Preseason Chat: Vince Murray

Raise your hand if you saw that coming? While many fans expected great things out of the Navy offense coming into 2009, few imagined that one-time backup fullback Vince Murray would prove to spark the team in upset wins over the likes of Wake Forest and Notre Dame

A 6-foot-1, 217-pound former prep baseball star, Murray just missed topping the 1000 yard threshold last season, but finds himself atop the depth chart coming into the 2010 season for the Mids. Born and breed within a military family, the humble fullback with the ‘awkward' running style recently sat down with GoMids.com to talk about his success in 2009, his role as a team leader, and some of the individuals he admires most in his life.

GoMids.com: What was your outlook coming into the 2009 season? Were you prepared for playing as much as you did throughout the year?

Vince Murray: I definitely felt like I was in the backup role. But just knowing Navy's offense and knowing how it works, (I knew) as a backup fullback that there is always a chance I'd have to go in there and make a big impact on the team. It's just the nature of the position because a lot of guys get hurt. I was just trying to prepare myself to the best of my abilities to help my team.

GoMids.com: What was going through your mind when starter Alex Teich was injured and you were called upon to carry the load?

Vince Murray: That was the moment I prepared myself for and had worked as hard as I could so I could go in and we could continue to win games with the backup fullback. It wasn't any particular thought. It was just something I had prepared myself for and I was ready for it.

GoMids.com: Did you expect to have the kind of early season success that you had, especially in the four consecutive games in which you topped 100 yards?

Vince Murray: I didn't expect to do as well as I did. We were just taking what the defense was giving us in those particular games. They were trying to stop the outside pitch and the (fullback dive) just opened up. I don't think it was anything with my particular great running skills. It was just the way the defense played in that particular week.

GoMids.com: It seems as though a lot of opposing fans and commentators have made snide comments about your running style. What do you say to people who say things like you run too high or aren't fast enough?

Vince Murray: It makes no difference on what people say about my running style. Whether I'm too slow or I run too high or whatever. The bottom line is they don't know how to play Navy fullback, and I'm just worried about what happens in the game.

GoMids.com: What's one of the aspects that people most often overlook about playing fullback at Navy?

Vince Murray: Just being comfortable with the quarterback and having that chemistry with the quarterback is a huge part of playing fullback in the option system. (Ricky Dobbs and I) came up and have been working together for three and some change years now, so it's definitely come a long way.

GoMids.com: It's funny you should mention that, because one of your most successful games – against Wake Forest – came when backup Kriss Proctor was filling in. Are you as comfortable with Kriss in the mesh exchange as you are with Ricky?

Vince Murray: Yea, I'm definitely comfortable with Kriss because spring of my sophomore year I was working with the twos. Kriss was also working with the twos so basically I got a whole spring in with just doing the mesh with Kriss. I'm comfortable with either quarterback.

GoMids.com: What first attracted you to the Naval Academy?

Vince Murray:I come from a military background. My dad was a pilot and my dad's dad was in the Army and my mom's dad was in the Air Force. Basically just growing up around the kind of guys that the military produces, that is the kind of guys I wanted to be around for the rest of my life.

GoMids.com: So you were always set in joining the military in some capacity?

Vince Murray: Yes sir. If I wasn't good enough to play Division 1 football I was going to go ROTC somewhere. I wanted to be in the military regardless. I want to be a marine aviator.

GoMids.com: I know you played baseball in high school. Do you think that helped your transition to playing college football? Do you find any carry-over in the two sports?

Vince Murray:Baseball definitely helps you out in any aspect of any sport or in life. Baseball is such a mind game. You have to be so mentally tough to play baseball. You might go 4-4 one day and go 0-4 the next. It's all about bouncing back and staying focused. That can definitely translate into football and getting used to Division 1 football. (Baseball) translates into pretty much everything.

GoMids.com: Have you found yourself taking a more active role as a leader on the team now that you're a senior? If so, is that role just an on-the-field dynamic, or does it come in the Hall as well?

Vince Murray: It definitely has come in with experience on the field and the experience with everything Navy football does, from lifting to the film room and stuff like that. It's definitely a senior's job to make sure the freshman and sophomores are doing everything right on the field and in the hall. It's (the senior's) job to help everyone else out.

GoMids.com: Is there a sense that more is expected from you and the other running backs and skill position players now that Marcus Curry and Mario Washington are no longer with the program?

< b>Vince Murray: Coming back with so much experience it's definitely your job to pick up your game. I don't know (if you would call it) making up for Marcus not being there, but I have confidence in any of the guys who are going to step up and play A-back. I'm not concerned at all about A-backs not carrying their weight. Losing Marcus is definitely a hit, but I have confidence in all my teammates that somebody is going to step up and play well.

GoMids.com: What is your relationship like with fellow fullback Alex Teich?

Vince Murray:It's always going to be a competition between me and Alex. He's a great runner and a great fullback and a great Division 1 fullback. We're great friends and definitely great competitors on the field but off the field we're great friends and that won't change. Our competition on the field won't stop that.

GoMids.com: Do you think that you two make a good ‘1-2 punch' at fullback?

Vince Murray: We definitely compliment each other. I'm more of a straight ahead guy and won't make a lot of moves. I don't have blinding speed obviously. Alex is definitely more of a quicker and athletic runner. He makes moves in the open field and has a little bit more speed, so we definitely compliment each other.

GoMids.com: What is the one thing your focused on getting better this preseason?

Vince Murray: I'm always focused on getting faster.

GoMids.com: I think a lot of people overlook the fact that you played an important role in helping Ricky Dobbs establish the single season record for touchdowns by a quarterback last season. Is that something you take a lot of pride in?

Vince Murray: Oh yea. Ricky breaking that record is great. A lot of my buddies will say things like, ‘why doesn't he hand the ball off?' But they don't understand that that is not the play. The play is to get Ricky into the endzone. I take great pride in that. Anytime Ricky scores it might as well be me. It doesn't make any difference who is in the endzone as long as we're getting six points. It's a great feeling when you get your block in and Ricky goes right off untouched into the endzone. It's just a good feeling that's like scoring yourself.

GoMids.com: I read that you said you would have dinner with Teddy Roosevelt and General George Patton if you could. What is it about those two individuals that you admire?

Vince Murray: Teddy Roosevelt was just such a go-getter. He was a fearless leader who was just always leading from the front. He always had these crazy quotes and stuff like that. I just think he was a real interesting guy and it would be awesome to get to know him. The thing with Patton is that he was a similar go-getter and wasn't going to be denied. I'd like to pick their brains and see how they get focused on things like that. (Patton) was so intense but he could crack a joke at the same time. He didn't let other peoples' opinions get in the way of what he was trying to accomplish.

GoMids.com: Do you have any special personal goals for this season?

Vince Murray: I just want to win every game we can. I just want to go 1-0 each week.

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