Redshirt junior quarterback Tyler Murphy may have looked cool, calm and collected when he took over for injured junior starter Jeff Driskel on Saturday, but he was nervous deep down inside.
Such is the case when you haven’t played a meaningful down at quarterback in four years and you are not expecting to see the field on a given afternoon. Murphy nevertheless expects that queasy feeling to return on Saturday when he starts the first game of his college career for the No. 19/20 Florida Gators (2-1, 1-0 SEC) against the Kentucky Wildcats (1-2, 0-0 SEC).
“I’ll have butterflies, I’m sure,” he admitted on Monday. “I’ll be anxious to get out there and maybe complete my first pass – or once I get hit – I think I’ll be fine. I don’t think it’ll be bad as it was last week,” he said.
Murphy started thinking about the Kentucky game hours after he led Florida to a 31-17 victory over Tennessee but not because he was salivating at the chance to start but rather so he could fix his mistakes and improve as a player.
“After the game I was kind of anxious to watch the film, see how I did. I was just kind of just thinking about how I would have to adapt to being a starter and stuff like that, taking on a new role. Just ways I could just really excel and be a leader,” Murphy said. “I’m the next guy in line, so I’m just thinking of ways I could help lead this team.”
He spent the whole night thinking about it while returning congratulatory phone calls and text messages of from friends, family and teammates.
“I’m just kind of ready to move on and start focusing on Kentucky,” he said, “getting back to doing what I love to do, which is playing football.”
Offensive coordinator Brent Pease got first crack at the film that Murphy had to wait until Sunday to view. He spoke Tuesday about what he liked about Murphy’s performance on Saturday.