Muschamp Hires Duke OC Kurt Roper to Replace Pease

Now, finally, it’s a done deal.

Despite reports that Florida would wait until the end of the bowl season, or at least until 2014 to hire an offensive coordinator, Will Muschamp reportedly pulled the trigger this morning on Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.

This, undoubtedly, is Muschamp’s most important hire in his time at Florida. If Roper fails, Muschamp’s job is likely going to be in trouble, seeing that his offenses have ranked worse than 100 out of 123 FBS teams in each of his three years in Gainesville.

Roper began his coaching career at Tennessee, before leaving for Ole Miss along with his boss, David Cutcliffe, for six seasons as the quarterbacks coach. Included in his resume in Oxford is the development of two time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, along with being in charge of the passing game for his final three years. After not being retained by Ed Orgeron after Ole Miss fired Cutcliffe after the 2004 season, Roper coached Andre Woodson at Kentucky for a year, followed by his second stint in Knoxville, this time coaching the running backs in 2006 and 2007. He helped develop Arian Foster and the running game that guided the Vols to the 2007 SEC Championship Game.

Since then, he’s been employed by Duke, helping to lead a slow but methodical turnaround of the Blue Devils football program from ACC laughingstock to ACC runner up. He appears to be a good hire off the bat, but I just think Florida could have gotten somebody better had they made earlier runs at some of the top prospects, such as Clay Helton.

In addition, it is worth nothing that the last time the Gators ventured into Durham, North Carolina to grab a coach from Duke, it worked out pretty well. The man’s name was Steve Spurrier, and he guided Florida to 6 SEC Championships and a national championship.

In any case, time will tell how this move will be viewed. One thing is for sure, though: this hire is all on Muschamp. If Roper fails, that would make three consecutive bad hires at offensive coordinator by Muschamp, which not only should get him fired, but probably will if the offense continues to cost Florida games.

8 thoughts on “Muschamp Hires Duke OC Kurt Roper to Replace Pease

  1. I have to argue this one –

    “Roper began his coaching career at Tennessee, before leaving for Ole Miss along with his boss, David Cutcliffe, for six seasons as the quarterbacks coach. Included in his resume in Oxford is the development of two time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, along with being in charge of the passing game for his final three years. ”

    Do we really, honestly believe HE developed Eli ? I have heard whispers there are a couple of above average QBs that lived really close to him his whole life.

    Also I have to say it – the mentions of the other Duke coach are really bad and not really relevant at all in any circumstance – one was a HC a quarter century ago and this is an OC and there is no “tree” to speak of. About the ONLY possible connection is Roper was a Cutcliffe lackey when the Fulmer-Spurrier rivalry was neck and neck with Bowden-Spurrier for tops in the region.

    1. Ah, the bone is back! Great to see!

      He definitely had a hand in it. I didn’t say he was the ONLY reason Manning became a two time Super Bowl winning MVP- he certainly got great coaching once my Giants drafted him in the NFL, along with a fantastic receiving corps- but as the QB coach and passing game coordinator at his college, Roper has to be given at least a some credit.

      I didn’t say that Steve Spurrier had anything to do with Kurt Roper or how he will fare in Gainesville, it’s just an interesting note that Florida got him from Duke.

      1. That’s where I kind of disagree. To me, the only interesting thing about them having gotten him from Duke is more of a “they got the guy from DUKE ?”

  2. Roper has succeeded where ever he has gone. I like him over Clay Helton. He has more experience, especially amongst the big boys, over Helton. Helton should not have been at the top of our list anyways.

    The biggest splash at OC Muschamp could have made was bringing in Chad Morris at a salary around 2 million with contract guarantees to be retained even if Muschamp was fired. But that really wasn’t happening.

    Being honest, Roper has extensive background in the style of offense the Gators had been building toward, and the know how to convert the offense to what he wants. He did it at Duke. Cutcliffe has gone on record saying that the spread and uptempo they run at Duke is from Roper. Roper picked up the concepts from his time at Kentucky.

    1. I want to like Roper, I really do. But as the bone pointed out, there are questions about him. Yeah, he did it at Duke, but that’s the ACC. The one good team he faced from that conference? Zero points. Hell, at least Florida SCORED on FSU. And yeah, he poured 48 on A&M, a team that’s all offense and no defense.

      There are positives, too. His offenses can be very exciting to watch. But with the personnel he’s equipped with right off the bat, it’s going to be very, very hard to ask much of him in Year 1- which, given the 4-8 debacle of 2013, could very well be all he’s got.

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