“I think this is a great opportunity.”
New Florida Gator offensive coordinator Kurt Roper when asked about leaving Duke and longtime boss David Cutcliffe to come to Florida.
For Florida fans frustrated over last season’s 4-8 record and suffering from acid reflux over the offensive woes that have plagued the Gator program since Tim Tebow left, the hiring of Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper didn’t exactly leave them salivating. Roper was relatively unknown outside of coaching circles and fans were unsure of just what he had to offer.
Of course, many of those fans got a quick taste of just what he brings to the table watching the Chick-Fil-A bowl and seeing his Duke squad put up over 600 yards of offense. What they saw was a spread offense that could get the ball to playmakers in space, gash the middle of the defense in the run game, and complete downfield passing plays.
The general feeling among the Gator faithful?
This guy ain’t half bad.
So, Kurt Roper, why Florida?
“I guess my answer to that is it’s the University of Florida. It’s one of the obvious mainstays in college football. This is a great university, with a great history, and a lot of championships.”
But they just finished a 4-8 season, the Gators worst since going winless in 1979. This could be a one and done if the record doesn’t improve significantly is there some concerns that there’s not enough talent to keep a job past this upcoming season?
“I think ever year is it’s own year,” Roper said. “When we began the year last season at Duke we were picked to finish last. And we win 10 football games.”
“Obviously there’s a lot of good football players on this team,” Roper added. “I think it’s a chance to come and compete for championships.”
Talk about optimism.
Roper went on to say that he felt the move was a great opportunity for his family and his career adding,
“I think this football program is special. I think this is a great opportunity.”
A great opportunity indeed.
It’s a great opportunity for Kurt Roper to show what he can do at the highest level of the sport and with the highest quality of athletes, something he was never going to have completely at Duke.
It’s also a great opportunity for him to audition for a head coaching job in a year or two if he can turn around the Gator offensive fortunes of the last few seasons.
It’s also a great opportunity for Will Muschamp.
After last season’s debacle and realistically three years of offensive mediocrity, it’s of the utmost importance that a defensive coach like Muschamp show he can put an offense out there that will not only win games but put people in the seats. So out with Pease and in with an offensive “guru” like Roper. Muschamp is staking his job that Roper can do for him what Brent Pease could not.
It’s also an opportunity for the players.
New coach means new opportunity for the players to prove themselves. A new coach whose philosophy has always been about building an offense around it’s personnel and has proven to be able to scheme and play call to get the ball into his play-maker’s hands means more touches, more points, and more fun.
“All the tools are going to be in place for us to go win football games,” Roper said. “Obviously I think there’s some really good football players here.”
Finally, it’s a great opportunity for the fans.
An opportunity to finally say “It’s great to be a Florida Gator” and mean it. No more hiding our heads in shame at the offensive futility which came to a head this past season with the now infamous viral video of two Gator offensive players blocking each other. Coach Roper represents an opportunity to make offense cool again in Gainesville. It may not be a reprise of the Fun n Gun but it most certainly will be fun. Fun for coaches, players, and fans.
Yes, offense should be cool again in Gainesville.
And for Kurt Roper, that’s a great opportunity.