [game] that I’ve ever been around that wasn’t played.”

» Roper how the players responded in practice on Monday: “I think we had a good practice [Monday]. I think the guys handled it really well all [Saturday] night. … The biggest thing was refocusing them because we sat so long, bringing their mind back to the game. … When they said, ‘Hey, let’s go,’ there was a lot of energy. I think our guys handled it well.”

» Driskel on which receivers he expects to have big years: “I think that Ahmad Fulwood really knows what he’s doing out there. He’s made some big plays in camp and I can’t wait for him to do that in the season. He has a good understanding of the offense. I think Latroy Pittman is going to have a big year as well. Strong hands, good football player and that’s what you need at the receiver position.”

» Roper on whether redshirt senior WR Quinton Dunbar’s streak of 28 consecutive games with a catch would play into his game plan: “You’re obviously aware of those types of things and you want to be fair to a young man. It’d doesn’t affect game planning or it doesn’t affect thought process, our first goal is to go out there and win. But we would obviously like to help him keep that streak alive. … I think that is a cool thing. I think that’s something hard to do.”

» Roper on whether not playing Saturday was extra frustrating for Driskel: “He’s a real even-keel guy. He handles things really well, and that’s what I like about him he doesn’t ride the wave of emotions like I like to talk about quarterbacks doing. He’s pretty steady. … Jeff’s personality is pretty solid, I like to say.”

» Driskel on whether he was worried about the condition of the field: “It was real wet, that’s for sure. Everybody’s feet were soaked and stuff like that. I wasn’t worried about it. You can’t really think about it when you’re about to play. Looking back on it, it was the right decision, and we were fortunate that we have people that were willing to make that decision or us and look out for our well-being.”

» Junior left tackle D.J. Humphries on bringing back Florida’s “We all we got; we all we need” mantra: “Me and Andre [Debose] were just sitting at the house watching some old Gator highlight films. We just happened to hear it from one of the old Gator highlight films. We decided we’re going to have to steal that one.”


  1. Michael J. says:

    Blah, blah, blah…the same propaganda said by every coach every year. I just hope Robinson actually plays well, the same crap was said last year and, not only was a knucklehead off the field,he sucked on the field as well. It was him who developed T. Rex arms in a crucial time in the game that led to a Tyler Murphy interception. It’s one thing to put up with a knucklehead if he produces on the field, but if he can’t? Well it’s like a bad Mel Gibson movie. “Payback”, when a guy didn’t have a light for Mel’s cigarette, “What good are you.” At least the end is getting near to having to hear the coaches’ propaganda. They have no idea what’s going to happen Saturday, just like every other coach when going into the first game. You can hope, but you don’t know how a team will perform in a real game. Regardless, UF will come out with a win since they have done what the vast majority of teams do, schedule a cupcake to open the season. If South Carolina and Clemson had done the same, they’d still be sitting pretty. Scheduling a team that can beat you in the first game is only for the brave, there’s not many who fit that category.

    • Michael Jones says:

      Yeah, you clowns are pretty courageous. That’s why you scheduled The Citadel for your second game, right? Because you’re so brave?

      Lucky for you the refs jobbed OSU pretty good in your first game and saved your feathered scalps. OSU outplayed you, troll.

      You guys and your crybaby, prima donna, crab-leg stealing, finger-pointing QB will be exposed eventually this season. Last year was just your lucky season to catch a down SEC, and even then you bozos almost blew it.

      GO GATORS!!!!

      • Michael J. says:

        You seem to be suffering from FSU envy. I guess the only cure for it is seeing them lose or seeing the gators beat a good team. I think the latter is more likely to happen before the former, let’s hope it happens at Tuscaloosa, I’m starting to worry about your sanity. Your obsession with FSU is unhealthy.

        • Michael Jones says:

          Who is unhealthy and who is obsessed with whom? You’re the FSU fan who can’t seem to get enough of a Gator football website.

          And the “envy” claim is laughable. We just spanked your butts and broke your hearts 2 years ago in your stadium. Our series record is 34-22-2 against you. Over a 60% winning percentage. Football is cyclical. You’re a little up and we’ve recently been a little down. We’ll see how long it stays that way. Over our shared history, we’ve been up more than you have, and you’ve been down more than we have.

          I think I know who are you, Michael J., and it’s not “Michael J.,” lol. You may have given yourself away in that last exchange.

      • Gatorgrad79 says:

        Michael Jones, you forgot rapist…

    • Timmy T says:

      Brilliant insight right there. Not really. I’m guessing the letter J indicating your last name stands for Jackass?

  2. Rob says:

    Every time I view this website I have to read Micheal J’s garbage. Those of us raised in FL and graduated from one of the Universities, have friends that went to colleges throughout the state. But, most of us, enjoy the fun of “respectful” competitive joking. Michael, please post something to get you kicked off this site. You should be embarrassed.

  3. Ken (CA) says:

    I know this is off topic, but I just watched SEC Storied “the believer” Anyone here who hasn’t seen it should. I know you posted about it earlier Adam, but it is great. WM needs to learn the phrase “that’s what a coach does, not only go in and motivate, but inspire”.

    I know you gave it a positive review, surprise that Kenny Chesney narrated a bit, but it is just amazing the things I learned about Spurrier. Just when you thought you knew him, so many details there that are amazing. Incredibly well done documentary.

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