Murphy Earning High Marks

Louis Murphy's Gator career hasn't been extremely productive, but heading into his senior year, he's the one the coaching staff is looking to as the leader of the receiving corps. With only 37 catches for 590 yards, he's been viewed mostly as a blocking receiver, but he has the skills and experience to be one of Florida's best in 2008.

During Friday's Media Day, both Urban Meyer and position coach Billy Gonzales were quick to point out what Louis Murphy means to the Gator offense. Murphy lacks the fanfare that Percy Harvin and Deonte Thompson bring, but Meyer is pretty sure what Murphy's role is.

"It's hard for me to say he's not the go-to-guy," Meyer said. "Of course you've got Percy Harvin and Tim Tebow, two of the finest players in college football, but Louis Murphy is going to be the go-to-guy. He's got to have a good year."

"Louis is the guy, as far as being in the shadows, not by any means," Gonzales said. "He's a guy, honestly, that is the leader of my group. You always have a guy or two that sets the pace. A few years ago it was Dallas Baker and Jemalle Cornelius. Last year it was Bubba."

Murphy's Gator career has been a bit rocky. It started with him breaking the team's curfew during fall camp as a freshman followed by criticism from Meyer for not going 100 percent in practice. But it was later learned that he had a rare hip injury that required surgical repair. Since then, he's dealt with migraines and other off the field issues. But he's paid his dues and he's ready to cash in for his final season.

"The great thing about Louis is that he's been here since the beginning and he's seen how we want our players to work," Gonzales said. "He's a product of the system. He started off on special teams and played very little as a true freshman. The second year, he made a jump. The third year, he made a jump. He's a guy that trained. If you ask Mick (Marotti), he works hard."

After just a few days of fall camp, Meyer likes the way his senior wide receiver is looking.

"He's practicing great, he's practicing hard moving around inside and outside," Meyer said. "He'll play inside receiver as well as outside. We're really proud of him. Plus, he's just finished his classes. All he has is an internship. He graduated in three-and-a-half years."

Not only will Murphy be a big target for Tim Tebow whether he's streaking down the sidelines or cutting across the middle, but Murphy will set the tone for the receivers this season.

"As my group goes, he sets the pace," Gonzales said. "When he's out there working hard, practicing his butt off, which he usually does, those guys go. When they see Louis working they go hard. He's a vocal leader, and that's what we need. Plus, he has the respect factor. Players respect him because of what he's done. You can be vocal and lead by example, but if you haven't really done it, then it's tough to get that respect, but he's done it."

Questions or comments? Contact's Chris Chmielenski

Fightin Gators Top Stories