Grier familiar with Roper, excited about hire


Duke’s Kurt Roper was officially announced as Florida’s new offensive coordinator Thursday.

On a conference call, the 2013 Broyles Award finalist said he didn’t know much about UF’s personnel other than Jeff Driskel.

However, Roper is also familiar with another quarterback who will arrive in Gainesville a few days after he does.

Florida commit Will Grier of Davidson (N.C.) Day has crossed paths with Roper on a handful of occasions.

Grier threw for Roper at one of his practices and spent some one-on-one time with him during a spring visit to Duke.

But their first meetings came on the gridiron.

Grier attended Duke’s summer camp as a freshman and sophomore.

At both sessions, he was coached by Roper in speed and agility drills, positional training and 7-on-7 competition.

Davidson (N.C.) Day coach Chad Grier won three consecutive state championships with his son, Florida quarterback commit Will Grier. (Photo courtesy of Grier)

“They have a pretty intense camp,” said Grier’s father and high school coach, Chad. “It’s a full-day deal, and they work them. So Will got that experience with him, and it certainly went well. He was very impressed with him.”

Grier said his son, an Army All-American who enrolls early at UF on Jan. 6, has remained fully committed to the Gators despite the change at offensive coordinator and is looking forward to Roper being his position coach.

“From Will’s perspective, he was committed to the school and football program regardless of who it was,” the elder Grier said. “He felt like he was versatile enough to fit whatever system came in. But coach Muschamp believes he got the right guy.

“Coach Roper has a great reputation for developing quarterbacks. Certainly his experience with Eli Manning is well documented. He’s not a one-trick pony. He’s done multiple things based on the talent he had.

“Will’s got a very high opinion of coach Roper, his track record and what he’s done at Duke and everywhere else. We’re excited to have him in place at Florida, and Will is ready to go to work.”


  1. Maybe we can have a positive outlook on this! Everyone needs to move past last year. It’s a new season and we all need to rally around the team (yes tha includes the coach). If we just wait for the team to slip up they will. Can’t wait to see the new offense! Go Gators

  2. I hope Coach Roper will be able to come in and help develop Driskel and Grier to the next level. It looks like we may finally have some receivers with the work of Coach Phillips. I am surprised though he wasn’t considered for the OC job. We may have finally have our quarterback(s)be able to through the ball to the receivers, even in tight spots. With a running game looking bright, the offense may finally get to rolling again.

  3. I agree TampaGator. Will has been spot on every since he committed w/ no sign of ever wavering. I think he will be a positive force in bringing UF back from the depths of despair. I’m pumped for the spring to begin to see what the offense will look like. Let’s hope he (Roper) can develop Driskel into the player we all know he can be. GO GATORS!!!

  4. Unlike Dooley and others, I don’t think Driskel can play. The system doesn’t matter, he lacks poise. Some guys have the “it” factor, like Tebow, Driskel doesn’t have it and I don’t think coaching will change that. Like the Jaguars with Gabbart, the sooner the Gators give up on hoping Driskel will be good the better. It is not a good thing to pin your hopes on a freshman, but at least Grier will enroll early and is familiar with Roper. I could be wrong, but I have seen no evidence to make me believe that Driskel will ever be anything other than what he appears to be. You know the old saying: “If it walks like a duck…”

  5. One other thing. Maybe last year’s Spring practice game was a harbinger of the season to come. Have you ever seen such a travesty, let’s hope that Muschamp will give the fans something that resembles a game this year. I don’t know what he was thinking last year, but would you show up to see such a display this year?

  6. Living in North Carolina’s Triangle the past 17 yrs, I’ve gotten a close look at Duke football for a long time. Coach “Cut” and his staff had no indoor facilities, an 80-yd practice field, a dilapidated 33,000 seat stadium, and a small budget. The staff’s and team’s accomplishments — they have ONE player who was a 4-star recruit– are remarkable. The program and facilities have been transformed. Kurt Roper, who’s been vital at Duke, will open up the Gators’ passing game and offense. He’ll find more athletic talent when he walks through the front door at UF than he’s ever had before.

