UF football notebook: Murphy? Maybe

Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (3) and teammate Florida Gators defensive back Cody Riggs (31) leave the field after losing to South Carolina 19-14 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina Saturday, November 16, 2013.

Doug Finger/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 4:31 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 4:31 p.m.

Injured starting quarterback Tyler Murphy practiced Monday, but did not throw any passes and remains day-to-day with a sprained right shoulder.

“He was out there, just absorbing the game plan, jogging around,” UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease said Tuesday. “We don't really do much throwing anyway (on Monday), so he was in there, just taking normal reps.”

The coaches are expected to find out today or Thursday whether Murphy will be able to play in Saturday's game against Georgia Southern. UF coach Will Muschamp said the decision is in the hands of the doctors and trainers.

“Our medical staff clears people,” Muschamp said. “I don't have anything to do with it, nor does the player, other than his input of discomfort. Comfort is a huge issue in the throwing shoulder. If he says, 'I don't feel comfortable throwing,' then he's not going to play.

“It's up to our medical staff and Tyler. They come to me and say these are the situations. My whole issue with that is, is the player at risk of further injury by playing?

“If that's the case, then he's not going to play. That's the call that I make.”

Pease said the Gators are not proceeding in practice this week with the notion that Murphy will miss Saturday's game.

“No matter who steps under center (Murphy or redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg), he will manage the plan as it is,” Pease said.

Gators feeling some love

Despite UF's five-game losing streak, junior offensive tackle Max Garcia, a Maryland transfer, said the players are still feeling some love from Gator fans.

“After the game (Saturday night), it was raining when we came back from Columbia and there were about, I'd say, like eight to 10 Gator fans out there waiting with signs in the rain after we got off the bus,” Garcia said. “And I was like 'Wow, that's so uplifting.' You don't see that often. I've never seen that type of support before.

“You get tweets like, 'Oh, we're still behind you,' and stuff, but, when you see it actually in real life, our fans are still out there waiting for us. They didn't know when we were coming back, so they could have been out there for hours. Stuff like that, I really appreciate that, the team really appreciated that.”

That DT can catch

Much criticism has been directed at Muschamp over his decision to throw a pass to 305-pound defensive tackle Leon Orr on a failed fake punt in the fourth quarter against South Carolina. But Orr is quick to point out that he was a tight end in high school — and he always makes that catch in practice.

"It was definitely something that was familiar to me going out there,” Orr said. “But it's been a long time since I've been out there and jumped up there and tried to make a catch like that, so it was very exciting. I really think it was something I really needed to do just to let people know I am athletic and I can do those things."

Orr got his hands on the Trey Burton pass, but was unable to hang on to it.

“I wouldn't necessarily say I'm mad at myself, but I'm disappointed I didn't come up with it,” Orr said. “It was a big play and we needed it, so I'm pretty disappointed I didn't come up with the catch. But it was fun going out there and (attempting the play) live. We've practiced it a lot so it was good actually seeing it done.

“I think I've made (the catch) every time (in practice), not to brag or anything.”

Young receivers coming on

Two of Florida's five true freshman receivers — Ahmad Fulwood and Chris Thompson — have become more involved in the offense during the second half of the season.

“Ahmad has come on and put himself in the rotation and done a good job,” Pease said. “He's finally catching up to the speed of the game and gotten more consistent catching.

“Chris Thompson, he's not on the field as much, but what he's doing in practice and how he's playing the game now is good. He's improved, and it's hard to replace Solo (Solomon Patton) in there at times, but happy with what Chris is doing. He's catching the ball well. He's running well, playing fast and you can see some explosiveness.”

Another young receiver whose playing time has increased is true sophomore Latroy Pittman.

“When he's been in there he's done a good, consistent job,” Pease said. “He's starting to play the game faster. I think he's just playing with more confidence, so it's a matter of getting him in in those situations.

“He's got a high ceiling. I don't think he's reached it by any means. He's got a long way to go with consistency and being able to play.”

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