GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Another quarterback is leaving Florida after the program’s first losing season since 1979.
Tyler Murphy, who started six games and may have gotten a shot at the job in 2014, announced Sunday he’s leaving to play his senior year elsewhere.
Murphy joins freshman Max Staver as quarterbacks who have left the program after Florida coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis. In all, seven offensive players have left Florida over the last two weeks.
The list also includes tight end Kent Taylor, fullback Rhaheim Ledbetter and offensive linemen Quinteze Williams, Trevon Young and Ian Silberman. Murphy and Silberman graduated Saturday and will transfer under the NCAA rule that allows graduate students to play immediately and not have to sit out a year.
The departures leave the Gators with just two scholarship quarterbacks: injured starter Jeff Driskel and freshman Skyler Mornhinweg. Highly touted recruit Will Grier is expected to enroll in January.
Murphy completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 1,216 yards, with six touchdowns and five interceptions. He also was sacked 22 times.
He missed the final three games with a sprained throwing shoulder, an injury his sister accused the school of covering up. Binghamton basketball player Morgan Murphy expressed displeasure with the timing of her brother’s benching in mid-November. She posted on her Twitter page: “Wish they would’ve done this weeks ago when they realize the severity instead of trying to cover it up & act like he was fine.” She later deleted the tweet.
Mornhinweg started the final three games.
Muschamp insisted the job would “be an open competition” in 2014, but many believe it will be Driskel’s job to lose. Muschamp has made it clear that he is tweaking the offense — he’s adding hurry-up aspects and might use more spread concepts — to better fit Driskel’s skill set. Of course, those changes also would seemingly fit Murphy.
The school did not make Muschamp available for comment or release a statement, an indication that the coach wasn’t on board with Murphy’s choice.
Florida lost its final seven games, missing a bowl game for the first time since 1990 and finishing below .500 for the first time since a 0-10-1 campaign more than three decades ago.
Quarterback problems were the biggest culprit this season. The Gators threw just four touchdowns over the final seven games.
Murphy played well in his first three games, throwing five TD passes against just one interception in wins against Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas. Those, though, were three of the worst defenses in the Southeastern Conference.
Murphy injured his shoulder in a 16-7 loss to LSU on Oct. 12 and really struggled afterward.
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