CHESTNUT HILL — Tyler Murphy has overcome big odds before.
The quarterback who made a name for himself in one season at Boston College as a graduate student came to The Heights as a quarterback who was tossed aside by the University of Florida.
During Florida’s 2013 homecoming loss to Vanderbilt, Murphy injured his shoulder, and redshirt freshman quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg played in Florida’s final 3 games. The 2013 Gators team finished 4-8, marking their 1st losing record since 1979 and the 1st time since 1990 that they didn’t play in a bowl. But if there was one thing the Florida quarterback became known for during his short stint in Gainesville, it was his ability to run with the football.
After the poor 2013 season, Murphy became one of several Florida players who chose to transfer to a different school. He transferred to Boston College in January 2014 as a graduate student.
Boston College coach Steve Addazio, and former Florida offensive coordinator, named him the team’s starting quarterback after the school’s annual Spring game, which served as a tryout for Murphy as well as the other, younger quarterbacks on the team.
Murphy immediately blossomed in his new home. His ability as a running quarterback fit in perfectly with Addazio’s rush-heavy offense. Over the season, Murphy lead the team to a 7’6 record, highlighted by a upset victory over No. 9 USC in October, a game in which Murphy ran for 191 yards. He broke the school record for rushing yards by a quarterback (both single-season and career), passing BC legend Doug Flutie in only nine games. In the final game of the season against Syracuse, he broke the ACC single-season rushing record by a quarterback with 1,079 yards.
“He’ll have to play that position,” Addazio said Wednesday. “The simple answer is yes. But he can do a lot of things. He is an elite athlete. These guys are all talking about it here. He’s an elite athlete. He’ll do whatever it takes, yeah. Whatever he has to do, no doubt.”
The real question is will an NFL team see enough from Murphy to either take a chance with a late-round pick or (more likely) sign him as a rookie free agent?
“Well, a lot of people are talking about him because he’s very versatile” Addazio said. “He’s running real well. He will do everything here really well. He’s a young quarterback so I think he’s caught the eye of a lot of people. He’s kind of a different guy. He’s extremely athletic and he’s extremely versatile. He’s needs to develop in the throw game. He’s got a great attitude. They all love him. The minute they minute him, they love who he is and what he is all about. So I think someone is going to get a great find in him, I really do. He can do a lot of stuff. He’s an elite athlete.”
But more than anything, according to Addazio, what sticks out about Murphy is his remarkable maturity as a 23-year-old quarterback who led Eagles to an unlikely Pinstripe Bowl bid against Penn State.
“He’s just got a great maturity about him,” Addazio said. “He’s been through a lot, a lot of coaches, a lot of coordinators, a lot of ups and downs. I think he was just so grateful and thrilled to have a program that was his, so to speak. He blended so well with our team. They loved him. He went out and had his best year. He’s not played a lot of football. That’s the amazing thing here. He played a little bit at Florida, the year before he came here and he played last year. So, he’s still going through that whole evolution of what young quarterbacks go through, especially in the throw game where things happen fast. He handled it all with grace and dignity, and he kept his competitiveness. And in the most competitive moments, he made some of the most competitive plays. So, there’s a future for Tyler, no doubt.”
Andy Gallik (59) anchored a powerful offensive line at Boston College. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
CHESTNUT HILL — Of the 18 players on the field turf of the bubble-covered Alumni Stadium, no one has a bigger and brighter projected future in the NFL than center Andy Gallik. And his coach at Boston College made that much clear Wednesday during BC’s annual Pro Day workout.
“Andy’s going to have a great future playing,” Steve Addazio said of the All-ACC center Everybody likes him. His film doesn’t lie. He has really good film. He’s done well in the different workouts he’s had. The line coaches that have met with him or worked him out like him a lot. I’m sure he’s going to do well.”
Gallik is a pure center capable of playing guard but that’s not where Addazio, an offensive line guru himself, sees the stoudt lineman playing at the next level.
“He’s not strictly a center. He can play guard but he’s uniquely a good center,” Addazio said. “But he sure could play guard but he’s just got that knack. To watch him snap. To watch him shotgun snap a ball for example, or under center snap it and pull to the perimeter, I think he’s gifted. He’s one of the better guys I’ve seen do that. It’s just natural for him. He’s got great balance and he can run. I don’t know what the 40-times are but when you watch him on film, he runs well when he pulls and I think that’s a unique ability he has. And he’s bright. He calls every protection.”
Gallik’s resume is beyond impressive. He started all 12 regular-season games at center. He was named one of six Rimington Trophy finalists, awarded to the nation’s top center. He earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and second-team honors by the head coaches.
