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    Kurt Roper says he and Muschamp are on the same page but that it's Muschamp's call who will start at quarterback. / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Florida Gators offense
has people talking

Written by Nick de la Torre, September 13, 2014, 1 Comment,
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It was just one game and yeah, sure, it was an Eastern Michigan team that has never entered a game against an SEC opponent and left the field victorious but there is something going on in Gainesville.

Kurt Roper and Will Muschamp are building something and one game may have been just enough of a preview to give national pundits a reason to believe that the Florida Gators are for real this season.

“Bringing Kurt Roper in, which was one of the best hires in college football this season, seeing Driskel healthy and not just trying to regain himself with his health, he’s really advancing himself as a player,” SEC Now host Joe Tessitore said. “The offense was awesome. I know it was against Eastern Michigan last week, but I thought the offense was absolutely awesome. I think this is a very, very good football team with a chance to develop itself and be a great football team.”

In just one game Roper was able to do the most important thing he was tasked to do upon accepting the offensive coordinator position at Florida — he restored hope in the fan base. A hope that was lost during a seven-game losing streak in 2013. With 65 points and 655 yards of offense, Roper brought fun back to Gainesville, an emotion that hadn’t been felt when the orange and blue offense was on the field for quite some time.

“65 points is hard to score,” former LSU and Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman Marcus Spears said. “I know how it looks; ‘ah they played Eastern Michigan. Eastern Michigan is terrible.’ It’s 11 guys over there that are trying to stop you from scoring. So when you can do that, and make the progression that they made from last year to this year it helps.”

Even before Roper electrified the fan base with his up-tempo offense he energized the players. The Gators would be the first ones to tell you that they got down on themselves in 2013. The “woe-is-me” mentality that Muschamp spoke of was real and it was cancerous in the locker room.

An overhaul of the offense had Florida’s skill position players walking a little taller, sticking their chests out a little farther and talking the talk even before a ball was kicked off. To some, they sounded too braggadocious for a bunch that finished dead last in the SEC in total offense.

They knew something that most didn’t. They saw the offense in practice. They ran it and they knew that with the talent they had on the roster it would work.

“Look at what Kurt Roper’s done offensively, he’s really given these guys an opportunity to play in space and be successful in space I think that’s gonna really help this offense,” Tim Tebow said. “Coach Muschamp, he’s always done a great job with his defense all the way back to when we played him in 2007 against Auburn. You know he – I think both sides of the ball are gonna be awesome this year and really help turn this Florida program around from a 4-8 team to a team that has a chance really compete in the east.”

What’s that Tim? Compete in the east? That thought seemed alien maybe just months ago. After last week, it doesn’t seem so out of left field and Saturday the Gators will have a chance to take that first step towards making Tebow’s statement a reality. A 28th consecutive win over Kentucky will give Florida a 1-0 record in SEC play.

If the Gators can keep taking care of business and Georgia knocks off South Carolina at 3:30 before the Gators kick off, there may be a defacto SEC EAST championship game in Jacksonville this season and that, in Tessitore’s opinion, would be enough to get the Gators into the first ever College Football Playoff.

“The way it’s playing out right now, the SEC champion is in I don’t care what their record is,” he said. “I mean, you can’t look around this league — and now that you realize what Texas A&M is and you realize that LSU with all their young talent what they are. If you win this league, you cannot tell me you’re not one of the top four teams.

