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December 24, 2013

Reports: Florida to hire Duke offensive coordinator



Despite reports Monday that a hire will not come until after Jan. 1 and after Will Muschamp has interviewed numerous candidates, it appears Florida has decided on an offensive coordinator.

ESPN reported Tuesday afternoon that Duke offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper will be hired to fill the same role at Florida. Laura Keeley of the Charlotte Observer confirmed the news shortly afterward. CBS Sports reported Roper will coach in the Blue Devils' bowl game against Texas A&M on Dec. 31 before starting with the Gators.

A UF spokesperson told Inside the Gators Tuesday there is nothing to announce "at this time." Per ESPN's report, an announcement will come later this week.

Roper spent nearly seven hours in Gainesville Monday after Florida flew a University Athletic Association private jet up to bring him down from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Despite the lengthy interview, the Associated Press and Gainesville Sun were told no one had been offered the Gators' offensive coordinator opening.

Roper will arrive at Florida in time for his 24th season as an assistant coach. He has spent 17 of those seasons as an assistant in the Southeastern Conference and has worked under David Cutcliffe in some manner in all but one season (2005) since 1999.

At Ole Miss, Roper served as quarterbacks coach during Eli Manning's entire college career, called plays and was appointed passing game coordinator from 2002-2004. At Tennessee in 2006 and 2007, he served as running backs coach for Volunteers star and current Houston Texans standout Arian Foster.

Most recently, Roper was one of five finalists for the Broyles Award, which goes annually to the nation's top assistant coach. He got to that point by helping lead Duke to its first 10-win season in school history with an offense that scored 31.6 points per game and rushed for more than 170 yards seven times.

According to ESPN's report, Florida is expected to run more of a spread, up-tempo offense under Roper.

With the hire coming roughly one month after the firing of Brent Pease, Roper would become Florida's fourth offensive coordinator in five years. The Gators have finished no better than No. 105 nationally in any season since Muschamp was hired as coach in 2011.

Only 10 FBS teams scored fewer points than Florida in 2013.


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