Thursday, October 15, 2009


Murphy setting example


It’s certainly not fashionable to write nice words about anyone associated with the Kansas University football team’s defense, but since fashion never has been a strength of mine, here goes:

If every player on the Kansas D brings the aggressiveness, sharp focus and unbridled enthusiasm Ryan Murphy brought in the first start of his college career, at nickelback against Iowa State, the talent-challenged unit has a shot to improve.

Murphy repeatedly disrupted Cyclones quarterback Austen Arnaud and was credited with a sack, a pass breakup and two QB hurries. Iowa State had allowed one sack heading into the game, best in the nation.

Sometimes it looks as if KU’s defenders are trying to avoid mistakes instead of trying to make a play. Not Murphy.

Nobody played well enough for the coaching staff to award a defensive player of the week, but if one had been given, Murphy, the 5-foot-10, 176-pound, third-year sophomore, might have earned it.

“You’ve got to give that kid credit,” defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said. “He’s really come along. He’s developed in the program. He played wideout, then corner, now nickel. He just kept fighting and improving. To be honest with you, he probably played the best of anyone in the secondary Saturday. The little guy played his butt off.”

A star double-threat quarterback at Free State, Murphy also was noted for making crisp tackles.

“Effort and toughness,” Bowen said, listing the keys to tackling well. “He’s got those things.”

One eager fresh face can’t change an entire defense, but his passion can have a contagious effect.

As troubling as the defensive performance was against Iowa State, the unit doesn’t appear as in disarray as the offense of Saturday night’s opponent, Colorado.

From the outside, it looks as if Buffs coach Dan Hawkins simply doesn’t have the heart to bench his son, even if objective eyes can see that going with Tyler Hansen gives Colorado the best chance to win.

CU offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau sounded like the voice of reason in stating, “I don’t want to get into this back-and-forth, back-and-forth packages. I want one guy, and I want the team to see that. And right now, Tyler’s our guy.” A couple of days later, Hawkins said both quarterbacks would play. He’s the boss. And he’s the father. And he clearly is having a tough time keeping those two roles from intersecting.

When KU coach Mark Mangino gave the job to Todd Reesing before the 2007 season started, he stuck with him and the loser in the competition, Kerry Meier, respected the coach for doing so.

“With the quarterback position you have to be comfortable and confident when you’re doing it, and it’s going to be tough if they’re going to start rotating quarterbacks,” Meier said. “If they made the choice to make the move and the switch, then I think they should stay with it and completely push the guy (Hansen) to make himself the No. 1 guy.”

However the snaps are divided, the Buffs’ quarterbacks will face a defense motivated by wounded pride. Kansas 28, Colorado 21.


kranny 10 years, 10 months ago

Decent article. I wouldn't describe the unit as talent challenged but more scheme challenged.

HawkDigestCom 10 years, 10 months ago

I thought Murphy stood out as well. It's got to be good to get that kind of speed on the field.

Robert Brock 10 years, 10 months ago

If the CU game resembles the ISU game, the final score will be KU 52, CU 49.

KU 10 years, 10 months ago

Look, I'd like to think we aren't "talent challenged" also. But the fact is, you can't coach speed and we just don't have it on defense. The only player on D with the kind of speed you need for a championship defense is Stuckey. Our DE's are slow up the field, our DT's can't move laterally and our DB's are average speed and slow to close on receivers. The LB's speed is average but they aren't physical enough to drop a ball carrier in his tracks.

We will probably look better this Saturday just because we're playing an inept offense, but we better not get satisfied because OU comes to town next.

Rivethead 10 years, 10 months ago

On the flip side, ISU D is horrible and made our O look fantastic.

CU's D held Texas to 17 offensive points in front of 100K+ Longhorn fans.

This very well could be a low-scoring muck fest.

slantrox 10 years, 10 months ago

First and foremost, the article sucked! I thought I was going to get indepth with and about Ryan Murphy. Made-good local guy, instead, I got Keegan disguising another story on CU's two QB issue.

Next, I think when this season shakes out, our D will be considered average. ISU will be considered better at the end of the season, than now. As for CU, I think Texas was on cruise control waiting for OU this week and CU looks better only because of that fact. I find it hard to believe UT couldn't lay 60 on CU if it wanted to do it!

I've gone to many KU/CU games and no matter what the score ends close if KU wins.

Tad Smith 10 years, 10 months ago

28 pts? Something about Colorado's defense makes you think this will be our lowest scoring game of the season?

TexasJayhawk78 10 years, 10 months ago

Yep. It would be nice if the Story Line and the text were at least related. I guess since this story started out about Murphy and he is a Jayhawk and they are playing CU and CU has two QBs...Oh well, 'round and 'round we go.

kjhok 10 years, 10 months ago

Two QB's sucks. Two D-Coordinators Sucks. Can we get one that works?

