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Florida to hire Duke's offensive coordinator

GAINESVILLE — Florida will hire Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper to be its offensive coordinator, though the Gators are not expected to make an official announcement for several days.

Roper, 41, replaces Brent Pease, who was fired a day after the Gators finished 4-8. Roper interviewed Monday in Gainesville.

A three-year letter-winner at quarterback for Rice, Roper began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 1996 under offensive coordinator David Cutcliffe. Since then, he has been the quarterbacks coach on every staff with Cutcliffe as head coach. He has been at Duke under Cutcliffe since 2008.

In 2012 Duke set a school record with 410 points, averaging 31.5 a game. This season Duke won 10 games for the first time and reached the ACC title game, where the Blue Devils lost to Florida State. Duke averaged 31.6 points, sixth in the ACC, and was also sixth in the league in total offense, averaging 408.1 yards (234.4 passing; 173.7 rushing).

Duke faces Texas A&M on Dec. 31 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta. Roper is expected to stay with Duke through the bowl, the Associated Press reported.

Another Winston honor: Florida State freshman quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was named AP's national player of the year. Winston earned 49 of 56 votes. Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch finished second.

SMALL COLLEGE AWARD: Defensive back Pierre Desir of Division II Lindenwood (Mo.) University won the inaugural Cliff Harris Award as the nation's top small college defensive player.

Coach killed: Akron offensive line coach Alan "Tank" Arrington died Monday after a two-car accident in Mississippi, the school said. He was 44.

Army: Having lost 12 straight to its archrival, Army hired former Navy assistant Jeff Monken as coach. Monken spent the past four seasons as coach at Division I-AA Georgia Southern — capped by a win Nov. 23 over Florida in Gainesville — and was 38-16. He replaces the fired Rich Ellerson.

MARYLAND: Junior backup quarterback Ricardo Young was suspended for the Military Bowl for a violation of team rules.

NORTH DAKOTA: Southern Illinois defensive coordinator Kyle "Bubba" Schweigert was named coach, returning after a decade away. He was defensive coordinator when North Dakota won the 2001 Division II national title.

USC: Safety Don Bailey will declare for the NFL draft, ESPN reported.

Information from Times wires was used in this report. Staff writer Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Florida to hire Duke's offensive coordinator 12/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 9:46pm]
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