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December 26, 2013

Florida hires Kurt Roper as offensive coordinator

Multiple reports have been confirmed, and Florida has a new offensive coordinator.

UF officially announced Thursday that Duke offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kurt Roper will take over the same two titles for the Gators.

"I'm excited to have Coach Roper join our staff," Florida coach Will Muschamp said in an official statement. "He has a diverse, up-tempo background on offense and does a good job of adapting to what the players do best. The most important thing though is he has always remained balanced.

"He has had success calling plays in the SEC and has tutored three NFL quarterbacks. He has had players produce at every offensive position and he is one of the most well-respected coaches in the country."

Roper has spent 12 of his 18 years as an assistant coach in the SEC. The time includes seven years at Ole Miss in which he served as quarterbacks coach for the entirety of Eli Manning's college career, called plays and was passing game coordinator from 2002-2004.

Aside from a one-year stint as quarterbacks coach at Kentucky in 2005, Roper has worked alongside Duke coach David Cutcliffe in some capacity his entire career, starting as a graduate assistant at Tennessee in 1996.

When Cutcliffe was hired at Duke in 2008, he brought Roper along. Taking over an offense with a talent level different from what he will inherit at Florida, Roper helped lead the Blue Devils to their first 10-win season in school history while averaging 31.6 points per game in school history. Duke scored 54 touchdowns, the most in school history.

The Gainesville Sun reported Roper's contract will be worth $600,000 annually. Roper is familiar with at least one member of Florida's staff. Gators wide receivers coach Joker Phillips was the offensive coordinator at Kentucky during Roper's one season in Lexington.

During what had been a quiet search process, Roper was flown to Gainesville and interviewed Monday by Muschamp. By Tuesday night, reports circulated that Roper had been hired but there was no official confirmation until Thursday morning.

Roper will be asked to turn around a Florida offense that has been in the bottom 20 of college football for the past three years.

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