Josh Kendall

Shaw delighted by hiring of Kurt Roper

Former South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw
Former South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw PSP IMAGES

When Kurt Roper first took a job with the Cleveland Browns, Connor Shaw leaned on him for a lot of advice. Now, Roper is leaning on Shaw.

“He’s asking me about restaurants, places to live, everything,” Shaw said. “He’s so excited, and I’m so excited for him for that opportunity. I’m super stoked about Coach Roper getting there.”

Roper will finish the season as the Browns senior offensive assistant, and then officially become South Carolina’s offensive coordinator. He already has the seal of approval from the school’s all-time winningest quarterback.

“After I got to spend this year with him, I realized he’s one of the most brilliant offensive minds I’ve ever been around,” Shaw said. “He’s been a godsend for me and all the other quarterbacks.”

Shaw is in his second year as a reserve quarterback with the Browns. He first met Roper this summer during a mini-camp for rookies shortly after Roper was hired.

“They needed a quarterback, so of course I did it to get some more work in,” Shaw said. “Roper was the kind of guy I could lean on to help me. We have a rookie coordinator, and I had to learn a new offense. Protections was the main thing. He understands quarterback play. He understands the operation from holding the huddle, to calling out a play, to reading the defense and setting up your protection. He understands it all.”

Roper’s offense at South Carolina will be balanced, Shaw believes.

“I think it’s going to be a good mixture of some spread and some pro-style offense,” Shaw said. “If I’m a quarterback being recruited, my eyes are definitely going to pop around Kurt Roper because he’s going to do what it takes to get you ready for the next level.”

Roper was Muschamp’s offensive coordinator at Florida in 2014, and before that spent six seasons as an assistant to David Cutcliffe at Duke. Shaw has not spoken to Muschamp since the head coach was hired on Dec. 7, but plans to reach out when Cleveland’s season is complete.

“I’m really liking the staff Coach Muschamp is putting together,” Shaw said. “Obviously he’s an intense guy with a lot of experience in the SEC, and had a lot of success in the SEC and before that in Texas. I really believe they can get it done and get the right guys in the building. I am excited to see what he can do there.”

Shaw is on the injured reserve because of a thumb injury. He cannot practice with the team while on injured reserve, but was recently cleared to resume a throwing program.

“I’m still on the IR, but at least I’m able to do something,” he said.