He also earned All-New England recognition by the area’s writers and named to ESPN.com’s All-ACC Team. He earned ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors after leading the Eagles to 452 rushing yards, five rushing touchdowns and 506 total yards in the 37-31 upset of No. 9 Southern California (Sept. 13). Gallik graded out at 85 percent and had three knockdowns in the victory. He was a key member of the offensive line that produced the 14th-best rushing attack in the nation, averaging 251.8 yards per game, second-best in the ACC.
The Eagles racked up 500 yards of offensive three times in 2014 and 400 yards twice more. BC became the second ACC school since 2000 to record back-to-back games of at least 400 rushing yards (USC and 413 vs. Maine, Sept. 20). The Eagles rushed for 100+ yards four times, 200+ four times and 300+ yards twice. He paved the way for quarterback Tyler Murphy to break the ACC single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback (1,079) and BC’s career QB rushing yards record.
“I can’t figure out anymore who goes where and all that. I can’t even figure out sometimes why certain guys don’t get invited to the combine,” Addazio said. “I think it’s kind of laughable. I’ve made my living coaching the offensive line. I think I have a pretty good handle on who’s a good player, who’s not a good player. I don’t know. There’s so much that must go on that I must not know. But Andy is really talented and a really good player and he’ll do well.
“One of the things here for our offensive linemen, we coach them really hard. They’re tough here. They come out of here that means they’ve been coached really hard, they’re physical, they’re tough, they’re prepared to handle [different schemes]. We’re not just in some spread scheme here. We’re in a multiple scheme. They understand a power run game. They understand multiple protections. They’re pretty well developed and prepared to go play at the next level. So I think that he’ll be able to go in. And he’s smart. Those guys can go in and make an impact pretty quickly. So, he’ll be able to go help somebody.”
The Patriots officially announced the signings of defensive lineman Alan Branch and cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain on Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a portion of the statement from the team on the moves:
Branch, 30, originally was signed by the Patriots on Oct. 29, 2014. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder, played in eight games with two starts for New England in the regular season and finished with 14 tackles, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed. He played in all three postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIX and totaled seven tackles. Branch is a veteran of eight NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2007-10), Seattle Seahawks (2011-12), Buffalo Bills (2013) and Patriots (2014). Branch entered the NFL as a second-round (33rd overall) draft pick out of Michigan by Arizona in the 2007 NFL Draft. He joined Seattle as an unrestricted free agent in 2011 and Buffalo as an unrestricted free agent in 2013. He went to training camp with Buffalo last summer but was released on Aug. 24. Branch has started in 49 of 102 NFL games and has recorded 184 total tackles and eight sacks.
Fletcher, 28, is a veteran of six NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2009-12) and the Philadelphia Eagles (2013-14). The 6-foot, 200-pounder, has played in 71 NFL games with 54 starts and registered 306 total tackles, one sack, eight interceptions with one returned for a touchdown, 64 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 11 special teams tackles. He has played in one postseason game in 2013 with Philadelphia and added seven total tackles and one interception. Last season with the Eagles, Fletcher started in all 15 games that he played and tallied 66 total tackles, one interception that he returned 34 yards for a touchdown vs. Carolina on Nov. 10 and 26 passes defensed. Fletcher originally entered the NFL as a third-round (66th overall) draft pick by the St. Louis Rams out of Iowa in 2009. He was signed by Philadelphia as an unrestricted free agent from St. Louis on March 12, 2013.
McClain, 26, is a veteran of four NFL seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2010), the Jacksonville Jaguars (2011) and the Atlanta Falcons (2012-14). The 5-foot-9, 195-pounder, has played in 63 NFL games with 17 starts and has tallied 202 total tackles, three interceptions, 21 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He has also played in two postseason games in 2012 with Atlanta where he finished with one assisted tackle. Last season with the Falcons, he played in 16 games with six starts and finished with 60 total tackles, one sack, two interceptions and five passes defensed. McClain originally entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick (249th overall) by Carolina out of Connecticut in 2010. After being released by Carolina at the end of training camp in 2011, he was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 12 but was released on Dec. 29. McClain was inactive during his two-game stint with Jaguars. He signed with Atlanta as a free agent on Jan. 10, 2012.
Many topics will be discussed next week at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix — one of them being the rules within the game.
Prior to the meetings teams can submit rule change proposals, and the Patriots have submitted three:
1. Challenges to include anything
Coaches could challenge any part of plays, including penalties.
2. Fixed cameras on boundary lines
This is a topic Bill Belichick has talked about for years where he would like cameras positioned on all boundary lines (sidelines, end lines, goal lines), instead of using the TV camera angles for reviews. Belichick thinks this would help get all calls right via instant replay.
3. Extra points moved back to the 15-yard line
This is another topic Belichick has talked about for years. To make the extra-point a more competitive play, he would like the ball to be placed on the 15-yard line, opposed to the 2-yard line.
Also of note, the competition committee has a proposal that would require an eligible receiver who reports as ineligible be restricted to line up within the tackle box. This comes after the AFC divisional round when the Patriots declared eligible receivers ineligible, and helped them in their comeback win over the Ravens.
