Updated: Controversy surrounding QB Tyler Murphy’s decision to leave the Florida Gators

Updated on Monday at 6:15 p.m.

Quarterback Tyler Murphy, who was expected to be a redshirt senior competing for a starting job with the Florida Gators in 2014, chose on Sunday to leave the program and pursue other options, a decision that reportedly shocked head coach Will Muschamp.

Muschamp, who denied to The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley this week that Murphy was planning to leave the Gators after saying he had already spoken with the player and his family, told him on Sunday that Murphy did not attend the team’s annual postseason banquet and suddenly became aloof over the weekend.

He called Murphy, who didn’t answer but eventually responded with a long text message saying he felt he needed to go somewhere where he’d get a chance to start, Muschamp said.

“I told him it would be an open competition, just like I told him Jeff Driskel would be our starter last year,” Muschamp said.

Murphy completed the requirements for his bachelor’s degree in the fall and graduated on Saturday. He can transfer to another program and be eligible to play immediately without being forced to sit out a full season.

But he tells a different version of the story to GatorCountry.com, stating that he did originally tell Muschamp earlier in the week that he had not decided to transfer but also made the coaching staff aware that he would be unable to attend the banquet as he was taking his parents to the airport at that time.

Once he and his family decided his fate during that car ride, he tried to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Muschamp on Sunday. Instead, he was told to call Muschamp. The coach did not pick up, so Murphy sent the aforementioned text message and waited for a return call, which he received immediately.

“He wasn’t happy with [the decision to leave]. He told me he didn’t think it was a good decision for me. We kind of just went back and forth a little bit, talking about the whole situation and stuff for next year. When he kind of felt where I was leaning towards he said he appreciated everything I’ve done and stuff like that. When we hung up I thought everything was good.”

Murphy said he never intended to break the news to Muschamp via text message.

“I never tried to tell him what was going on through text,” he said. “I sent him a text kind of just so when he saw the missed call he knew what I was calling about and I could get his attention so hopefully he would call me back when he was free.”

“I was never trying to duck on him or not do it in a mature way,” Murphy said. “It just so happened that he had to hear it from me through text because he didn’t pick up my call and I couldn’t meet with him in his office.”

Criticism began to rain down on both parties Monday with some upset about the way Murphy reportedly left and others infuriated that Muschamp would allegedly paint the player in a bad light, especially one who had been a model member of the program.

The quarterback’s father, Peter Murphy, fell in the later category and discussed his concerns later Monday with Phillip Heilman of the Palm Beach Post ($).

Continue Reading » Updated: Controversy surrounding QB Tyler Murphy’s decision to leave the Florida Gators

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Florida Gators announce six transfers including TE Taylor, OL Silberman, QB Staver

The Florida Gators on Thursday announced that six players have decided to transfer out of the program, confirming the three freshmen already known to be leaving while adding three additional names – sophomore tight end Kent Taylor, redshirt junior offensive lineman Ian Silberman and freshman quarterback Max Staver.

“These young men felt it was in their best interest to look for an opportunity to play somewhere else,” said Muschamp in a release. “We wish all of them the best of luck.

The No. 1 ranked tight end in the Class of 2012, Taylor was a four-star prospect who was expected to have a major impact as an offensive playmaker for the Gators. Instead, he barely played as a true freshman – catching just two passes including a touchdown in the 2013 Sugar Bowl – and did not step on the field during his sophomore season. Taylor will have three years of eligibility left as he will be able to take a redshirt for 2013.

“I’m gonna miss my friends, my teammates, and gator fans, but you have to do what’s best for u, so thank you for 2 great years gatornation,” he explained in a tweet.

Silberman has started seven games over the last two seasons due to injuries and only has one year of eligibility remaining. Because he is graduating on Saturday, he will be able to transfer to another program and play immediately without sitting for a full season.

“Very blessed to play for this great University for the last four years but it is time for the next chapter. I’ll always be a Gator!” said Silberman via his Twitter account.

A three-star prospect, Staver committed as a big-bodied, strong-armed pro-style quarterback who wanted to play under offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

With Pease being fired and head coach Will Muschamp planning to switch to an up-tempo offense, Staver felt his time was up before it ever began. He will transfer with all four years of eligibility remaining.

