It’s a feeling that Florida fans have become all too familiar with recently. The feeling like you’ve been punched in the gut when you watch your starting quarterback go down and not get right back up.
Gator Nation held their breath collectively when Tim Tebow’s head collided with Marcus Gilbert’s knee, resulting in a concussion for Tebow. More recently, John Brantley and Jeff Driskel have both missed game time due to injuries.
This creates a unique situation for a team when the backup quarterback comes into the game and it’s something that Tyler Murphy is preparing for as Jeff Driskel sits out the first couple days of fall camp recovering from an appendectomy.
Murphy, a senior, is getting the first chance of his career to be No. 1 on the depth chart and is using the opportunity to prepare himself in case Jeff Driskel goes down with an injury this season.
“My sophomore year [John] Brantley went down and Jeff [Driskel] and Jacoby [Brissett] had to step up. Then last year when Jeff went down and Jacoby had to step up,” Murphy said. “So that’s definitely in the back of my head that it’s a possibility.”
Getting the chance to work with the first team in practice, Murphy is taking advantage of the opportunity and making the most of the time he has.
“I definitely gotta be sharp every day, really pay attention to everything that Coach Pease says, whether it’s to me or Jeff or Skyler because that coaching point goes to all of us even though he’s directing it to a certain player,” Murphy said. “You have to learn from other people and I know that I just have to stay sharp and be focused and ready to step in and go when it’s my time.”
Murphy is still adjusting to his role as the starting quarterback. It’s a lot different being in the huddle and leading a team on the field than standing on a sideline with a headset on and holding a clipboard. It’s a new feeling for Murphy but one that he is enjoying.
“It’s different because you’re responsible for how the offense runs,” Murphy said. “So my focus is just to push guys to get better while focusing on getting better myself, to be a leader and to continue to grind as the camp days go on.”
While Jeff Driskel is going to take back the starting job when he is cleared to play, Murphy knows that he must stay ready because he is only one snap away from being the man at quarterback for the Gators. With Driskel’s injury history at Florida, Murphy could be called on this season to step in at quarterback and he is doing everything he can now to make sure he is ready when that time comes.