Man down, Murphy up

The names of the quarterbacks that Tyler Murphy failed to beat out during the past four seasons read Brantley, Driskel and Brissett. That’s not exactly the Mount Rushmore of Florida quarterbacks. The road wasn’t easy for Murphy and if he had listened to people around him, he may not have been in the position to lead the Gators past Tennessee on Saturday.

“A lot of people definitely suggested changing positions,” Tyler Murphy said on Saturday night following Florida’s 31-17 win over Tennessee. “I love playing quarterback, I’ve played it all my life and I take a lot of pride in playing quarterback. I just didn’t want to give up on it. I felt like if I changed positions I would have gave up on myself and I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.”

So he didn’t change his position and he didn’t transfer from Florida because, in his own words, “liked it here.” Murphy has made friends during his time in Gainesville and he will earn a telecommunications degree this December. Up until this season, that degree and those friendships might have been the only things that Murphy would take away from his time spent in Gainesville. Not a bad deal if you ask me, but now he is staring down the face of an opportunity that he could have only dreamed of months ago.

Murphy’s teammates unanimously shared their confidence in the new signal caller following the game Saturday night. When speaking with college athletes, you can see the gears turning in their head as they try to answer questions while staying on message with what the coaching staff wants let out to the media. This leads to a lot of politically correct answers but you can’t hide raw emotion. The emotion behind the Gators answers about their new quarterback showed as they have watched Murphy selflessly wait on the sideline and play on the scout team, doing whatever the team needed him to do.

“To come off the bench and step up big time like that, he was definitely the reason we won that game,” Solomon Patton said of the fourth year junior.

Murphy’s performance was impressive both on the stat sheet and in person. He showed poise in the pocket, great decision making running the read option and even showed great touch on a pass to Quinton Dunbar along the sideline.

But most importantly, he showed that he wasn’t scared. He didn’t shrink in the moment, he responded and responded in a big way. He’ll need to continue getting better though. Tennessee is not a very good football team and they weren’t prepared to face Murphy. Kentucky will gameplan for him this week, as will Arkansas the following week and LSU the week after that. Tyler Murphy is the starting quarterback for your Florida Gators. Read those words and let them sink in. Don’t rush, that sentence hasn’t even sunk in for the man himself yet.

“It hasn’t really hit me yet, but it’s going to have to hit me soon,” Murphy said Saturday night. “Coming up we have Kentucky, they did a really good job against Louisville. So it’s not going to be easy going to Lexington next weekend. We’re trying to cart a ‘W’. They’re a good SEC team and we just have to keep getting better and keep moving forward.”

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Nick de la Torre
A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC