Friday, November 24, 2017
Colleges

Driskel injury gives Murphy chance for reps at QB

RECOMMENDED READING


GAINESVILLE — Tyler Murphy worked hard in the offseason hoping to establish himself as the Gators' undisputed backup quarterback when fall camp began.

But Murphy was stunned when, three days before camp, his role suddenly changed. Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel was sidelined with an appendectomy and Murphy would temporarily take the starting role.

As Driskel runs preseason workouts from the sideline, staying mentally focused, Murphy is running the show from under center.

The starting job is not his to win, but coach Will Muschamp said there's a lot at stake for Murphy and the Gators.

"It's huge," Muschamp said. "Anytime you get in a situation where you get all the turns and reps and at-bats it helps you as a player. … We've got a motto around here, man down, man up, and I challenged the football team — it's time for somebody to respond."

Murphy, 21, has played three games since arriving in 2012, but has never thrown a pass. Yet, when practice began Friday, Murphy wanted teammates to know he's ready.

"Definitely I feel like I'm ready," said Murphy, a redshirt junior from Weathersfield, Conn. "I've worked very hard, on and off the field and in the film room. I feel like my teammates have confidence in me. I feel like the coaches have confidence in me. And now it's my job to continue to develop that confidence within my team and coaches throughout camp."

Coaches love the cliche that the backup is just a heartbeat from being the starter, but for Florida that has been much more than a saying the past several years.

When Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow was knocked out of the Kentucky game with a concussion in 2009, the burden of facing No. 4 LSU in the next game nearly fell on little-used John Brantley. As the starter in 2011, Brantley's leg injury against Alabama forced the Gators to turn to then-freshman Driskel. But Driskel had an ankle injury and third-string Jacoby Brissett made his first college start against No. 1 LSU.

So for veterans such as senior right guard Jon Halapio, seeing Murphy under center represents a chance to ensure that if something happens to their starter, the Gators would survive.

"Definitely, it can be good for us," Halapio said. "We'll get to develop our backup just in case a situation just like this would happen in the season. It's definitely good practice for us. We're not panicked or anything. Tyler has been here for awhile, he knows the offense, so we'll be fine."

Added Driskel: "He's always gone in with the look that he's one play or one injury away from being the starter. He's really attacked the offseason like he should."

Murphy was a high school dual-threat quarterback who came to UF to play receiver, but remained at quarterback. At times his patience has worn thin, but Murphy's resolve has never wavered. Now, it might all finally pay off.

"It definitely requires a lot of patience," Murphy said. "It's not a lot of fun sitting on the bench, I can tell you that much. You want to be out there, playing and stuff. I just took it as a learning tool. It's very humbling and you really mentally just have to keep working, keep going at it and just keep faith and you'll get a chance."

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

Rick and Tom podcast: USF vs UCF is the biggest game in Florida this weekend

It’s a Thanksgiving Football Wednesday as Rick Stroud and Tom Jones preview the Bucs-Falcons game, USF-UCF, Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan and more.The guys agree on the Bucs game outcome with Rick saying they can’t win. They also agree that Tha...
Published: 11/22/17

Call Missouri jinxed, but Michael Porter Jr. injury is its own story

Please repeat after me: There is no such thing as jinxes, hexes, ghosts or cartoonish black clouds looming with personalized curses for select targets.Honest.But, boy, are there coincidences — even if some say there is no such thing as those, either....
Published: 11/21/17

Chip Kelly is not the best candidate for Florida job

For the sake of a beleaguered and bedraggled fan base, here’s hoping Chip Kelly becomes the next head coach of the Florida Gators even though I think he’s not a great fit — culturally, geographically and philosophically — at UF.Gator Nation needs som...
Published: 11/21/17

Lane Kiffin knows speculation about his future grows with each victory

BOCA RATON — Lane Kiffin already knows what profession he will choose once his coaching career ends.Kiffin, in his first season at Florida Atlantic, thinks he is destined to join the sports-media ranks. It will provide him opportunity to switch roles...
Published: 11/21/17
Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn’t as good as we thought

These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.The Gators need themselves a football coach.They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.Right?Uh, right? (nervous laugh)Well, we’ll soon find out. Maybe this i...
Published: 11/21/17
UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

GAINESVILLE — At last, there’s some actual smoke to the Chip Kelly-Florida rumors.The Gators sent a group — including president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin — to New Hampshire on Sunday to talk with the former Oregon coach about U...
Published: 11/20/17
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Published: 11/18/17
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Published: 11/18/17
A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

A welcome return to dominance for the Florida defense

GAINESVILLE — Chauncey Gardner wasn’t fooled. He saw UAB snap the ball. He saw the quarterback throw a screen. He saw the receiver fire a second pass downfield. Then a crowd of 84,649 saw the sophomore safety high-point the trick-play pass to earn hi...
Published: 11/18/17