Murphy's time arrives at Oregon

2010-09-05T20:30:00Z Murphy's time arrives at OregonBy Jesse Sowa, Albany Democrat-Herald Albany Democrat Herald
September 05, 2010 8:30 pm  • 

EUGENE - Will Murphy admits he had a smile on his face Saturday when he jogged onto the Autzen Stadium turf for his first play in a real college game.

His dad Mark played baseball at Oregon, his brother Andrew was also a walk-on for the Ducks football team a few years back and now it was his turn.

A dream come true, he said.

Murphy, a receiver, made the most of his first opportunity, catching two balls for 22 yards in the third quarter of a 72-0 blowout win against New Mexico.

"To get in there and get some time and just contribute to the team was just awesome," said Murphy, who has been coming to Autzen for Oregon games with his family since he was five years old. "It was definitely a surreal moment."

A West Albany High School graduate, Murphy helped the Bulldogs to the 5A football state title as a senior in 2007 and signed with Western Oregon.

But after arriving on the Western campus in Monmouth, he quickly realized that wasn't the place for him. So he decided to attend Oregon and walk on the football team that same fall, in 2008.

Murphy was among the handful of walk-ons the Ducks keep every year. He spent his first season as a redshirt, making an impact on the scout team.

He played - and made catches - in the past two spring games. Earlier this year, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly told Murphy he had a good spring and was looking forward to seeing what he could do in the fall.

Murphy's position coach, Scott Frost, told him he was the fifth or sixth receiver entering fall camp and would have an opportunity to play if he had a good fall camp.

It was his hard work and dedication that got him his chance on Saturday.

"Just being around the program longer, getting the plays down gives you the confidence and you just worry about playing," Murphy said. "Once you get that confidence it's a night-and-day difference."

Darron Thomas, Oregon's starting quarterback, also joined the team in 2008. The two have spent a lot of time together on the field the past few years.

"He comes out here and works hard," Thomas said. "Some days (in practice) he's the key guy on offense. You don't think so, but he's the guy moving the ball and doing good things.

"It was good to see him out there and making good plays. I'm happy for him. I'm happy he got the opportunity, stayed on the team and he's producing."

It was late in the third quarter Saturday when Murphy got the call. A group of friends and family could be heard chanting his last name when he took the field.

The first play, a pass from second-string quarterback Nate Costa, went to Murphy, lined up on the far right end of the offensive formation. He got nine yards before going out of bounds.

Five plays later, Murphy caught another Costa pass for 13 yards and a first down.

The dream became reality.

"They called in the (first) play and I knew there was a good chance I was going to get it," he said. "Just concentrated, just like practice."

Copyright 2015 Albany Democrat Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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