Report: Florida hires Duke's Roper as new OC

MARK LONG AP Sports Writer Published:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida coach Will Muschamp has reportedly hired Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper for the same position with the Gators.

ESPN first reported the hire Tuesday, saying Roper is expected to stay with the Blue Devils through the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31.

Florida officials declined comment.

Roper will replace Brent Pease, who was fired the day after Florida completed its first losing season since 1979. Florida's offense ranked in the triple digits nationally for the third consecutive year.

The hire is considered the most important in Muschamp's tenure, a choice that surely will impact whether the head coach sticks around beyond 2014.

If Florida doesn't show significant improvement in Muschamp's fourth year -- he is 22-16 through three seasons -- athletic director Jeremy Foley almost certainly will clean house.