You could not tell by watching him Saturday night, but Myles Murphy was nervous about making his college football debut at Wake Forest.
“The first drive out there, I was actually very nervous,” the freshman defensive end said.
But once he started to try and get around the Wake Forest offensive tackle, that all went away. Murphy soon settled in and put together one of the best defensive performances by a true freshman in his first game as a Tiger.
“Once you make that first contact on the field, all of that anxiousness and jitteriness just gets out of your body,” he said. “After that I just kept telling myself that it is football. It is the same thing I have been playing the past few years. The rest of the game really felt like high school ball and I was really doing what I like doing on the field.”
What Murphy did on the field was lead the Tigers with seven tackles. He also led the defense with three tackles for loss and two sacks. Not a bad debut at all for the freshman defensive end from Marietta, Ga.
“I am really excited about Myles,” defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “He has so much natural ability. He is not a refined pass rusher that is still getting better. He has plenty of things he has to improve at, but he is so powerful and physical.
“Most young players, that is the last piece that comes is that physicality standpoint. That has not been a problem since Day 1. He has been ultra-physical. He loves to put his face in the middle of it. Heavy handed kid. He has a great motor and is very cerebral and is just very intelligent. For him to pick up what he has picked up is really pretty remarkable to be honest.”
Picking up Venables’ scheme is not an easy thing to do, either. Sometimes it takes a few years for a player to truly pickup everything Venables wants them to do. But that has not been the case with Murphy.
He says all he can do is do his best to learn it.
“I feel like I am coming along pretty well with the playbook. It honestly feels like he keeps adding on to the plays, but that is just the defensive coordinator he is and that is what makes our defense so good,” the freshman said. “All I can do is keep learning the system. I don’t know everything, but what I do know is paying off.”
Venables says Murphy is only going to get better. The Clemson coach said his new defense has tremendous potential from a mental standpoint and skill wise. He really likes Murphy’s work ethic and his ability to be coached.
“Like I said, he has tremendous humility,” Venables said. “He was disruptive the other night and he will be a guy that I believe will get better, better and better the more he plays.”
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