08/30/12 — Cougars' Murphy has become focal point of offense this season

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Cougars' Murphy has become focal point of offense this season

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on August 30, 2012 1:49 PM

Opportunity is going to continue to knock all season for Goldsboro High School quarterback Julius Murphy. How far he gets inside the door remains to be seen.

Running the ball is no longer the first, second and third option for the Cougars.

Murphy has become the focal point of first-year offensive coordinator Ben Johnson's scheme. He has attempted 50 passes through the first two games this season after putting 209 passes in the air a year ago.

Goldsboro (1-1 overall) routinely showed shotgun, four-wide receiver formations during their 48-26 victory over Eastern Wayne at Cougar Stadium last Friday. The Cougars have rushed for just 176 yards and average fewer than four yards a carry.

After enjoying the spoils of talented backs such as Hykeem Coley, Anthony Council, Freddie Jones and Andre Montgomery in recent years, Goldsboro's backfield may have finally reached the downward portion of the cyclical flow of talent that every high school inevitably experiences.

"Early on offensively, I think we were having trouble getting in synch," Reid said. "We were trying to establish a running game to complement our passing game so we can have a multi-dimensional offense. The offensive scheme that has been put in is great for us, it fits our talent. I think as long as we keep working hard the improvement will come."

Murphy completed 11 of 25 passes against Eastern Wayne and threw one interception. His decision making and ability to read defenses appeared to be on par with what should be expected from a senior quarterback.

Accuracy on the other hand continues to be an issue.

Reid noted that a driving rain during Friday's win over the Warriors had a significant impact on the passing game. That bothered Murphy, who inherited the starting quarterback job from Cortez Sprangle as a junior last season.

"Throughout the summer and in the passing league, Julius had done a wonderful job of putting the ball on point," Reid said. "I think there were a couple of instances tonight where he said the ball was wet and it slipped out of his hand. We are going to be better in our passing game and we are going to shock some people.

"It is just a matter of time."

The 6-foot-2 Murphy completed just 41.6 percent of his passes a year ago and had 13 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The Cougars' pass-happy offense does not appear to be changing its philosophy any time soon, meaning Murphy and the wide receivers must produce.

Murphy has the arm strength to exploit defenses downfield and possesses the physical skills necessary to carry an offense reliant on the pass. Developing some chemistry in the running game could keep opposing defenses off-balance and take pressure off Murphy.

Just how far Murphy and Goldsboro go remains up in the air.