When the Florida Gators hired Kurt Roper as the school’s new offensive coordinator, it signaled a shift in philosophy for head coach Will Muschamp. As a coach who made his mark on defense, Muschamp has shown that he would prefer to field a tremendous defense, then have an offense that controlled the ball and the clock with the power running game.
Under Muschamp, offensive coordinators Charlie Weis and Brent Pease adhered to that notion. The Gators ran a pro-style offense that kept the ball primarily on the ground. When it worked, the offense took a lot of time off the clock and kept the defense fresh.
However, that strategy backfired last season, leading to Pease’s dismissal and the hiring of Roper.
Now, the Gators appear to be headed in a new direction offensively. Roper, who came to Gainesville from the Duke Blue Devils, prefers a more up-tempo, no-huddle, fast-paced attack. Roper is known for his development of quarterbacks, and he uses the particular quarterback’s strength, whether it is his legs, his arm or both, to mold the offense.
Florida needs someone like that to help its quarterbacks. In 2013, the quarterback play for Florida was terrible. The Gators were last in the Southeastern Conference in total offense and scoring offense. Roper was hired to fix that.
Roper will have quarterback Jeff Driskel back for 2014, and Driskel figures to be the kind of player that can excel in this system. While his passing definitely needs work, Driskel has proven that he can make plays with his legs, which will also help the Gators in 2014.
Muschamp saw last season that his plan was not working, and he made a move to fix it. Florida fans hope to see a much more explosive offensive attack in 2014, and Roper is the man tasked with making that happen.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.