  7. One more note: there’s a reason both Peyton and Eli Manning do their off season preps at Duke each spring, Coach Cut, but Roper’s been there, too. We’ll like having this guy developing our QBs and offense.

  8. I choose to be positive. The Gators were 11-1 and a fumble at the Georgia 2 yd line kept us from the SEC Championship game. Injuries destroyed the team this season, not coaching. I am in Champs corner. Go get the best OL coach out there because that is where it all begins. I support Roper, now go get the recruitsm get our current guys healthy, and load up for a killer schedule. Go Gators!

  9. Let Grier red shirt. He should see no parts of any game this season. Let him adjust and learn the system without any pressure. The Gators will be better off in the long run. See Johnny Football and Jameis Winston.

    Grier sticking to his commitment isn’t all that it seems. His fiancee attends UF. It’s love of a woman, not loyalty to the program that makes him unwavering.

  10. @Snowprint, I don’t think you give Driskel enough credit. I have already seen plenty to suggest that given the right coaching and the right push, Driskel could be a great QB. Talk about poise, I’ve never seen anyone show more poise than he did 2012 against UT when he threw that perfect pass to Reed after turning around to see 2 UT defenders right in his face. Or @TAMU when the pocket started to close in around him and he perfectly stepped up in the pocket and through a great pass to Hines. (I’d give you some examples from this year but those exampes are from games I remembered and watched multiple times and quite frankly I think I’d prefer to forget this season haha) I admit he hasn’t seem to be able to put it all together yet, but he has shown flashes of being everything we need in a playmaker. Everyone knows he can run, but he also has a big arm and is deadly accurate. Now I’m tired of talking about seeing flashes. It’s past time he put up or sit down. Hopefully Roper can guide him to the putting up part. We’ll see.

  11. In my opinion Driskel’s problem is #1 he got thrown into the fire as a young freshman against Bama on National TV and never got to adjust to the program; #2 he changed OC’s and then shared reps with Brissett and did not get all the reps and then changed OC’s again with Pease. Driskel’s strong suit is athletic ability, size, speed and arm strenght. His weakness appears to be the decision making process.

    Let’s hope Roper can develop him and above all else let’s hope Champ stays out of the offensive meetings the same way the Ol Ball Coach stays out of the defensive meetings. Go Gators.

  12. I agree that Driskell has skills and potential and ability. Hopefully this next season he can stay healthy, and has leanrned by unfortunately sitting out and watching most of last season. I guarantee you he has done his homework in the film room. I think he will be ready mentally to go when given the OK by the doctors. Hopefully the bandwagon bashers of Driskell will change their opinion later in the spring and into the fall. Go Gators.

  13. I think that both Driskel and Murphy suffered from a poor pass-blocking OL. You get hit enough times, you start to look for the pass rush instead of looking downfield. Driskel started off well last year, but as the hits mounted, he got jittery in the pocket. Murphy kept his eyes downfield well the first few games this year, but as he kept getting hit, he started to look for the pass rush and started failing to see open receivers. If we want any of our QB’s to develop, we have to protect them well enough that they don’t think they’re going to get hit every play.

  14. Jeff…..good sumation on Driskel & Murphy. Probably true. I never thought highly of Driskel’s overall ability to make things go. Some think he’s “fast”, but there’s a difference between fast and quick. Yes, once Driskel gets into the open fiels, he can move quite well. But in the pocket he plods and and moves rather slowly with bothe feets and arms.