Nick de la Torre

About 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. scooterpSeptember 13, 2014, 11:31 am

    I thought everyone was nuts for over looking us this year. We were NOT a 4-8 team last year. Losing your top 3 tackles for the season, top RB, top return specialist, top defensive lineman…having to start a 4th string walk on ML that you called up from the practice squad … Seriously?…and have to finish the season with your 3rd string QB. Shuffling different parts into different positions each week. That would have been a train wreck for any team. And I think that gets lost on fans and the media sometimes. When the wheels continue to come off like that, it would be nearly impossible for any coach to hold that locker room together. And I wasn’t one of the ones who was drinking the kool-aid preseason last year either. I didn’t think we were an 11 or 12 win team. We lost too much defensively the year before and Pease showed me nothing offensively to think the offense would improve much…but I thought 8 or 9 wins was probably where we would land. We had the talent, but I don’t think the Bamas, the Barns or the semiholes of the world would have fared much better dealing with that disaster last year. Now some are pointing to the level of competition we played week 1…but we’ve played Eastern Michigan-ish teams for the last 4 years and our offense never looked like that. I know it’s only one game, but it does pass the eyeball test. I don’t know whether we are a legitimate title contender for the playoff yet…but I can confidently say we will be better than any team we’ve put on the field the last 4 years.

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It was just one game and yeah, sure, it was an Eastern Michigan team that has never entered a game against an SEC opponent and left the field victorious but there is something going on in Gainesville.

Kurt Roper and Will Muschamp are building something and one game may have been just enough of a preview to give national pundits a reason to believe that the Florida Gators are for real this season.

“Bringing Kurt Roper in, which was one of the best hires in college football this season, seeing Driskel healthy and not just trying to regain himself with his health, he’s really advancing himself as a player,” SEC Now host Joe Tessitore said. “The offense was awesome. I know it was against Eastern Michigan last week, but I thought the offense was absolutely awesome. I think this is a very, very good football team with a chance to develop itself and be a great football team.”

In just one game Roper was able to do the most important thing he was tasked to do upon accepting the offensive coordinator position at Florida — he restored hope in the fan base. A hope that was lost during a seven-game losing streak in 2013. With 65 points and 655 yards of offense, Roper brought fun back to Gainesville, an emotion that hadn’t been felt when the orange and blue offense was on the field for quite some time.

“65 points is hard to score,” former LSU and Dallas Cowboy defensive lineman Marcus Spears said. “I know how it looks; ‘ah they played Eastern Michigan. Eastern Michigan is terrible.’ It’s 11 guys over there that are trying to stop you from scoring. So when you can do that, and make the progression that they made from last year to this year it helps.”

Even before Roper electrified the fan base with his up-tempo offense he energized the players. The Gators would be the first ones to tell you that they got down on themselves in 2013. The “woe-is-me” mentality that Muschamp spoke of was real and it was cancerous in the locker room.

An overhaul of the offense had Florida’s skill position players walking a little taller, sticking their chests out a little farther and talking the talk even before a ball was kicked off. To some, they sounded too braggadocious for a bunch that finished dead last in the SEC in total offense.

They knew something that most didn’t. They saw the offense in practice. They ran it and they knew that with the talent they had on the roster it would work.

“Look at what Kurt Roper’s done offensively, he’s really given these guys an opportunity to play in space and be successful in space I think that’s gonna really help this offense,” Tim Tebow said. “Coach Muschamp, he’s always done a great job with his defense all the way back to when we played him in 2007 against Auburn. You know he – I think both sides of the ball are gonna be awesome this year and really help turn this Florida program around from a 4-8 team to a team that has a chance really compete in the east.”

What’s that Tim? Compete in the east? That thought seemed alien maybe just months ago. After last week, it doesn’t seem so out of left field and Saturday the Gators will have a chance to take that first step towards making Tebow’s statement a reality. A 28th consecutive win over Kentucky will give Florida a 1-0 record in SEC play.

If the Gators can keep taking care of business and Georgia knocks off South Carolina at 3:30 before the Gators kick off, there may be a defacto SEC EAST championship game in Jacksonville this season and that, in Tessitore’s opinion, would be enough to get the Gators into the first ever College Football Playoff.

“The way it’s playing out right now, the SEC champion is in I don’t care what their record is,” he said. “I mean, you can’t look around this league — and now that you realize what Texas A&M is and you realize that LSU with all their young talent what they are. If you win this league, you cannot tell me you’re not one of the top four teams.

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