2013 Mizzou Walkthrough: Murphy is already a special teams all-star

Bill Carter

The junior is one of the best return men and No. 3 running backs in the country.

Marcus Murphy

#6 | 5'9, 195, Jr. | DeSoto, TX

2010: 22 carries, 181 yards (8.2/carry), 2 TD; 6 targets, 2 catches, 5 yards (0.8/target); 24 kick returns, 19.8 average

2012: 46 carries, 251 yards (5.5/carry), 1 TD; 13 targets, 9 catches, 22 yards (1.7/target); 19 kick returns, 24.1 average, 1 TD; 27 punt returns, 13.9 average, 3 TD

Bill C.: Plainly put, Marcus Murphy saved Missouri's backside last year. The Tigers were in a strange position in 2012 -- basically three plays away from 8-4 and three plays away from 2-10 -- and his awesome returns potentially kept Mizzou from sinking a lot lower than 5-7 (his touchdown against UCF was particularly redeeming).

While Murphy is a potential All-American on special teams, he is certainly not without value in the backfield. That Russell Hansbrough passed him on the depth chart probably says more about Hansbrough than Murphy (though it could also say something about Murph's blocking abilities for all we know). In two seasons, Murphy has 6.4 yards per carry, and while he has been barely more valuable than a throwaway in the passing game (19 targets have gained just 27 yards), a running back's first job is to run. Murph can do that. And hopefully with a more competent offense, his spectacular returns will be more of a bonus than a necessity.

MizzouRugby: His speed and return ability will be a huge asset for MU, and hopefully he can start to bring that explosive, big play ability to the regular offense as well.

The Beef: With Hansbrough ascending to the #2 spot, it seems as if Marcus will need to make his contribution on special teams more than at RB. He has certainly shown some impressive runs at times, so perhaps he will make further impressions with 5-7 carries per game. I do not know off-hand who has the better hands between he and Hansbrough, so maybe Marcus has more impact with screens and outs.

countrycal: I would love to see us get Marcus into the game with short passes out of the backfield and an occasional pitchout. He is just too good in the open field to use only as a return man. Even if they do not use him in that way, I believe he can be a regular, productive backup for Josey that forces the defense to acknowledge his speed and running ability.

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