GAINESVILLE — Florida, ranked last in the SEC in total offense, will have at least one thing in its favor when the Gators play Georgia on Saturday in Jacksonville — Tyler Murphy’s sprained throwing shoulder is rested.
Gators offensive coordinator Brent Pease said Tuesday it had been about two weeks since Murphy had been able to throw much in practice after he was injured in Florida’s 17-6 loss at LSU on Oct. 12.
Pease said Murphy — sacked four times for a loss of 40 yards by the Tigers and hit numerous other times — threw about 30 passes on Monday. Florida does not have availability to the regular media after practice during the week.
“His accuracy was off a little bit and (he is) just kind of getting back into the rhythm and the timing of everything and still kind of having to zip (the ball),” Pease said of Monday. “I mean, he’s fine that way that he can throw, it’s just kind of getting back into that flow, you know, after you haven’t done anything for 14 days.”
Murphy will be critical Saturday, because Georgia ranks fourth in the SEC in rushing defense, giving up 136.7 yards in conference contests, but the Bulldogs are eighth in pass defense (allowing 253.4 per outing).
Georgia opponents have completed 62.2 percent of pass attempts with 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Florida coach Will Muschamp continues to demand that the Gators run the ball, but logic demands change — given UF’s rank of just 10th in the SEC with 3.5 yards per carry in league games and Georgia’s woes defending the pass.
He may have no choice but to set Murphy free in Jacksonville if he’s able to throw with some authority.
“They are obviously not as experienced as last year’s crew, but they still fit into the scheme,” Pease said of a Bulldogs defense that is ninth in the SEC in total defense. “They’re very multiple in what they do. Because they’ll play a couple of different packages depending on what personnel you have in the game.”
Pease, whose offense has 391 yards in the past two games combined, said the Gators have been hampered by Murphy’s limited experience.
“Absolutely,” he said. “You try to protect him a little bit. You don’t lay him out there to take shots and do things with him that makes him vulnerable. ... (Lack of experience) takes certain plays away, absolutely.”