With nine minutes left in the first quarter of Florida’s SEC opener against Tennessee last Saturday, the course of the season was changed permanently when quarterback Jeff Driskel was dragged down from behind and his fibula snapped. At that moment, the Florida Gators became Tyler Murphy’s team.
For the first time since Driskel’s injury, offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media to discuss moving forward with Murphy at the helm and looking ahead to this Saturday’s matchup with Kentucky.
On Tyler Murphy
- Murphy played well against Tennessee, which goes back to the way that he has prepared every week the last two years. Pease said that Murphy’s attitude and approach hasn’t changed since he was #3 on the depth chart last year all the way up to Monday when he was taking reps with the first team.
Quotable: “I think he’s always prepared like he was going to be the starter and it’s always the same pattern that he’s been on. I think Tyler’s still doing the same thing, I’ve seen that from him and it’s still a good amount of time that he spends on his own.”
- Murphy took a lot of reps with the first team during the bye week. Driskel was dealing with an ankle injury that prevented him from practicing and that extra practice time helped him prepare for the Tennessee game.
- Against Tennessee, Murphy showed nice escapability. Pease thinks Kentucky will use a linebacker to spy Murphy this week to try and take away his ability to run the ball.
- The offense will not change much with the quarterback change. There are some things that Murphy is more comfortable doing than Driskel was and vice versa but there will not be any wholesale changes.
- Pease told Murphy to not change anything that he has done up until this point.
- Murphy was responsible for messing up the cadence that caused a snap to hit him in the facemask. Pease said that Murphy took responsibility for the call when they talked on the headset right after the play.
Quotable: “We were going on first sound and he said first sound, but he wasn’t reacting to first sound. I told him to get on the headset right away and he was like, ‘I know. I’ve got it. I’ll fix it.’ What do you say? He knew. He knew what the problem was. We talked about being a self-corrector. He said he’d get it handled, so he got it handled.”
On backup quarterbacks
- Redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg will assume the backup quarterback role now. Pease did not seem comfortable with the idea of what it would be like to have Mornhinweg come into the game right now.
Quotable: “I don’t know if he knows the volume of everything yet because you still have the growing pains of learning all of it. He’s smart. He understands football because he’s grown up around it. The thing now that he’s gonna lack is true game speed and getting in there where they actually hit you. That would be a next step we have to take. I don’t think anybody in that situation would be totally ready for what Jeff’s gone through and now I guess Tyler after a game.”
- Pease wants Mornhinweg and Max Staver to watch how Murphy has prepared each week. For the last three years, Murphy has gone into almost every game knowing he wasn’t going to play but he still prepared the right way. Mornhinweg and Staver can take away much from Murphy’s approach.
On the running backs
- The coaching staff said that Kelvin Taylor was going to have an increased role against Tennessee and he ended up with one carry. Pease said that some of that has to do with what is happening situationally in the game and some of it has to do with how well Mack Brown has been playing.
- Mack Brown has had the “hot hand” so far this year and that is why he is leading the team in carries and yards. Pease and running backs coach Brian White sit together in the box and White has a lot of say in which running back will play on a particular down or series.
- Valdez Showers knee injury had forced Pease to find some other ways to attack the perimeter. Florida will use more wide receiver screens and jet sweeps to compensate for the absence of Showers.
- Matt Jones has had fumble problems this season and it’s not something that Pease or the coaching staff has seen before.
Quotable: “I don’t think we’ve seen it. He’s always been good about it. It’s just he didn’t hold onto the ball. It’s something we’ll work on — make an emphasis on for him. Try to put him in those situations and make him better at it.”
- Both wide receivers coach Joker Phillips and Pease have coached at Kentucky previously. Pease was an offensive coordinator and Phillips both played and coached there including three years as the head coach.
- Phillips doesn’t bear any ill will towards the school or the way he left them. He’s excited to be at Florida and looking forward to the opportunity on Saturday.
- Being on both sides of this game, Pease said there are two vastly different approaches to the winning streak — or losing streak.
Quotable on playing Kentucky: “Well, you know, it’s good, but it’s, you know, you kind of feel the pressure. You don’t want it to end.”
Quotable on playing Florida while coaching at Kentucky: “Well, I mean, the one year we were pretty close. We actually were ahead and, you know, didn’t get it done. But it’s something I think that you know, when I was there, and I’m sure they have in the past, they continued pumping into you: This is the time to do it. Let’s prepare to break the streak. You know, we never got it done.”
On Joker Phillips
- Phillips is not only the former head coach at Kentucky but he also played at the school. Pease said he’s sure that Phillips is a little anxious going back there but that he would be too if he was in the same situation.
- The wide receivers have played much better this season than in previous years and Pease credits Phillips for getting the receivers ready every week.
Quotable: “I think the guys are making plays, more explosive plays. They’re consistent for us in where we know where they’re going to be and getting open a lot more.”