“Thank you to everyone for the experience down there and the support. I will miss my teammates, friends, and also the Gator fans. God Bless,” he said via Twitter.

There are more a few more transfers expected in the near future.

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11/12: Pease calls Murphy game-time decision, talks Mornhinweg and job security

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the 10th game of the season against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Saturday, Nov. 16. The game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. and air live on ESPN2.

QUARTERBACK A GAME-TIME DECISION

Redshirt junior starting quarterback Tyler Murphy announced Monday that trainers considered him day-to-day as he rehabilitated from a sore shoulder that has been ailing him over the last few weeks. Though rumors ran rampant that Murphy was actually out for the season, OnlyGators.com confirmed with a source close to the player that he is indeed day-to-day and trying to get back for the South Carolina game.

Pease said the exact same thing on Tuesday, noting that it would be up to the trainers to determine whether or not Murphy goes on Saturday.

“I think it’s probably a game-time decision. … He’s got to get in some practice time at some point in time and at least go out. … It’s about his comfort, ability of how to throw and spin it,” Pease said.

Murphy being a game-time decision means redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg has taken all of the repetitions in practice and may very well be starting against the Gamecocks and their, at times, extremely talented defense.

Mornhinweg has never stepped on the field for the Gators, but Pease noted that he has received a fair share of first-team reps in recent weeks.

“We were in it a couple of weeks ago when Skyler was taking all the reps going into the Missouri game. It’s not something that is a new situation or us, but you got to plan and make sure the things we do with Skyler – Murphy will be able to perform – fit things around both of them in a game plan that is really going to benefit our team,” he said.

“He’s ready to go. The thing that’s tough on a kid in his situation is just experience. You hope you never really have to play with a redshirt freshman, and nothing against him, because he’s a smart kid, he works hard. In a developmental situation, you hope you get into your sophomore or junior year before you get into that situation whether you’re competing for the job or in a back-up role ready to play.”

Should Murphy be ruled out and Mornhinweg start, redshirt junior walk-on Christian Provancha would serve as the back-up quarterback as UF is trying to preserve freshman Max Staver’s redshirt.

Continue Reading » 11/12: Pease calls Murphy game-time decision, talks Mornhinweg and job security

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10/8: Pease on Taylor, Murphy, Leak, LSU

Florida Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease met with the media on Tuesday ahead of the sixth game of the season against the LSU Tigers on Oct. 12.

WHERE’S KELVIN TAYLOR

For weeks now, Pease and head coach Will Muschamp have talked about getting freshman running back Kelvin Taylor more involved in the offense. Nevertheless, over the last two games, he has registered a grand total of zero carries.

Pease explained Tuesday that the team had planned to get Taylor some work but Florida’s defense ruined the potential opportunity.

“We had some situations we were going to try to get him in there in the last half of the fourth quarter, but they held onto the ball and drove it and stuff,” he said. “We’ll just continue to keep working at practice and things are going to show up.”

Taylor did technically see the field Saturday – when the Gators lined up in the victory formation at the end of the game – but never touched the ball.

He has a total of 46 yards on the season from six carries, five of which came in the season opener against Toledo when he averaged 8.6 yards per touch and broke off an impressive, crowd-pleasing 27-yard run.

Taylor is healthy and has a bright future ahead of him, according to the coaching staff, but neither Muschamp nor Pease has been able to provide a legitimate reason why he has not been worked into the offense during games.

“He practices hard. He’s a good kid. He’s got a good attitude. He is a good player. I just want to see him continually do the things and just have some patience,” Pease said.

Continue Reading » 10/8: Pease on Taylor, Murphy, Leak, LSU

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9/23: Muschamp talks injuries, rushers, Kentucky

No. 19/20 Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media on Monday to discuss Saturday’s 31-17 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers and his team’s upcoming road game against the Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, Sept. 28. The contest will kick off at 7 p.m. and air live on ESPNU.