  15. When I read that Driskel is “deadly accurate” and has poise, I think we’re not talking about the same person. He made some plays against Miami this year, I guess he had poise then, but he also loses his mind when pressured. You are judged on the present, not the past, and the last play Driskel made against Tennessee is who he is. He has a two cent head. He has given up an opportunity to play baseball. He is now eligible to be drafted by the NFL, I don’t need to tell you that he is not a threat to turn pro. Out West, Winston will be the first person taken in the draft whenever he choose to come out. If you don’t believe that, you are ignorant. The point is that he still plays baseball to have options, which is a smart thing to do. Driskel is not smart enough to play quarterback on a high level. To keep expecting him to become a great quarterback is silly, wake up and smell the coffee.

  16. From what I’ve seen of summer camps and clinics. Grier looks like he could be special. He looks like he’s further along then UGA’s Murray was as a freshman. I can’t wait to see him sling it in the spring.

  17. Not smart enough to play quarterback on a high school level? Yeah because it’s not like he was the number 1 QB coming out of high school! HA. Wake up bro. Question his ability to read the defense and poise all you want, but denying his accuracy is just stupid. Just watch him play for 2 seconds and you see he can put the ball precisely where he wants to. I can point to dozens of plays, the best being at FSU 2012 when he threaded the needle perfectly on a pass between 2 FSU defenders straight to Dunbar. The biggest knock on Driskelm has been his ability to read the field, but never has he ever been inaccurate. Talk about the play he got injured? I’d like to see you throw a good pass while your leg is snapping. Go back and watch that play. He had the receiver, so it wasn’t a bad decision but the hit affected the throw enough to give the defender a play on the ball. Again I KNOW Driskel hasn’t put it together yet. that’s obvious, but he has shown the flashes to let you know he CAN do it. He just needs the right push. Maybe Roper will be that right push. If not, well then it’s probably time for him to accept the fact that it seems he just can’t put it together. But don’t take away from everything he CAN do just because you feel like being negative.

  18. Driskel has show flashes of Tebow like ability when allowed to run and not told to stay in the pocket. What pocket? Right. Tebow actually had a decent offensive line to play behind.

    Debose has show flashes of Percy Harvin like ability. Just look at the You Tube videos. What other receiver in the country had 65 yard touchdown catches against the two best teams(Alabama and LSU) in 2011?

    I agree offensive line improvement should be a top priority in 2014.

  19. Driskel is accurate sometimes. Just like Debose shows flashes. The thing is that both are not consistent. If Driskel was accurate, UF would have won at Miami. The bomb he completed would have been an easy touchdown if he was accurate. He later missed a wide open receiver in the end zone. If you choose to remember the preseason predictions for the Gators last year was that they would be very good if they can get improved play from the quarterback. That was the biggest question about the Gators. This after winning 11 games. Why would anyone say that about a quarterback who just won 11 games? Because they saw him play. Going into next year, there are a lot of other questions about the Gators since they only won four games. But the biggest question mark remains whether there will be any improvement at quarterback. Finally, Driskel had no way of knowing his leg would be broken, he simply lost his mind and threw the ball up for grabs when pressured. That tells me he didn’t learn anything from the Miami game when he did exactly the same thing. He gets no credit for making a bonehead play because he was injured on it.

  20. hope grier works out, nice pic of him and his dad, looks like a qb, havent seen a gator qb smiling since teebs. come back teebs! muschamp needs to be hands off with the new oc and let him do his thing good or bad so we can pinpoint where the problem is. everything starts and ends with the o line though.. if we dont get some depth and talent and a good line coach and a good strength coach none of the rest of it means diddly squat anyway.. and not just the biggest or the pundits blue chip lineman either. need some guys who can actually think and make quick decisions and read a d scheme and are tough and not coming in from hs already damaged with previous injuries. ill trade off a few pounds and inches and a star or two for some smarts and toughness and someone who really wants to be a gator instead of just looking for a 2 year ticket to nfl millions. really stinks sitting here listening to these nobodies in bowl games while the once mighty gators are on vacation, bowless for the first time since forever. guess champy will have lots of privacy hangin at the cabin since his stinkin fsu buddy is a little busy gettin ready 4 the nc, which is a joke anyway since they didnt play anybody including us. talk about an epically fast fall from grace. go gators,,, hope he proves me wrong but i think muschamp is gone next year, stinkin bulldog double agent, was a loser there as a player, ran the texas d into the ground b4 fooley snaps him up acting like hes a slam dunk and now hes trashed our program, losing to gsu, what a disgrace. welll uh they run the veer, what?, lamest excuse ever. the guys half mental and just knows to much about how to lose. we need a winner… anybody realize that without just 2 guys, danny and tim, we probably wouldnt have won much of anything ever?

