Now, finally, it’s a done deal.
Despite reports that Florida would wait until the end of the bowl season, or at least until 2014 to hire an offensive coordinator, Will Muschamp reportedly pulled the trigger this morning on Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
This, undoubtedly, is Muschamp’s most important hire in his time at Florida. If Roper fails, Muschamp’s job is likely going to be in trouble, seeing that his offenses have ranked worse than 100 out of 123 FBS teams in each of his three years in Gainesville.
Roper began his coaching career at Tennessee, before leaving for Ole Miss along with his boss, David Cutcliffe, for six seasons as the quarterbacks coach. Included in his resume in Oxford is the development of two time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, along with being in charge of the passing game for his final three years. After not being retained by Ed Orgeron after Ole Miss fired Cutcliffe after the 2004 season, Roper coached Andre Woodson at Kentucky for a year, followed by his second stint in Knoxville, this time coaching the running backs in 2006 and 2007. He helped develop Arian Foster and the running game that guided the Vols to the 2007 SEC Championship Game.
Since then, he’s been employed by Duke, helping to lead a slow but methodical turnaround of the Blue Devils football program from ACC laughingstock to ACC runner up. He appears to be a good hire off the bat, but I just think Florida could have gotten somebody better had they made earlier runs at some of the top prospects, such as Clay Helton.
In addition, it is worth nothing that the last time the Gators ventured into Durham, North Carolina to grab a coach from Duke, it worked out pretty well. The man’s name was Steve Spurrier, and he guided Florida to 6 SEC Championships and a national championship.
In any case, time will tell how this move will be viewed. One thing is for sure, though: this hire is all on Muschamp. If Roper fails, that would make three consecutive bad hires at offensive coordinator by Muschamp, which not only should get him fired, but probably will if the offense continues to cost Florida games.