INJURY UPDATES

Muschamp announced that junior quarterback Jeff Driskel’s surgery, originally scheduled for Sunday, will instead be performed on Wednesday. Driskel broke his right fibula during Saturday’s game and will have a plate inserted in the leg. “Again, very disappointed for Jeff. It’s part of the game, but it’s very difficult to deal with. Really hurt for him and his family and for us as a football team,” he said.

One other serious injury occurred as redshirt freshman tight end Colin Thompson, who missed all of 2012 due to injury, was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his foot and will probably miss 1-2 weeks. “I’m disappointed for Colin. He was starting to really progress and do well for us,” Muschamp said. “He’s had some issues with his foot; this is a different issue with his foot. It’s something that has not happened before.”

Three other Gators were injured Saturday but each is expected to be active for Saturday’s game. Redshirt junior defensive tackle Leon Orr hurt his shoulder and will miss practice on Monday but should be back Tuesday or Wednesday. Redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio, who sat out the first two games of the season with a torn pectoral, got poked in the eye early Saturday and had three stitches after the game. “He’s going to be fine for this week. I’ll tell you, a tough young man he is to play through that,” Muschamp said. Junior cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy was also knocked from the game after being hit hard on a kickoff return; he was later diagnosed with a thigh contusion and was back at practice running on Sunday.

As for the three Florida players that missed the Tennessee game, Muschamp believes two will be healthy enough to play at Kentucky. Junior CB Marcus Roberson (knee) ran well Sunday and will be back at practice Tuesday, and redshirt sophomore right tackle Tyler Moore (ankle) will also be back in action Tuesday. Redshirt sophomore running back Valdez Showers, who injured his ankle during practice on Wednesday, was listed as “doubtful” and will likely be out at least one if not two weeks.

Continue Reading » 9/23: Muschamp talks injuries, rushers, Kentucky

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8/5: Muschamp on injuries, standouts, tight ends

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp met with the media after his team’s first weekend of fall practice ahead of the 2013 season.

ILLNESS / INJURY UPDATES

Sophomore running back Matt Jones, who is now over his serious viral infection and recovering but did lose 8-10 pounds while ill, may be able to get reactivated at some point next week if he continues to make progress. “Matt Jones is in the building and moving around a little bit and hopefully, maybe try to see maybe next week if we can try and get him active,” Muschamp said. “He looks good. He’s moving around a little bit. He was on the bike the other day. We’re just trying to get him back in the swing of things.”

Though junior quarterback Jeff Driskel is still limited from his appendectomy and has not done anything physically as of press time, Muschamp is confident that the prognosis will be positive when Driskel meets with the doctor on Wednesday or Thursday. He also said that redshirt senior right guard Jon Halapio (pectoral) is “doing very well” and will be evaluated on Friday, and redshirt junior left guard Max Garcia (back) will meet with a doctor Tuesday.

Two new injuries are to freshman offensive lineman Roderick Johnson and redshirt junior defensive tackle Leon Orr. Johnson had a high school knee injury flare up but should return to practice Monday or Tuesday, while Orr sprained his thumb over the weekend but should be in action on Monday.

Continue Reading » 8/5: Muschamp on injuries, standouts, tight ends

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Appendectomy a bump in the road for QB Driskel

Florida Gators’ 2013 Media Day: Story: Injured Matt Jones, Jon Halapio, others join Jeff Driskel on sidelines | News, Notes & Quotes – Will Muschamp breaks down the Gators | Story: It’s now or never for Florida WR Andre Debose | Story: RB Brown, QB Murphy ready to step up for Gators

Florida Gators junior quarterback Jeff Driskel will have some catching up to do by the time he recovers from his appendectomy and is cleared to practice with the team, but the incumbent starter is not too worried about picking up where he left off at the conclusion of the player-run practices over the summer.

“Luckily we did do a lot of work in the summer, so I won’t miss too much,” Driskel said of the 1-2 weeks of action he will have to sit out. “Obviously I’d like to be out there but the reps with those other guys will help them, and if anything does happen to me down the road during the season, those other guys will be ready.”

The “other guys” include redshirt junior Tyler Murphy, redshirt freshman Skyler Mornhinweg and freshman Max Staver, three quarterbacks that have a combined zero snaps behind center as college football players.

