Offensive players enjoying new scheme

Valdez Showers spent the three months from Kurt Roper's hiring to spring practice watching every game Duke played last season multiple times. He got lost in the film at times, imagining himself as the Duke player lined up in his position on the field. The more Showers and the rest of the offensive players on the Florida roster watched, the more impressed they became with the offense Roper runs.

And then there's the tempo. Duke hurried to the ball before looking to the sideline to get a signal and running the next play. The Florida players are working on that tempo in practice now, but even with only four practices and plenty of time watching film, the Gators are getting excited about the scheme Kurt Roper has them running.

"I like the up-tempo style," Valdez Showers said. "It's like (Roper) can give you 1,000 plays out of one look and you would never know. He disguises it well."

From the first time the Florida offense met with Roper, they started to realize his attention to detail. He demands perfection from every part of his offense, and it's easy to see that on the practice field. There is rarely a doubt where Roper is on the field. Every snap is spent teaching, sometimes in a louder tone than others.

But he's always present and vocal with his teaching. The players knew that was coming since they originally met him.

"He's going to be on you about the little things," Florida receiver Ahmad Fulwood said. "It's the details that matter. When he talks to us in offensive meetings, he's always talking about technique and little things even like tucking in our shirts. To the public that might not seem like a big deal, but having our offense together as one makes a difference."

The key to the offense is the speed. The Gators have enough to use on the perimeter, getting the ball into the hands of their playmakers and allowing them to make defenders miss at the line of scrimmage.

But the speed also helps before the snap. Florida offense is designed to hurry and line up before looking at the sideline and getting a signal to indicate the play. It limits substitutions for the opposing defense and keeps them from getting a chance to catch their breath.

Last season, the Florida players felt overwhelmed at times. The play calls were long and limited the team's ability to use tempo. This season, the players will simply look at the sideline to get the play before each snap.

"Check with the sideline and go. When you don't have to think, it makes everything easier," Showers said with a laugh. "It makes it easier to play, and it makes it easier to make plays. We just go out there and be competitive."

Showers is a key component to the 2014 offense

The ease of pre-snap reads is the best part for the players. Now they're not overwhelmed with learning long play calls.

"It's the speed and simplicity," Showers said. "Everybody knows their job, where they're going and what to do. You just do your job and then make the play. The way that the offense is set up, it's for us to make plays and to be aggressive. We're going to take shots down the field."

The defensive players see the change, too.

After the Gators faced multiple teams last season that utilized an up-tempo offense, it was difficult to simulate that in the week of practices heading into that game. That caused cramping issues for the Florida defense on Saturdays. With the offensive change this season, the hope is that it will better prepare the defense for what it sees a majority of Saturdays with the uptick in quick tempo offenses across the country.

"It's definitely a change," Florida safety Marcus Maye said. "Everybody seems to like it. They're moving very well with a lot of fast pace, spread out. Everybody's excited about Coach Roper."

The offense has only had four practices to install the scheme. They've spent long hours in the film room and studying the playbook to lessen the learning curve on the field, but even with the four practices, the players are optimistic about what the team looks like.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said the offense has four days of installation compared to the four years the Florida defense has in the same scheme. But the offensive players remain excited about what they're doing with the ball.

"We have enough stuff right now to play every team on our schedule right now and put up Ws against them," Fulwood said. "We have a lot of stuff in. We've transferred it really well, learning it from him and putting it on the field in full practices."

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