Roper's offense ready to go
Published: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 4:35 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 4:35 p.m.
The buzz coming out of the Florida football camp about the new spread offense has grown louder and more positive as the start of the season has drawn nearer.
And the fans have tuned into it:
Jeff Driskel is in the perfect offense for his skill set and he’s flourishing. The wide receivers are making plays and catching lots of deep balls. The Gators are deep and talented at tailback. Virginia transfer Jake McGee is a difference-maker at tight end. The offensive line is healthy and holding up fine.The Gators are piling up lots of yards and touchdowns.
Of course, the more good stuff the fans hear, the higher the expectations rise — and they are starting to soar at the moment, which may be a dangerous thing for a team coming off a 4-8 season that struggled to make first downs only eight or nine months ago.
But Kurt Roper, the coordinator behind the new UF offense, says he’s OK with the fans dreaming big and expecting big things out of the offense.
“I hope they're excited. I want them to be excited. I hope we meet the expectations,” Roper said Thursday. “I think whenever you are coaching at the University of Florida the expectations are to win football games, and so I think that's the bottom line.
“I hope we can do it with exciting offense and a lot of points. And, obviously, I don't want to let anybody down, much less the guys who you're working with all the time. So, we want to go out and play well. And I hope at the end of the day they're happy I'm here."
The players, both on offense and defense, have done nothing to calm the expectations of Roper’s offense. Dating back to the spring, the feedback has pretty much been all positive.
The Gators certainly seem confident about the capabilities of the offense.
“I think we have the players to really flourish in the system that we’re running,” Driskel said. “We have a lot of players that can make plays in space. Coach Roper is always uptempo. He’s always a positive guy, and we needed that around here. He’s not one to have an off day. He’s always going to be bringing the energy, and that’s what we need in a coach.
“I think our confidence comes from making a lot of plays. In the spring, we made a lot of big plays and that carried over to the summer. During camp, we had a really great, great camp. We protected the ball and made big plays. When you put those two things together, you’re going to be looking at a pretty good offense.”
But how good? No one knows for sure yet because the Gators have only run the offense in practice. And no one might not know even after this Saturday, or after the next, given the level of competition UF will be facing (Idaho and Eastern Michigan).
Saturday’s opener is a start, though.
“A lot of times game situations teach us what our guys are going to be good at and we can kind of manipulate as we go,” Roper said. “So I'm anxious to see how we play.
“When the lights come on, that changes everything. It makes it real. You learn about players individually, how they handle it. You learn if some of the schemes that you've been teaching are ready to go.”
The players say it’s go time for Roper’s offense.
“I think we’re more talented this year. I think we know what we’re doing a little bit more this year,” Driskel said. “The more time you put in, the more time you spend together, the more confident you’re going to be.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or email@example.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.