Gators officially announce Kurt Roper as new offensive coordinator
After spending all but one season of his 18-year coaching career under the tutelage of veteran coach David Cutcliffe, Kurt Roper is stepping out on his own.
Roper, who was one of five finalists this year for the Broyles Award given annually to the top assistant coach, was officially announced on Thursday as Florida’s new offensive coordinator, replacing Brent Pease who was fired one day after the Gators’ 4-8 season ended.
"He has a diverse, up-tempo background on offense and does a good job of adapting to what the players do best,” Florida coach Will Muschamp said. “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."
The 41-year-old began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 1996 under then-offensive coordinator Cutcliffe, and has been the quarterbacks coach on every staff with Cutcliffe as head coach since. Roper spent six years at Duke where he was assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
In 2013, the Blue Devils ranked 69th nationally (sixth in the ACC) in total offense, averaging 408.1 yards per game - 234.4 passing and 173.7 rushing. Duke set a school record for total touchdowns (54), the first time the Blue Devils have scored 20 or more touchdowns both rushing and passing in the same season. Roper is taking over an offense that was ranked No. 113 nationally in total offense and said he understands the tremendous challenge he faces.
“Obviously, the expectations are high, and they should be,” Roper said. “They've won a lot of games at Florida and won a lot of championships at Florida, and so obviously the expectations are going to be high, you know, anywhere in the SEC . . The expectations are great. I understand that going in and the challenge is to meet those expectations. I’m just looking forward to it.”
Cutcliffe said while he didn’t encourage Roper to take the Florida job, he’s always encouraged his coaches to go where their heart leads them. He described Roper's coaching style as “intense.”
“His style would be intensity, tempo, and quality of repetition,” Cutcliffe said. “From the minute they hit the field it’s gonna be intense. He’s not a - I wouldn’t call him a laid-back football coach by any stretch of the imagination. So it’s gonna be what we call treat the ground like a hot stove. If you hit the ground you better get up running and you know by the time they get on the field until they get off they’re gonna be moving and getting a bunch of quality reps so I would call it very intense.”