Notebook: Roper talks Driskel, Idaho & more

It’s here! College football is finally back. The Texas A&M Aggies will kick off the season Thursday night to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks.

It’s not Florida Gators football, but football is still back and the SEC showdown in Columbia, South Carolina should hold Gators fans over for the next 48 hours until the Gators take on the Idaho Vandals.

Kurt Roper met with the media to discuss how the offense is preparing for the Vandals and what Gators fans can expect when he unveils his new offense this Saturday night.


The Vandals only won one game last season and had a historically bad defense but they return 15.5 sacks from three defensive linemen. The defensive line is the best unit the Vandals will bring to Gainesville and Roper knows it.

“I think they’ve got a good front. I think they’ve got some guys that can rush the passer. They’ve got some active guys inside that have played a lot of football, that do a good job getting off blocks and create some issues in the pass rush.

Roper expects the Vandals to throw something at his offense that they haven’t seen on tape. This is where the fundamentals of he offense that the team has worked on these past few months need to kick in.

Idaho plays a lot of quarter’s defense (four deep zones in the secondary), which could limit the shots Florida can take down the field. Roper credits the Idaho defense for being well organized and thinks they will present a unique challenge on Saturday.

“They’ll play quarters, they’ll play halves, and they’ll mix it up. I think they’re a really well organized defense. I think that they do a really good job of getting their guys tied in together, all together. So that’s always a challenge.


Jeff Driskel: To run or not to run, that is the question

Jeff Driskel’s injury history has been well documented. Although Roper wasn’t in Gainesville for those injuries, he has talked to Jeff and watched replays to see how each one has happened.

In order to run the offense, Driskel will need to run, but that doesn’t mean putting the quarterback in situations where he’s more inclined to sustain injury.

“It’s an interesting discussion that we’re having all the time as the staff. The number one thing is winning a football game and trying to find the way to win a football game. Jeff [Driskel] does give us the ability with his feet to add to the run game and cause defenses more issues. You definitely want to use that, but at the same time you want to be smart. He doesn’t need to take any unnecessary hits. He has to know when a play is over and get down.”

Roper is cognizant of the fact that Driskel is pivotal for the offense to be successful this season. That means the staff needs to strike a balance between Driskel running and passing the ball.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re running the football or throwing the football, you’re always at a risk. We want to be smart and minimize the amount of contact that we possibly can. We need to use his ability to run the football.”

Taking advantage of a deep wide receiver group

The Gators are talented at receiver. I know, I know. You want to see it, but for now, just trust me.

Roper plans on using about eight receivers on Saturday, rotating players in throughout the game in different packages but ultimately players will earn the right to stay on the field based on how they play.

“I think that’s going to be something that evolves as the year goes on with guys that are playing well, making plays and all those things. I think we’ve got several guys that can go in and play outside — Q, Ahmad and those guys — and inside — Veldez and Pitt. We’ve got some guys that will help us out in that rotation. We’ve talked about five guys or so outside and those three guys or so inside. The ones that make plays get to stay longer.”

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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. I have to say that even though I have yet to see a single offensive player perform in this particular system we really have no hope of being good this year on offense in particular. I will get to the defense in a minute. Even though this system should probably compliment Driskel fairly well, I am certain he stinks and can’t possibly perform well this season. While I have not watched a single practice and have yet to see many of these WRs we have perform in this system based on past experience in a putrid offense our WRs are going to continue to be absolutely terrible. I will continue to ignore just how good Taylor was in an offense that had no semblance of run blocking last year and zero passing game to compliment him or provide him space and say that he was unimpressive last season and will continue to be unimpressive for the entirety of his Gator career. I will now say that I hope I am wrong lest anyone forget that I am actually a “Gator” fan. Now on to the defense. Basically our defense who had little to no support from our offense last year will also stink this year and even though many of the players are back and more experienced this season, at least in the front 7, that aspect of the D will be particularly useless. Fowler, who was actually pretty good last season, but I will pretend he sucked will without question become worse this year. Those times when he “disappeared” last year will most certainly become more frequent, so as opposed to getting better with more experience he will become markedly worse. Our secondary is young and this means they will be terrible even though Muschamp coaches a secondary just about as good as anyone in the country. That one play vs. Miami and the defense finally wearing down in the first half vs. FSU when the offense did nothing last year just proves my point. To sum it all up, quit reading these guys. They have no idea even though many of them have actually been at practice and seen first-hand how these guys are progressing. I certainly know more. Buckle your seat belts, forget all optimism, and prepare to be disappointed. Again, I hope I am wrong. “Gator” fan, remember?

    *Ignore the typos. I did this with my tongue lodged firmly in my cheek and really didn’t care enough to proof read.

    • For the record, and I am by no means taking full credit for this, but since my obviously satirical comments yesterday, which apparently went completely over one posters head the true Snowprint did not go one of his *the sky is falling* rants. So, while I won’t take credit, I will say “Your welcome!” just in case.

      PS – This is also mostly tongue-in-cheek as well. Laugh or don’t laugh. It’s in jest. Go Gators!

    • Didn’t go over my head. I knew you weren’t the real one. That’s why I said it was good for a laugh! Haha

    • That wasn’t directed at you. Go Gators! tomorrow. Hopefully all goes well, things look smooth, and no injuries.