Roper ready to put points on the board

The one stat that sticks out like a sore thumb and is a source of frustration for the entire Gator nation in the Will Muschamp era is total offense. Total offense is the combined total of rushing and passing yardage into the single stat of yards per game. When it comes to yards per game, the Gators haven’t finished higher than 10th in the Southeastern Conference since Tim Tebow’s final season in Gainesville.

But yards doing equal points. Take the Miami game from a season ago, for example. Florida gained 413 yards but only managed to put 16 points on the board. On the other end of the spectrum, go back two years to a win over South Carolina at home. The Gators gained a measly 183 yards but lit up the scoreboard for 44 points.

You win football games but getting into the end zone and putting points on the scoreboard, not by outgaining your opponent. That’s why new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper isn’t concerned with having a high-flying offense that will put up 400 yards of offense by halftime. He just wants points.

“Our whole philosophy on offense is points per game,” Roper said at his introductory press conference. “It’s not yards, it’s not going up and down the field, it’s how many points we can get.  Hopefully we’re a PPG team is what we get down to. But I think playing the game in space creates more opportunities to score points.”

Florida finished dead last in the SEC in terms of scoring points — 18.8 per game.  Florida hasn’t finished in the top half of the SEC in that statistical category since — you guessed it — Tebow’s final season in orange and blue.

How will the Gators turn that around? It begins by changing the offensive philosophy from one of holding on to the football, not making mistakes and allowing the defense to rest to one that hurries up to the line and tries to fire plays off as quickly and efficiently as possible. The high tempo offense also plays to Florida’s biggest asset. The ability to recruit speed.

Florida is one of the most talent laden states in the high school ranks and its chief commodity is an abundance of speed. Urban Meyer realized that when he came to Gainesville. He said he wanted to have the fastest team in American and, outside of NFL teams; he achieved that to great success on the field.

Will Muschamp’s offensive coordinators have slowed the offense down, playing not to make mistakes and give games away while relying on crippling defenses to put them in positions to score points.

Roper will change that. The staff has already sent out a flurry of new scholarship offers to playmakers across the state of Florida and from outside of the state. Roper knows he doesn’t have a long time to turn things around but believes that he has both the talent and the time that he needs to get the job done.

“I think the biggest thing is installing our offense,” he said. “I think our guys understand it we’re going to find some playmakers and can produce yards and produce points with what we’re going to do offensively. I think the undertaking is like any undertaking. Let’s get started; right now it’s January we’ll get into our offseason conditioning program, get through spring and we’ll get into fall and get ready to play the season and then we’ll try to be the best offense we can possibly be. But to me it’s no different than any other year.”

Despite a 4-8 2013 campaign, the expectations remain high. Roper knows this and he isn’t one to shy away from expectations. He’s faced high expectations in the past while at Ole Miss with Eli Manning and he’s faced no expectations, picked to finish 10th in the ACC last season at Duke. Roper doesn’t worry about outside noise, rather focusing on things he can control.

Roper was the fourth coach to meet with the media last Monday. After almost an hour of questions to Will Muschamp, Mike Summers and Coleman Hutzler, the man of the hour strode to the podium that sits just behind the endzone he wants his offense to find often next season and proclaimed, “I know there can’t possibly be anymore questions after all of that.”

He was met with possibly the most simple, yet complex question he will face; why Florida? Why leave your mentor in David Cutcliffe and a school where the expectations and pressure pale in comparison to your new university?

“I guess my answer to that is it’s the University of Florida, one of the obvious mainstays in college football,” he explained. “This is a great university with a history and a lot of championships. The year before they went to the Sugar Bowl, so obviously there’s a lot of good football players on this team. I think it’s a chance to come and compete for championships.”

It wasn’t the University of Florida in 2013. What happened on the football program isn’t the brand of football that the University of Florida has become known for. However, Muschamp believes that this is the man that can turn things around offensively and bring the Gators back to the top of the SEC and national scene.

“I think every coach understands winning is the bottom line in this profession, no matter where you go,” Roper said. “That’s all our goal when we get up there and go to work.”

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC


  1. It’s about time to have somebody that knows what’s important. I think Pease talked about moving the chains, getting first downs, etc. This guy seems to get it. I don’t care about first downs, the Gators have been one of the worst red zone offenses in the country. I like to hear that he doesn’t care about anything but points. If the defense doesn’t get much rest, so be it, they should be able to hold up their end without the help of the offense. One play or twenty, as long as it’s touchdowns that are the result. Now if Driskel can improve and someone can kick field goals…

  2. Love to hear it. Now that coach has shifted his thinking (begrudgingly-after a forced epiphany) it should all fall into place. New OC, new O-line guy…We need speed, we need power, we need good receivers, we need our QB to grow up and get to the next level, we need a offensive line and we need leadership. With all of the new recruits coming in, the guys flipping to FLA…it is actually starting to get a bit exciting. Just team unity alone and leadership and coaching would be a huge shift. Add in social media calling the Gator throngs back to the swamp…we need to get back to the days when the screams were as loud as the blocked kick against SCe. Then we’ll be in any game…Here we go Gators here we go! Thank you…Nick