Tyler Murphy: Florida’s calm, cool quarterback


Florida quarterback Tyler Murphy throws the ball during the first half against Arkansas at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 4:08 p.m.

Playing quarterback can reveal character.

For instance, how does one react in the pocket when the pressure is on, when those angry defensive players are closing in fast and your team desperately needs you to make a play, a first down?

Do you panic and flee? Do you become flustered and rattled? Take the sack?

Or do you stay calm, stand tall and confidently deliver a play.

Florida redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy has not been in the pocket very long for the Gators, having started only two games. But that’s been enough to reveal his quarterback persona, his pocket presence, his character.

“He’s cool, calm and collected. That’s all I can say,” junior offensive guard Max Garcia said Tuesday. “He is in command of the offense. We just run smoothly with him.

“He’s so relaxed. It’s almost like he’s nonchalant. It’s crazy how he’s like that coming from a backup position. I was surprised when he got in there (in the Tennessee game) and we really got going.”

In the Kentucky game two weeks ago, Murphy said he felt some nerves early in the game. But that never showed in his play, in the way he handled himself. On his very first drive in his very first start, he calmly and confidently led the Gators on a 13-play, 93-yard touchdown drive in a hostile environment.

It’s been more of the same ever since, with Murphy displaying great confidence and awareness in the pocket as he’s effectively managed the offense through consecutive SEC victories over UK and Arkansas.

“He does have good pocket presence,” offensive coordinator Brent Pease said. “The way he’s maneuvering in there and feeling the pressure but keeping his eyes downfield, that’s something we work on in drills. I think how he’s handling it, he’s being very reactive to it yet he’s still processing what’s going on downfield. Is that him as a person? Yeah, kind of.”

Murphy’s teammates say he’s the same person on the field and off.

Calm. Confident. Smart. Never gets flustered. Never gets angry.

Senior defensive back Jaylen Watkins said he’s never seen Murphy get angry or lose his composure in the year he’s been his roommate.

“No, I haven’t seen him get upset about anything,” Watkins said. “We can pick on him all day, and he still just laughs it off. I’ve never had an altercation with Tyler as my roommate.”

Said senior wide receiver Solomon Patton, who caught two touchdown passes from Murphy in the Gators’ 30-10 win over Arkansas: “He’s always been that kind of calm guy. He’s just a really good guy.”

Despite his calm and non-confrontational nature, Murphy has already become a team leader, his teammates say. He leads like he plays, apparently.

“Tyler’s really not the kind of guy (who would yell at you),” Patton said. “He talks to you. He’s calm. I think that’s really how it should be. I don’t think it takes a guy to get in your face and yell. I think you can talk to a guy calmly to get your point across.”

Murphy does have a way of getting his across, Pease said.

“I think you guys see him as a pretty relaxed guy, but hey, he’s not afraid to say something now,” Pease said. “I’m not comparing him to any NFL guys. Peyton Manning is a nice guy, but he’s not afraid to say something to a coach or player, like, ‘Hey, let’s get it right.’ He’s like that. You know he cares. He’s working, he’s working to be perfect. You can’t ever be perfect, but you work for perfection to achieve excellence. That’s where he’s at.”

Murphy said he tries to lead by example.

“I’m more of a guy who just likes to go out, work hard and show by example,” he said. “I’m a very encouraging guy. I’m not a guy that’s going to scream and yell and curse other players out. If a guy misses a block or drops a ball, I try to encourage him, ‘Hey, we’ll get it the next play.’

“You’re already getting enough people yelling at you. That’s the coaches’ job. I just try to be an encouraging teammate.”

Murphy’s demeanor on the field seems no different than his demeanor off it.

He seems poised, confident and composed.

Pease was asked if Murphy’s calm demeanor will be an asset in a hostile environment at LSU on Saturday.

“We’re going to find out,” he said. “I think the kid’s realistic to all situations. I don’t see him getting flustered. He’s demanding of himself. He’s demanding of what he wants from coaches, too. And he’s demanding from his teammates.

“He’s stepping up to be a leader more and more every time. I like what he’s doing. I like how he’s approaching everything and still trying to make himself better. The biggest thing when you get in a spot like he’s in is to still remain humble. I haven’t really said anything to him about that because I think he has that in him naturally.”

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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