Murphy ready to fill in at QB
Published: Friday, August 2, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 11:55 p.m.
Florida coaches expect quarterback Jeff Driskel to recover in time from his recent appendectomy to start the Aug. 31 opener against Toledo.
But when UF's camp starts Friday, redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy will be taking snaps with the first-team offense. Like most backup quarterbacks, Murphy's career has been a study in perseverance. He considered transferring, but has stuck it out despite appearing in just three games (two at quarterback, one at receiver) in his UF career.
“I feel like I'm ready,” Murphy said. “I've worked very hard on and off the field, in the film room. I feel like a lot of my teammates have confidence in me. I feel like my coaches have confidence in me and it's my job to continue to build that confidence within my team and coaches.”
Most fans know Murphy from UF's spring games. He has yet to attempt a pass in a regular-season game, but has shown flashes of ability to move the offense in the spring. In UF's 2011 spring game, Murphy completed 7 of 11 passes for 68 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
But that hasn't convinced coaches to give Murphy a meaningful shot in the fall. He's been stuck behind John Brantley, Jacoby Brissett and Driskel on the depth chart during his career.
“It's not fun sitting on the bench and you want to be out there playing,” Murphy said. “I just took it as a learning tool. It's very humbling. And you just really have to mentally keep working, keep going at it and have faith that you'll have your chance.”
Florida coach Will Muschamp said Murphy is UF's “clear-cut backup” ahead of quarterbacks Skyler Mornhinweg, Chris Wilkes and Max Staver. Muschamp also mentioned the Gators will turn to senior Trey Burton in some direct-snap packages at quarterback.
Murphy has earned the respect of his teammates by not pouting over limited playing time.
“He's really attacked the offseason, and it's showed,” Driskel said. “He's definitely going to get more reps than he thought here to start camp. He's going to have to make plays and I believe he can.”
A Westerfield, Conn., native, Murphy was recruited by former UF assistant (and current Boston College coach) Steve Addazio. Far from home and with no initial connection to UF's current coaching staff, Murphy thought about leaving the Gators for a school closer to home. But after talking things over with his family, Murphy decided to stay at UF to earn his degree.
“To me, it was more a pride thing,” Murphy said. “I didn't want to leave and say I quit and didn't give it my best chance.”
Murphy is hoping that decision will pay off and that he'll get a chance to make some meaningful throws this season. To help prepare for the season, he attended former Gator quarterback John Brantley Sr.'s quarterback camp in Ocala.
“I've just been working on my footwork, trying to get the ball out of my hands quicker,” Murphy said. “There's been times coaches have gotten on me in the spring for holding onto the ball too long. Just getting the timing down with the receivers and understanding the offense more as a whole.”