Florida Gators hire Kurt Roper as new offensive coordinator
Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper will be heading to Gainesville to join Florida coach Will Muschamp’s staff as the Gators’ new offensive coordinator, the school announced on Thursday.
Roper has spent the last six years with the Blue Devils under coach David Cutcliffe. In a statement, Muschamp said that Florida will benefit from Roper’s skills and wide range of experience.
“I’m excited to have Coach Roper join our staff,” Muschamp said. “He has a diverse, up-tempo background on offense and does a good job of adapting to what the players do best. The most important thing though is he has always remained balanced.
“He has had success calling plays in the SEC and has tutored three NFL quarterbacks. He has had players produce at every offensive position and he is one of the most well-respected coaches in the country.”
Thanks in part to a handful of season-ending injuries, the Gators’ offense was reduced to one of the most unproductive units in the country in 2013. It ranked last in the SEC in total offense (316.7 yards per game) and scoring (18.8 points per game) during a 4-8 season. Florida scored 30 or more points only twice.
Now Muschamp is bringing in a coordinator who helped Duke win a school-record 10 games this season. The Blue Devils ranked 68th nationally in total offense with 408.1 yards per game and also put up 31.6 points per game.
Roper has his work cut out for him in Gainesville. Not only did the Gators suffer through their first losing season since 1979, but they also failed to to reach a bowl game for the first time in 22 years. Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease after the dismal campaign. The coach’s future with Florida will likely hinge on his hiring of Roper. The question now is just how long the two men will have to turn the Gators’ around. Muschamp’s seat is one of the hottest in the SEC.
Florida can certainly expect to have better luck in the injury department in 2014. The Gators lost 10 players to season-ending injuries this year, including quarterback Jeff Driskel. They’ get Driskel back next season with a coordinator in Roper who has experience molding quarterbacks. He oversaw the development of Eli Manning at Ole Miss, and two passers who came through Duke during’s Roper’s tenure, Thaddeus Lewis and Sean Renfree, have reached the NFL.