Football Preview 2017: Murphy looking to build off successful season at fullback
QUICKSBURG – Jacob Murphy didn’t used to enjoy running with the ball. But after last season it’s become one of his favorite parts of the game.
The Stonewall Jackson senior fullback led the team in rushing last year, and said that he’s learned to love carrying the ball.
“Running the ball was a great experience,” Murphy said. “I’d never been able to run the ball like that before. And I really enjoyed that more than anything else.”
Stonewall Jackson first-year head coach Pete Lampman, who was an assistant with the Generals last year, said that they noticed that Murphy had the tools to be a good running back last year and gave him the ball more.
“He can see the holes,” Lampman said. “He’s got pretty good ability to cut. He runs hard, which is the big thing. He’s not (former NFL running back) Barry Sanders or anything, but he’s a pretty good running back. And he’s got pretty good vision.”
Murphy ran for 524 yards last year, before a knee injury ended his season in the eighth game.
This year the Generals will be running a triple option offense. Murphy said it hasn’t been too much of an adjustment because the team used that in his freshman year.
Lampman said that Murphy and senior quarterback Brendan Hoover have led the way in the new offense.
“He’s going to get the ball a far amount,” Lampman said of Murphy. “Between him and Brendan they make a good team. They got a good mesh point. They can read the play well. He’s going to run the ball.”
Murphy is also a standout at linebacker, where he has started for the last three years. He played at inside linebacker his freshman and sophomore seasons, but moved to outside linebacker last year.
Lampman said Murphy will be back at inside linebacker this year.
Murphy said he enjoys playing at linebacker and making plays.
“I enjoy just finding the ball and getting to it,” Murphy said. “I enjoy knowing that my line’s doing everything they can and I’m doing everything I can. I just like getting to the ball and making things happen.”
Murphy said he learned a lot his freshman year playing with his older brother Matt at linebacker.
“He taught me a lot, and I like that the most about him,” Murphy said. “He really taught me a lot. And that’s why I play today and love it so much because of him.”
Murphy said he tries to be a leader for the younger players on the team, just like the seniors did for him when he was a freshman.
Lampman said Murphy is a great leader for the Generals.
“Jake, he can be the heart and soul of the program,” Lampman said. “He really works hard. He’s a great kid, a great student, a great citizen. I can’t say enough accolades about Jake. He’s just been a leader on the team and working hard in the weight room, and working hard in the offseason.”
Lampman said that he thinks Murphy has come back from his injury stronger than he was before and that he can have a big season on both sides of the ball.
The Generals have struggled the last few years, with only five combined wins in the last five years.
Murphy said that he believes the team is ready to turn the program around this year.
“We’re learning from it and we’re determined to turn that around,” Murphy said. “As I look back, and I’m sure all the other seniors look back, and they realize they don’t want that anymore. And I think that’s really going to help us this year is that mentality that we don’t want that anymore. It’s not going to be who we are anymore.”