Florida coordinators Kurt Roper, D.J. Durkin evaluate units ahead of Alabama game

By Adam Silverstein
September 17, 2014

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media this week to provide some thoughts on the Gators and their first road opponent of 2014, the No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide, ahead of Saturday afternoon’s road game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.


» Roper on the challenges that Alabama’s defense provides: “These guys do a great job of contesting every pass. They like to press the receivers and pattern match a lot of things. They’re running with a lot of receivers. When we looked at the explosive plays, in a four-game breakdown, there were like 15 explosive passes, which are 16 yards or more for us. A lot of them, they’re just big-time plays by wide receivers with [defensive backs] right on them. They don’t give you a lot of layups. They’re hard to get separation from.

“They add the ability to rush the passer on top of that, shortening the time. Those are challenges. They’re physical up front and can get off blocks and make the run game difficult. They’re a well-coached defense, physical defense. It’s a challenge, an SEC football game in those standards, obviously playing one of the best minds in football between those guys on defense doing it and good football players. You see similarities to Florida State, but they all have their differences.”

» Roper on how much head coach Will Muschamp being familiar with Nick Saban helps him in preparation: “Obviously that’s helpful to have those conversations to maybe clarify some things as we start watching film, saying, ‘OK, why are they doing this? What’s going on here?’ So, you know obviously that is an advantage of things that are going on.”

» Roper on Saban’s past struggles when preparing for up-tempo offenses: “Obviously you hope that maybe causes some issues for a defense in communication and those type things. So it’s something that obviously we want to go in and try to get accomplished to try to play the game fast to maximize as many plays as we possibly can while being efficient. That’s the biggest thing that you look at against these guys is efficiency is not as high against other people.”

» Roper on whether he has been hiding features of Florida’s offense: “We’re trying to win the game at hand. Just like last week, I promise you I wasn’t hiding anything. We were trying to get as many points as we possibly could. A game dictates what take place. [The Wildcats] came out and were completely different than their first two games that we had watched on tape from this. They had changed, so all of a sudden we go to working as an offensive staff saying, ‘OK, what are the answers to what they’re doing?’ You don’t wait ’til halftime; you’re sitting there doing it immediately, so sometimes that’s what you see what you see during a game. We’re answering what they’re doing to us.”

» Roper on whether UF’s up-tempo style will help limit UA’s ability to rotate defensive linemen: “Maybe you get the chance to keep some guys on the field longer than they want to keep them on the field. It’s probably the biggest thing that you see. That’s what defensive coaches talk about, the inability to substitute some and keep guys fresh. It obviously gives you that advantage if you can stay on the field. It’s the challenge to put first downs together and these guys don’t give up a whole lot of first downs. They don’t make it easy.”


» Durkin on Florida’s secondary giving up big plays to Kentucky: “We made mistakes with our eye discipline. That was something we talked about going in the game: when you face a tempo team, you’ve got to get lined up and get your eyes in the right place and react and see it. On those particular plays we didn’t [do that], so that’s something obviously we’re working on to correct. … I think the guys, they played really hard, played with great effort. It was just a matter of – on those plays we weren’t looking at the right thing.”

» Durkin on the challenges presented by Alabama QB Blake Simms: “He’s very dangerous on his feet. He creates plays on the ground when the pocket breaks down. There are some designed runs to him, but I think sometimes when it’s not designed plays, they do a good job of moving the pocket with him. And I think he throws it well and delivers the ball well for them, too. He’s a dangerous guy, and we’ve got to be really conscious of where he’s at and containing him and keeping him in front of us because he can beat you either way – throwing or running it.”

» Durkin on the Crimson Tide’s offensive line: “They’re a physical unit. They want to establish the run, establish the line of scrimmage. That’s how they’ve always been. That’s what they hang their hat on offensively. We know that; it’s a big challenge for us. We’ve got to go play physical and control the line of scrimmage on our end.”

» Durkin on UF’s strong run defense standing up against UA’s talented running backs: “It’s a different challenge this week. I think these guys are far more committed to the run than the teams we’ve faced thus far. And so, they’ve got some very good, talented guys carrying the ball. They do a great job getting off blocks and tackling well and, you know, gang tackling, getting to the ball. They’re good enough to make guys miss and break tackles. We need more guys to get in there.”


  1. Gatorgrad79 says:

    Roper says on offense “we haven’t been holding anything back”, so that’s all we got?! God help us the rest of the year…..

  2. James Kaleb Wolfe says:

    Well this certainly wasn’t comforting to hear to say the least. I hope we can get D. Rob & Debose both in the slot & take their safeties straight up the field maybe run some corners route too and maybe just maybe Driskel can connect on some deep balls finally, plain & simple you’ve gotta throw the kitchen sneak at these guys. I sure wish we’d run the half back screen with Matt Jones just the way Bama loves to run that play seems like they used to run it every damn time they were in any 3rd & longs, I used to watch run that play against other teams & say just wait here it comes the ole half back screen pass they’d always end up gouging teams of course picking up the 1st down & then some but now they’ve got a very fast & dangerous receiving corp. I sure hope we run the hell out of Driskel if the zone read is there or use Treon Harris to run it I also sure wish we had D.J. Humphries back & of course Tight End Jake McGee going into this game along with our 2012 defense while we’re at it…… ughhhh signed by one very very concerned/Spooked Gator……

  3. cline says:

    I would expect that Robinson and Jones will be getting a lot of attention from the Bama defense. Hopefully our secondary options are ready to play.

