Murphy ready for opportunity

Thursday was different for Tyler Murphy than past media days. He's usually tucked away in the corner, talking to a reporter or two, but he's rarely the focus. Jeff Driskel's appendectomy on Tuesday changed that. While Driskel's timeline for a return to practice is uncertain, Murphy opens camp on Friday as the starting quarterback of the Florida Gators.

The swarm of reporters was different. With one injury, Murphy became the face of the Florida offense for at least the first week of fall camp.

"I'm a simple guy," Tyler Murphy said with a grin. "I don't need a lot of limelight or attention."

Now in his fourth year on campus, Murphy has had plenty of time to learn. He was recruited by Urban Meyer to run the spread offense at Florida, and despite plenty of speculation about a position move, Murphy stuck at quarterback and won the backup job for the 2013 season.

He had every reason to leave.

The coaching staff that recruited him to Florida left the school, and Murphy was stuck in an offense that he wasn't familiar with. He could've decided to transfer closer to home in Connecticut and could've received immediately playing time at another school.

Murphy thought about it after the 2011 season. It had nothing to do with the new coaching staff, but he thought about going to find a place for more playing time. After talking to his family, Murphy decided he didn't want to go anywhere.

"To me, it was more of a pride thing," Murphy said. "I didn't want to leave and say I quit. I wanted to go out with a bang before my time is over."

This might be his best chance to make that happen. The waiting hasn't been fun, but it has given the redshirt junior a chance to be comfortable in the offense.

"I feel like I'm ready. I've worked very hard on and off the field, in the film room," Murphy said. "I feel like a lot of my teammates have confidence in me and my coaches have confidence in me. It's my job to continue to develop that confidence through camp."

His teammates are seeing it, too.

Murphy was heavily involved in the player run practices over the summer. Driskel saw improvement over the summer that helps him believe the offense will be in good hands while he recovers.

"Tyler has been around for a while," Driskel said. "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. 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 that he can."

It might be tough for players to have confidence in a quarterback that is still waiting to throw his first collegiate pass, but even the receivers believe that Murphy could run the offense if needed this year.

"I've practiced with Murphy for two or three years," redshirt senior receiver Andre Debose said. "I know what he's capable of. He was dealt the hand that he's playing behind Driskel, but I'm a firm believer in Tyler Murphy. He's a great player."

Right to left: Driskel, Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg


Fightin Gators Top Stories