University of Florida

UF offensive coordinator: Will Muschamp didn’t meddle in playcalling

Florida head coach Will Muschamp looks up at the clock during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Missouri won 42-13.
Florida head coach Will Muschamp looks up at the clock during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Missouri in Gainesville, Fla., Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Missouri won 42-13. AP

Will Muschamp was fired as Florida’s football coach in large part due to the Gators’ continued offensive ineptitude.

But contrary to popular perception, Muschamp never meddled in the playcalling according to offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.

“Not true. Just not true,” Roper said.

“In my experience, absolutely none of it’s true. You know when we got here it was completely, ‘Hey do it how you best see fit.’ And he doesn’t call plays. You know we obviously talk about situations like the end of that game. Do we want to be aggressive or do we want to take the timeout and use the time and all that? But I’m 100 percent on board with any of those decisions that are made.”

Florida’s offenses have ranked No. 90, No. 115, No. 104 and No. 105 over the past four seasons, with Muschamp’s conservative, meat-grinder philosophy often blamed for the incessant futility.

Last December, former Gators coordinator Brent Pease was scapegoated for Florida’s recent offensive failures. But with Roper — UF’s third coordinator in four seasons — unable to jumpstart the attack this season, rumors resurfaced that Muschamp handcuffs the offense and chokes creativity.

Roper scoffed at the notion.

“Working for Will Muschamp is unbelievable,” he said.

“Everything you're hearing about him is not just people blowing smoke. That's a good person No. 1. and I learned a lot of football from him. … It’s been a great experience.”

Muschamp was fired Sunday, less than 24 hours after Florida’s colossal choke-job in a 23-20 overtime loss to South Carolina.

The Gamecocks entered the contest with the SEC’s worst defense (460 yards a game), but Florida attempted just 11 passes and predictably settled into a run-only attack.

The philosophy worked in back-to-back wins over Georgia and Vanderbilt, and Roper defended the approach before acknowledging, “We just didn’t get it done [on Saturday].”

Nearly a year ago, Roper bolted Duke — a place he’d been for six seasons — for Florida’s risky but unique opportunity.

Roper was tasked with igniting a new ‘Run and Gun’ offense in Gainesville, knowing full well he was walking into a pressure-cooked situation.

Still, he relished the challenge, and despite a failed transition, Roper has no regrets.

“I haven’t had any second thoughts at all,” he said, while jokingly asking if anyone is interested in buying his home.

“Shoot, I thought this was a great opportunity. It’s a great place. I’d have liked to won more games and think we could’ve won more games and had some opportunities to win more games, but it’s the chosen profession.”

He said his focus is on Florida’s final two games (Eastern Kentucky and No. 2 Florida State), but admitted he’s never been in a lame-duck situation before.

“I’ve never been through this,” he said.

“To be honest with you, I think it gets harder a little bit as you go. It’s getting harder rather than easier because it’s just human nature. It is what it is. We want to go out there Saturday and have a plan, and not look like we didn’t have a plan. We’re working hard to prepare these guys and help them win a football game.”

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