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2015 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Josue Matias did not post great numbers at the combine, but he helped Florida State win a national championship. (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
What he brings: Many scouts see Matias as a sound all-around player who can play a complementary role on an offensive line, but he isn’t expected to be a star. He is praised for using his size and length to reach defenders first and establish a base in pass protection, and keeping his motor running in the running game to move defenders out of the way. The main concern has to do with his athleticism, as he is on the slower side after his first step, and he may have trouble moving his big frame to the point of contact on mobile blocks.
Where the Patriots could get him: Rounds 6-7
Notes: Matias had some injury trouble in high school, which led to him missing his senior season with a knee problem, but he made 43 consecutive starts for the Seminoles dating back to his 2011 freshman season. ESPN.com ranks him as the 11th guard and 190th overall in the draft. Matias did not test particularly well at the combine, finishing toward the bottom in all of the speed/agility tests that he participated in. Following his disappointing results at the combine, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said that, despite not looking athletic, “Matias was a three-year starter on a very successful team. He also simply did not give up sacks.” His name is pronounced Hoe-sway Muh-tee-us.
The 5-foot-9, 180-pound McClain, a seventh-round pick of the Panthers in 2010, has spent four seasons in the league, and has three picks and 158 tackles in his professional career. The former UConn standout had his best season last year with the Falcons, where he started six games, had one sack, two interceptions and added 49 tackles.
“I’ll play anywhere,” said Spikes when asked about a return to New England. “Given the opportunity, I’ll play anywhere. I just want to go and play the game. I love it.”
Spikes was asked how the Patriots have been able to sustain a high level of success.
“It’s the Hoodie. It’s Bill Belichick. He’s a genius,” Spikes said. “He just plugs guys in and his system works. My time there, I just learned how to be a true professional. It’s a first-class organization. They drafted me and a lot of teams passed on me. They gave me the opportunity and I’ll always be forever grateful for that.”
For what it’s worth, Spikes has done his due diligence when it comes to selling himself as a free agent, saying he’d also “like to go back” to Buffalo, and adding “I love Rex (Ryan) and I love what he brings to the table.”
He added: “I think for the most part my agency has been doing a great job with that and I just let them know I’m ready to go. Whoever wants me, they’re going to get a great player, complete player, a leader, a guy that plays the game the right way with a lot of fire. Like I said, I’m ready to go. I’m all good.”
He also weighed in on the professional chances of his old college teammate Tim Tebow, who recently had a tryout with the Eagles
“This guy is a born winner,” Spikes said. “I know his measurements might not be there but the intangibles … at the end of the day, you want a winner and he’ll do whatever he has to — scratch, claw and I’ve seen him. He’s the hardest worker I’ve ever been around. Great teammate, a great guy. I feel like if you just keep telling him he can’t, he’s just going to try to prove you wrong and he will prove people wrong.”
The main developments to come out of the Aaron Hernandez trial on Tuesday were that the prosecution presented an acquaintance of Hernandez’s who said the former Patriot looked angry when he was with the victim, Odin Lloyd, at a club a few days before the killing, and a Nike specialist said Hernandez was wearing the same kind of shoes that left a footprint at the scene of the crime.
Hernandez’s defense lawyer, Michael Fee, questioned the credibility of the acquaintance, Kwami Nicholas, who the defense established had never met Hernandez before that night, and Fee found discrepancies between what Nicholas told police in 2013 and the testimony he gave on Tuesday. Fee also asked Nicholas if he had familiarity with Hernandez’s facial expressions or mannerisms since he had never met him before, and Nicholas said that he was ‘”familiar with human expression,” but not Hernandez’s specifically.
Herbert Hughes, a Nike consultant, said that Hernandez was wearing Nike Air Jordan 11 Lows in both the surveillance video in his home about 10 minutes after the killing and in the video of him at the gas station 90 minutes prior. Prosecutors said that the footprints at the scene were left by that type of shoe, but defense lawyer James Sultan said that there are more than 3 million shoes with that sole. Hedges noted that Hernandez’s size 13 was more uncommon and that the sole for that size of shoe would be different from smaller ones.
Video was shown of a set of headlights on its way to the industrial park where Lloyd was found, but the quality was so bad that the number of people in the car or its type could not be identified.
On Wednesday morning the trial focused on a handful of witnesses, according to Bob McGovern of the Boston Herald, the first of which was Scott Bazinet, a surveillance camera installer. The following was Paul Belham, who owns a business near the industrial park and had some security footage of headlights passing by. Christopher Mitchell of the North Attleboro Electric Company, next on the stand, also had footage that was clearer than some others but still not definitive.
Steve Bennett of the Massachusetts State Police Crime Services Unit was next, and he had been involved with the investigation for a while. He described the crime scene for much of his testimony.