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July 14, 2014
Summer Shakedown: Quarterback
For the second installment of our position-by-position look at the BC roster this summer, we look at quarterback.
On August 30th, the Eagles will have a starting quarterback not named Chase Rettig for the first time since the 2010 season. Retting departs as the 4th leading passer in school history.
In steps senior quarterback Tyler Murphy, a 5th year transfer from Florida. Murphy started six games for the Gators last year completing 112-of-185 passes for 1,216 yards, six TDs and five INTs and added three rushing touchdowns. A shoulder injury against Vanderbilt cost Murphy the rest of his season after six games, but until the injury was by far the most productive quarterback in Florida's carousel of injured quarterbacks last year.
BC doesn't have any experienced quarterbacks behind Murphy since last year's backup Josh Bordner has moved out to wide receiver. The likely backup is true freshman Darius Wade, the 21st ranked dual-threat quarterback in the '14 class. In spring camp Wade displayed exceptional athletic ability to go along good arm strength. During summer camp in August, Wade will continue to work on the touch of his passes and overall pocket presence as he builds toward becoming the future starting quarterback at the Heights
Redshirt freshman James Walsh and true freshman Troy Flutie will also compete for the backup role in camp.
Spring Surprise Murphy Steps Right In
Heading into spring camp, coach Addazio said that there would be an open competition at quarterback. Most people read that to say that Murphy and Wade would compete for the job.
While Murphy and Wade both stand at roughly the same height around 6'1" or 6'2", their physical appearances are pretty noticeable right away. Murphy has a solid 15 pounds on Wade, which is natural considering he is a few years older. Based on physical attributes alone, Murphy looked more suited to the starting role.
On the field, Murphy didn't disappoint either. The senior quarterback has a fluent throwing motion and delivers an accurate ball on short and medium range passes. Murphy also showed that he is a good decision-maker in the read option, which obviously is an important skillset in BC's new offense.
While it might have been an open competition heading into camp, Murphy took the reins and grabbed the starting quarterback job right away. Murphy was expected to win the job, but he surprised most people in looking like he will be one of the top five or six quarterbacks in the conference instead of just a one year band aid before Wade takes over. The quarterback position that was a question mark in the winter looks to be in good hands with Murphy.
The big question: What happens if Murphy gets off to a slow start?
This is a little bit of a loaded question because there could be many reasons as to why Murphy gets off to a slow start and some of the reasons might not even be his fault. Is it because he is getting no help at wide receiver? Is an injury hampering his ability to make plays with his legs? Are the Eagles constantly playing from behind and putting Murphy in a position where he's throwing every down with an inexperienced wide receiver group?
With a game against UMass at Foxborough and a home game against Maine, the Eagles have what look like two pretty easy wins in August and September. However, two early season home games already have BC slated as underdogs against USC (+21.5) and Pitt (+6.5), and a game against Colorado State figures to have BC as only the slightest of favorites. If the team starts off 2-3 and Murphy is playing poorly, will Addazio feel pressured to build for the future with Wade? Or will he resist the temptation of the unknown and leave Wade's redshirt status intact?
What does the future hold at quarterback?
Wade, Walsh and Flutie will get the chance to compete for the job next year, but Wade is the frontrunner based on his spring performance and how high the staff has been on him. Ryan Day now has strictly dual threat quarterbacks on the roster like he has wanted from the start.
In the 2015 recruiting class Elijah Robinson and Jeff Smith were both recruited as quarterbacks. Both players have caught the attention of college coaches and recruiting analysts because of the work they've done with their legs but not with their arms. EagleAction.com recruiting analyst Justin Rowland says, "We think it's likely at least one of them, perhaps both, ultimately stays at quarterback. But if things don't work out they could certainly switch around to a skill position on one side of the ball or the other."
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