Muschamp, at his press conference on Thursday, declared Murphy the “clear-cut back-up” for Driskel, and the starter thinks his understudy is ready for the opportunity.

“He’s always gone in with the [thought] that he’s one play or one injury away from being the starter,” Driskel said. “He’s really attacked the offseason like he should. He’s definitely going to get more reps than he thought here to start camp. He’s going to have to make plays, and I believe that he can.”

The appendicitis was certainly an unexpected blow for Driskel, who by all accounts worked hard over the summer to stay in shape and grow as a leader.

He told reporters on Thursday that he started feeling sick with a stomach ache on Monday and woke up Tuesday with worsening stomach pains. Driskel’s roommate, former Gators offensive lineman Tommy Jordan (who never stepped on the field but received a medical exemption to remain in school on scholarship), told him Monday that it could be appendicitis, which led Driskel to spring into action when he felt the additional pain on Tuesday.

Continue Reading » Appendectomy a bump in the road for QB Driskel

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Gators 2013 freshmen pick uniform numbers

Athletes care about their uniform numbers and now that Florida Gators football team is a month away from beginning fall practice, it was time for the remaining freshman – aside from the eight early enrollees which received uniforms in the spring – to choose theirs. Below is the list according to the school’s most recent media guide:

TRANSFERS
» No. 55 – Darious Cummings (Titusville, FL), junior defensive lineman (EE)
» No. 73 – Tyler Moore (Clearwater, FL), redshirt sophomore offensive lineman (EE)
» No. 74 – Trenton Brown (Milledgeville, GA), junior offensive lineman

FRESHMEN (EARLY ENROLLEES)
» No. 9 – Matt Rolin (Ashburn, VA), freshman linebacker
» No. 11 – Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, GA), freshman wide receiver
» No. 13 – Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, FL), freshman linebacker
» No. 21 – Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL), freshman running back*
» No. 34 – Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, PA), freshman linebacker
» No. 91 – Joey Ivie (Dade City, FL), freshman defensive lineman

FRESHMEN
» No. 5 – Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, FL), freshman wide receiver
» No. 12 – Max Staver (Brentwood, TN), freshman quarterback
» No. 14 – Chris Wilkes (Orlando, FL), freshman walk-on quarterback
» No. 16 – Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, FL), freshman defensive back
» No. 17 – Jordan Sherit (Tampa, FL), freshman defensive lineman
» No. 22 – Adam Lane (Winter Haven, FL), freshman running back
» No. 22 – Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL), freshman defensive back
» No. 26 – Marcell Harris (Orlando, FL), freshman defensive back~
» No. 35 – Johnny Townsend (Orlando, FL), freshman punter
» No. 40 – Jarrad Davis (Kingsland, GA), freshman linebacker
» No. 42 – Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL), freshman defensive back
» No. 45 – Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, GA), freshman defensive lineman
» No. 50 – Octavius Jackson (Moultrie, GA), freshman offensive lineman
» No. 55 – Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL), freshman offensive lineman^
» No. 57 – Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, FL), freshman defensive lineman
» No. 71 – Cameron Dillard (Canton, MI), freshman offensive lineman
» No. 80 – Trevon Young (Bradenton, FL), freshman tight end
» No. 81 – Marqui Hawkins (Columbus, GA), freshman wide receiver
» No. 85 – Chris Thompson (Gainesville, FL), freshman wide receiver
» No. 89 – Alvin Bailey (Seffner, FL), freshman wide receiver
» No. 99 – Jay-nard Bostwick (Port St. Lucie, FL), freshman defensive lineman

* Kelvin Taylor’s father, Fred Taylor, also wore No. 21 for the Gators.
~ Mike Harris’s father, Mike Harris, wore No. 13 for UF. His son doubled his number.
^ Roderick Johnson is not yet enrolled at Florida.

NUMBER CHANGES
» Sophomore LB Antonio Morrison switched from 12 to 3.
» Redshirt sophomore walk-on DB Evan Schroeder switched from 21 to 22.
» Redshirt freshman walk-on WR Darius Masline switched from 81 to 80.

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