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

Our offense is better than UT's. Hopefully we will be able to move the ball a little better than they did.

suttonku 10 years, 10 months ago

IMO Bowen has to go at the end of this season...I am so sick of his bend but dont break defense. I want our DBs to go after the ball and try to make plays instead of letting their man catch the ball and then try to tackle them...We need another Aquib Talib and maybe Murphey can be that type of a player but I want ever DB to go after the ball. Bowen has plenty of talent on this defense to make it respectable and he just hasn't done it. I know Bowen is a KU guy but he has to go.

Jonathan Briles 10 years, 10 months ago

Ok I think that Daymond Patterson has plenty of speed for whoever said that noone besides Stuckey has speed. I think that people are taking these comments a little bit to far. Bowen does not need to go. He will be a fine defensive coordinator. We have speed on the benches but they are young. By next season and even more after that KU will have more speed. For this season we dont have the most speed but we have a good amount and plenty of skill and athleticism. At the beginning of this season people on here gushed about this team and now they say we cant even win the North. It's really disappointing. I wish people would accept the fact that we had a bad game. We are changing our schemes and making it easier for how inexperienced this team is. Its still early in the year and they are still developing. Laptad played but did not start all of last season, Max O did not start, NONE of our LB started, Patterson only played for part of the season, Murphey did not play, Davis did not play, even Harris did not play as much as the previous season. This team is still inexperienced. We are only 5 games in. I am hoping for 14 games this season. We have a while to go. Just relax. We are fixing our problems and we will be fine. For now enjoy the fact that we are 5-0 and start acting like fans of a 5-0 team.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Totally disagree, Kranny. I agree with Keegan in that we are in fact athletically challenged in the secondary if not the entire defensive side of the ball as others have reverberated. I do, however, think that HCMM can do something to help our defense out a little. He is a mastermind and gets the most out of his players in the end. Case in point: B-Mac 2007.

100 10 years, 10 months ago

It's all about simplicity & giving our guys ownership.

Mangino said that will happen...

Now that he's made the solution clear (free the mind, let the athlete react), here's the one thing we all (players, coaches & fans) need to focus on:

      1. Beat Colorado.

Garry Wright 10 years, 10 months ago


Glad to hear someone say something about our defense that I agree with. I'm getting really tired of all the extreme negative remarks about the KU defense. Yes, they are a work in progress. They will get better and I believe Mangino will help make that happen. I believe they'll have a much better game against CU and the offense will make hay. The KU game was ISU's coming out game. They are better than most think and will turn some heads even more so before the season is over. The KU/OU game will be a good one and we will have a good opportunity to win, which I think we will.

rasta_meta 10 years, 10 months ago

We are definitely scheme challenged, but we probably don't have the talent to be one of the top 5 defenses in the country either. However, we enough talent to be one the better defenses in the Big 12 and as of right now, we may be the worst defense in the Big 12. We should be better than we are, with the current players we have.

This is a coaching issue every which way you look at it. If they aren't learning the stuff, then the coaches aren't very good teachers. If the schemes put them in the wrong positions, then the coaches are very good schemers, etc. I can handle players making a few mistakes here and there as they learn, but we can't use that excuse every year after they have had more and more experience.

BTW, everyone thought the Denver Broncos would have the worst defense in the NFL this year with the lack of "talent" they had on defense. So far, they have been the best. While Dawkins has been a big impact for them, the new set of Defensive coaches, including Mike Nolan are the biggest reason they went from being the worst defense last year to the best defense this year.

Yes, I know it is NFL and all the talent in the NFL is at the very least decent, but the point is to show that coaching DOES make a difference.

rasta_meta 10 years, 10 months ago

Back in my day we had a guy name Dorian Brew who another guy named Gerald McBurrows who got burned early and often in each every game when Bob Fello was the defensive-coordinator. Then Mason brought in Mike Hankwitz and he brought a d-backs coach named David Gibbs. In one single year, they turned our defense around and made these two corners play on a completely different level. Everyone thought back then that we didn't have the talent, that they were too slow to cover top receivers, etc. After some good coaching, they both played in the NFL. Brew was a third round choice by the Dolphins. Pretty amazing considering he was too slow and not talented enough.

Talent is not the problem, it is coaching...plain and simple. Anyone who has coached beyond the Division I level sees it and knows it.

KU has a lot more talent than people on here think. We need better coaching and we need it now. I want to see Bill Miller make the impact I thought he would have this year. He is a damn good coach.

Dirk Medema 10 years, 10 months ago

On the Ryan Murphy video, there is no start sound. Is this the way that FB 40 times are done? You start whenever you want to?

If so, then the hand (?) timing is valid, tho "hand" timing is notoriously off. Without a start signal, it removes 0.05 to 0.10 of reaction time from your "40".

rastameta 10 years, 10 months ago


Yes, they are typically done by hand in football like what you saw in the video.

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