Saturday, April 12, 2008

Former Firebird Murphy switches to defense


Kansas University freshman Ryan Murphy spent his red-shirt season learning the ropes of wide receiver, even getting pegged scout team player of the week at one point during the 2007 season.

But the KU football coaching staff watched Murphy and sensed more potential inside of him. They think they tapped it this spring by moving the 5-foot-10, 175-pounder to cornerback.

"He looks like a natural on the defensive side," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "It's where he looks the most comfortable in our program. We did make that move, and it's worked out pretty well."

Murphy has played on defense for all 14 of KU's spring practices to date, and he'll be playing cornerback Monday when the Jayhawks have their annual spring game at Memorial Stadium.

It's nothing new to Murphy. The Free State High product played cornerback (and quarterback) in high school for the Firebirds, who went to the state semifinals Murphy's senior season.

Murphy originally was pegged as a slot receiver when he enrolled at KU. Instead, he'll go into the 2008 season battling for a cornerback spot alongside sophomore Chris Harris, senior Kendrick Harper, freshman Isiah Barfield and others.

"He's learning, and he's certainly a guy who's a good student and wants to get better," Mangino said. "We think in the long run, that's going to be a really good position for him. He'll help us tremendously."

As for inside receiver? Kansas does have the valuable Dexton Fields returning for his senior season, after he caught 63 balls for 834 yards and six touchdowns in 2007. Freshman Rell Lewis, a speedy 5-10, 200-pounder out of Muskogee, Okla., is another possibility.

"We wouldn't move somebody out of the receiver position unless we thought we were strong enough there," Mangino said. "Obviously, we feel like we're strong enough, and we have good enough numbers there.

"The time is right to move (Murphy) to defense. He's a better fit there, and it would be a disservice to him to leave him on offense at this point in time."


Nutflush21 12 years, 9 months ago

Any early REALISTIC predictions for how KU football does next season? I think 9 wins is attainable and would be a very successful season for the Jayhawks. I think we go 4-0 in the non-con and beat NU, CU, ISU, TT, K-Suck. It would be great to upset UT or Mizzery. OU-aint happenin.

Kevin Long 12 years, 9 months ago

I pretty much agree with you Nut. I think 9 wins is the MOST they would get given how the schedule is a lot tougher.

truefan 12 years, 9 months ago

I don't know. I made the 8-4 prediction last year and was made a fool of by my team. I'd like to say 8-4 again this year, but I think I am going to have to start respecting my team's ability to beat great opponents. I think we will get either Texas, Missouri, or Oklahoma next year, but I don't think we can take all three. Texas Tech will be hard to beat as always, and no one knows how K-State will be with all of those jucos coming in. Nebraska will have a much different look on Defence with Bo Pellini at the helm, and Colorado is getting scarier every year with their new coach. I don't know anything about ISU though. Basically, 4-0 start definately and then it is a toss up after that.

number1jayhawker 12 years, 9 months ago

Looking at our record at Memorial the past few years, I come up with a 17 - 3 record. In 2005 1 loss to TT (OU loss was at Camarohead)In 2006 2 losses, aTm & OSUIn 2007 0 lossesFor 2008 0 losses at home & on the road 2 losses (@ OU & @ Camarohead)Final record in 2008 10 - 2

JJHAWK 12 years, 9 months ago

The great thing about everyone's predictions above: We are in the hunt. We are not a dominate program (yet) or an overpowering team, but we are a hungry team that doesn't beat itself. I particularly like that part! And another thing I like, we are dangerous. We can score from anywhere on the field.I keep pinching myself because the above and KU football never went together before - on a year after year basis.Hooray for KU's own MM.

Dyrk Dugan 12 years, 9 months ago

Number1in '05, we were undefeated in Lawrence. TT was at Lubbock. (dang, that Nebraska game was great.)My game to circle this year is Nov. 15, Texas. I can't wait for that game. That is revenge for Charles Gordon, and all the "dollar signs" comments.....Memorial will be totally jacked up for that one.

Michael Leiker 12 years, 9 months ago

I like 9-3 with hawks losing at Arrowhead, at OU and at S. Florida.

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