  21. Have you ever tried to throw a ball while getting hit? He may not have known his leg was about to break, but he certainly felt it as he was letting the ball go. As I said earlier, go back and watch the tape. The receiver was open if he was able to put it where he waned it to (with the zip he wanted) but then he got hit, and it affected the throw so the defender could make a play. Driskel’s not the only QB to be picked off because a hit affected his throw. It happens all the time. I don’t disagree that he is inconsistent. My only point is he has the skills to becomes a great QB with the right push> I’m NOT saying he’s already there. I, too, am tired of seeing flashes and ready to see him consistently play to his potential. But don’t take away from what he does do well because you’re mad he’s not Tebow.

  22. Here’s some questions for you “knowledgeable” posters. Why did Meyer recruit Brantly for his spread when anyone with a little football sense could see Brantly was the worse spread QB ever? Then why would Meyer recruit Driskel when he’s not much better? Then why would WM install Driskel in a Pro offense when he was recruited for the spread? Look at Meyer’s recruits now at OU. Braxton Miller and his sub would be great for UF.

  23. Come on guys let’s stop making excuses for driskell. He is a bad qb. he threw bad picks against ga. and Miami when he could have been a hero he showed that he is nothing but a goat. He is a good runner but does not have the skills mentally to take us where we want to go. I say give grier the keys from the start and lets live and die with him.

  24. By the end of his career he probably will be better than Driskel. Heck he might be better than Driskel the second he steps on campus. But what if he’s not. Are you really telling me you’d rather play a freshman who’s not ready to play and risk ruining his confidence over a redshirt junior who is better prepared just because that junior hadn’t been Tom Brady?? I wouldn’t. I’m in favor of letting the best player play. If it’s Driskel then start him. If it’s Grier then start him. But you don’t start a guy based on potential. Look Roper is great at training QBs. He’s got an impressive track record. Can’t we at least give him 1 off season to work with our QBs before we rush to judgment?

  25. Not betting on JD to take us anywhere. I know that he will get the start. More concerned that Murphy left; much better qb than JD. Much better. Curious to learn why he left and did he not think that he was going to get a fair chance to compete and play. Maybe not. Until JD can show he can play at a consistently high level every Saturday don’t see us winning many games in 2014.

  26. Well remember this is the same QB we had when we went 11-2. I’d like to see him play more consistently as well but let’s not pretend that we can’t win with him. And as I said earlier give Roper an offseason to work with our QBs before we jump to any conclusions about who can and can’t do what. Roper has a proven track record developing QBs so let’s just wait and see where our QBs are at the start of the season.

  27. I think I am to the point of where I think I am going to quit reading these negative postings. If “Gator Fans” aren’t bashing Muschamp, in this column,the negative comments are all on bashing Driskell. New additions to the coaching staff with the firing of Pease, the o-line, and the special teams coach and a new o-line coach on the way. Why can’t people give it a rest and see what happens with Roper, spring ball, and fall practice, and the new season before keeping all this negativity?

  28. Back to the negative postings, I am so glad I do not do Facebook. I read the negative postings on these articles in and I read the Facebook comments at the end and they almost sicken me to a degree. The negative comments and postings about Muschamp and Driskell are just relentless, they just do not stop. It’s continuous. All of this is unreal. If I was a recruit and offers to go just about anywhere, all of these negative comments and bashings about Muschamp and Driskell would push me away to another school where there is more support.

