Pease preaching consistency to Murphy
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 7:47 p.m.
In preparing quarterback Tyler Murphy to make his first collegiate start Saturday night at Kentucky, Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease is offering some simple advice to the redshirt junior: be yourself.
Practice like you've been practicing every day for the past two years. Play like you did this past Saturday against Tennessee. Carry yourself like you always have, with poise and a quiet confidence.
“The first thing I told him was, 'Listen, don't ever change now what you've done to this point. Because you've still prepared. You've still worked hard. Obviously, you're going to for 80 snaps in this game, you've got to make good decisions. Not always the right decisions, but good decisions. And that's what I'm asking you to do,' ” Pease said.
“I said, 'I'm not asking you to change how you act, how you prepare or who you are as a player. Don't (think you have to) do something different, because what you did the other day is good. You get better, more consistent. Now go do it for 80 plays.' ”
Pease said that so far, this has been just like any other game week for Murphy. What he accomplished in Saturday's win over Tennessee, what he's facing in Lexington, has not changed his demeanor or approach, Pease said.
“I think he's always prepared like he was going to be the starter and it's always the same pattern that he's been on,” Pease said. “Every day I watch him come out to practice and he hits that line (during wind sprints). When he was the No. 3 guy last year, he hit that line, he ran. Just like coach wants him to. Never complained or anything.
“All through spring. When he hit the line, he knows he's No. 2, he ran. I watched him come out Monday. Hit that line, he ran. It's never changed to him. I'm not taking a different approach to how I coach him, teach him.”
Pease said Murphy has been preparing himself for this opportunity for the past two years, even though at times it looked like it may never come. Now that it is here, Murphy will be ready to handle it and make the most of it, Pease said.
“Tyler's been in there. He's a mature kid,” Pease said. “He is probably going to have some good energy in himself to go out there and just understand, know what he has to deal with from start — snap one. So, he'll be fine. That's just his demeanor. That's his personality. It's business as usual. Now it's just him doing it, his approach.”
In his sudden call to duty last Saturday after starter Jeff Driskel went down with a broken lower right leg, Murphy did not play like a career backup who had never thrown a pass in his college career.
He made plays running and throwing, scored two touchdowns, converted some big third downs and led the Gators on three long scoring drives.
If that is Murphy being himself, maybe that's why his coaches and teammates have been expressing such confidence in him since Saturday's game.
“When he's at practice, he practices like he's the starter,” offensive guard Max Garcia said. “When we do pre-game walk-throughs at the hotel on Friday nights, he's locked in. He's very knowledgeable about the offense. I feel just as comfortable with Tyler Murphy as I was with Driskel.”
The goal Saturday night in Lexington is to make sure Murphy is comfortable in his first career start.
With that in mind, Pease said the offense will basically be the same, but will be adjusted in some areas to fit the things Murphy does well.
“Maybe he likes throwing a slant pass more than a deep out or something,” Pease said. “Jeff liked deep outs. We might have more of that concept in there, you know. Maybe he likes play-action more than drop-backs or something.
“If he sees those concepts fitting him better or we see them fitting him better, then that's what we'll do a little bit more. We always have a good mixture of that anyway, but it's just going to be some things that he feels comfortable with executing."
Kentucky's goal, of course, will be to try and make the first-time starter feel as uncomfortable as possible.
“I would expect they would have some pressure scheme, the fact that he stepped up and ran the ball they're probably going to have someone that's holding in a pattern to be looking for him and be accountable for him scrambling,” Pease said. “Doing what he did there with that also makes the defense accountable for not pressuring at times. We've got to do a good job of kind of anticipating that ourselves.”
Pease said if Murphy is himself, and goes out and plays like he did against UT, he'll be tough to defend.
“He made some critical throws, and he used his feet,” Pease said. “Now, a defense has to go back and say, this kid can hurt us with his feet. OK, he's a smart kid getting us into right plays when we need to. And he made some big throws. Now are you going to be able to stop all of those? You have to still be able to take advantage of it. For him, he needs to continue to do that.”
Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.