    I think KT could be our x-factor get him in space and let him work. GO GATORS!

  4. aziatic41 says:

    I see Amari Cooper having a very big game this weekend. Our defense is vulnerable in the secondary and with Blake Sims being a dual-threat QB I see him causing some major problems for us. Think about how poorly we played against dual-threat QBs last year. I really want to see us mix it up more offensively. I know Robinson had a huge game last weekend but most of his catches where 2 yard horizontal passes from Driskel, which is just like a running play. A lot of Robinson’s yards were a result of secondary breakdowns by the UK defense. We need to get Debose and Powell more involved. Those are explosive guys that can hit the home run! Matt Jones is a good back but we need to score points. Pounding the rock with Matt Jones doesn’t do anything but eat up the clock and we end up stalling in the red zone, and the drives will usually end with a missed field goal. Wasted time and terrible philosophy by Muschamp. In general last week, our offense didn’t really look like an uptempo offense. The tempo was definitely not fast. If you watch good uptempo offenses like Texas A&M, Auburn and Oregon, those guys go very fast during the entire game unless they are winning and trying to kill the clock late in the 4th. Also, guys I still feel like Muschamp is controlling our offense and not Roper. Old school conservative, eat-the-clock-type of approach. Smh

    • James Kaleb Wolfe says:

      Oh yeah by the way weren’t we supposed to see Valdez Showers playing in the slot as well ??? Right?? Use your speed man damn Showers Debose Demarcus Robinson Brandon Powell? Speed kills if we can just create space and make some freaking YAC’s that’s what A&M is doing plus all the rest of the spread hurry up no huddle offenses out there we just don’t seem to share the fluidity that they seem to do before the season I pictured this no huddle auburn like spread no huddle utilizing a dual threat QB with a successful running game look at Tebow in Mullens or Gus Malzahn’s offense the QB doesn’t have to be dead on with the pass cuz of the running QB/RB threat defenses have to stay honest this harder to cover all these damn receivers running crossing & corner routes & bubble screens

    • DFWGator says:

      I’m just curious….but what would everyone like to see that would convince them that this is Roper’s offense?

      Is the magic number 800 yards per game? 1,000? Ninety-bajllion-points?

      I don’t remember seeing anything close to the vertical passing game we’ve had in the past two weeks, anytime in the past three years, or the noticeable variety in playcalling for that matter. Sure, the execution can improve, but if you don’t see the difference in strategy or playcalling I don’t understand what you’ve been watching. Or, for that matter, how anyone can complain about giving it to Matt Jones doesn’t score us points when he single handedly carried the game-winning drive in 3OT.

      Agree with you that we’re not really up-tempo yet, but I’m sure we’ll see more of that against Bama since they tend to struggle with that. I’m more concerned about the offense executing plays and blocking consistently than the tempo at which they run. Blocking was significantly worse against UK than it was against EMU. Need to be more consistent here.

      And Adam….count me as one in the silent minority. There are just way too many football-ignorant comments that get repeated on here by the trolls/haters/armchair coaches & QBs. Not enough time to debunk them all one by one.

    • J-skool says:

      Ever heard of VHIII?

  5. NoHuddleOffenso says:

    Debose needs touches on offense. This guy has world class speed and elite running ability with the ball. How about trying some wildcat with Debose as the QB. One crease and he’s taking it to the house! Jet sweeps, bubble screens, post routes. Heck even I know that and I’m not even a coach. Tired of Muschamp’s disgusting brand of ball. All he does is “talk.” Big mouth but can’t back it up.

  6. Mike The Red says:

    There is no telling how this game is going to go.

    Alabama is more vulnerable and Florida closer to pulling it all together than most acknowledge. Alabama has their own problems in the secondary, and their QB really isn’t proven. At the same time, Alabama will come prepared to play, and Florida needs to fix the well documented problems we saw last week. Anything could happen in this game.

    For what it is worth, I like Muschamp and want to see him succeed. I just want to see my Gators win!

    Go Gators.

  7. Joe says:

    There is no way Roper hasn’t been holding some of his offense back in preparation for this game. I think you all will be pleasantly surprised this week. JD will pull on read options, there will be some speed/jet sweeps with Andre D, we will hit our tight ends more and look for Powell to get the ball in some space. If you need proof just look at some of his games last season. Also that was the 2nd game in a brand new offense, definitely not as bad as years past when switching OC’s.

  8. Timmy T says:

    Go Gators!!

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