  29. Thank you GoGator! I agree completely! No matter how you feel about Muschamp or Driskel, relentless negativity won’t change the fact that they’ll be Gators next year! Might as well give it a rest and see what we have when fall comes around. Go Gators!

  30. Arizona_Gator, thank you for agreeing with me about all of the negativity about WM and JD. Can you imagine the power and strength Gator Nation could develop if ALL OF US would get behind the Gators COMPLETELY AS ONE, with no negativity and vocally support our Gators in UNISON AS ONE, this upcoming season. Texas A&M has their 12th man and they cheer loudly the whole game and what about Death Valley at LSU. I really believe the team as a whole would really respond and bring their effort to a new level, if they knew they had the TOTAL SUPPORT OF GATOR NATION.

  31. I really don’t think that Florida Field is an intimidating place to play anymore, which is really sad. I think all of the negativity that permeates Gator Nation is partially responsible for that. There’s a saying “One rotten apple can ruin the whole barrel” sort of explains it. Gator Nation really needs to embrace the concept of being positive and supporting the program versus the concept of being negative and not supporting the program. Attendance has dropped a lot the past couple of years and so called Gator Fans have resorted to BOOING the team, which is disgraceful. I have been a Gator fan since 1966 and I have never BOOED the team once. I have been unhappy from time to time and I’ve never BOOED these young men.

  32. I compared Driskell’s stats versus Danny Wuerful’s, Tebow and Spurrier’s stats up to now and the stats are very interesting. I didn’t even bother to look up Shane Matthew’s, Doug Johnson’s, Terry Dean’s, or Wayne Peace’s stats. I really don’t think Driskell is as bad a QB as the negative Gator fans have made him out to be. Driskell became a target for these negative Gator fans and it was not justified. I do not expect total perfection from the Gators, never have and expecting perfection is just illogical. I see plenty of turnovers in the NFL.

  33. I love college football and I love the Florida Gators and I have never had a terrible time at Florida Field, even after a bitter loss. To me all losses are bitter, but throughout my life I have learned to count my blessings and what is important in life, priority wise considering everything. I think most of these negative Gator fans have no joy in their life, to stay so negative. I guess a lot of people have to tear somebody down in order to build themselves up. I also think it is fashionable to cut down and criticize anybody in the social media, with no regard to the feelings and reputations of those being criticized and their families. I trust Jeremy Foley in running the program and I pray that if the day ever comes when I start bashing the team, players, and coaches publically, etc. I will find a new hobby.

  34. Hey I love Driskell, but he needs a lot of work. I say let’s let them battle it out in the spring. That is fair enough. But if Grier proves to be the better coming out of spring ball then give him the keys and lets go win some ball games. We will start the season out with a patsy for him to get his feet wet. If he doesn’t start then muschamp please get him in the game so he can be ready when we need him.

  35. Dkitch, I agree with you that Muschamp needs to get a backup QB ready to go, with meaningful snaps in practice and some snaps (throwing) in the opening games, not just handing off to the RB’s. Hopefully Driskell will stay healthy. I also hope Muschamp and the staff can figure out the cause of the injuries, if it was due to anything involved in the weight lifting and the conditioning program. If so, I hope Muschamp will address that., make changes, whatever. GoGators.

  36. Driskel has skill, He’s a spread QB, now he can see his receivers before he drops back to throw. He can have more time to view the defenses when the ball is snapped. Grier loves to throw he’s a great QB, but Florida has a lot of talent coming in. They stole a 4 star FSU commitment which is a play maker on the outside. They have a great chance of landing Ermon Lane an Amazing playmaker! Along with that a healthy Matt Jones next year and a Healthy True Sophmore Taylor at the HB position! Let alone a Relentless Defense! Don’t doubt the gators. They have one of the best recruiting states in the country and a great coaching staff. Driskel will shock a lot of people next year! Don’t be shocked!