Making it Murph's turf

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:44 AM ET

Mike Murphy's name is spreading.

After gaining headlines earlier in camp for being a potential long snapper, the rookie defensive end stood out during yesterday's Green and Gold game at Clarke Park.

Blowing past regular Edmonton Eskimos left tackle Joe McGrath, Murphy would have had a sure sack if contact on the quarterback had been allowed.

"I don't know what was going on with that play," said Murphy. "It looked like he (McGrath) was just late off the ball.

"I think it was just miscommunication with the O-line there."

STOCK RISING

Whatever the case, the 23-year-old import is watching his stock go up with veteran players and coaches.

"He is a fast guy," said veteran defensive tackle Charles Alston.

"We didn't know what to expect coming into camp, but man, he has impressed me."

Murphy entered camp as a complete nobody.

Signed as a free agent out of the University of Montana, Murphy is third in all-time sacks at the school and second in all-time tackles for a loss.

By being able to handle long-snapping duties - he was a perfect three-for-three on snaps in yesterday's scrimmage - the 6-foot-4, 240 pounder had already gained a leg up on the other rookie defensive ends at camp.

Now he is showing real promise on the line.

"They are no-nonsense guys that come to work," said head coach Danny Maciocia, noting the similarities between Murphy and budding star Adam Braidwood, who has a firm hold on the other defensive end job.

"They work hard every single day."

Added defensive line coach Malvin Hunter: "He is a really good young guy - very gifted as far as his athletic ability and he is a smart kid as well.

"We are looking forward to seeing him play when the lights come on Friday night (in the first pre-season game)."

And that point can't be over-stressed.

Murphy is just one week into camp and has yet to face real game action.

WORK IN PROGRESS

"He definitely did some good things (yesterday) and I also saw a few things that I am going to get in his ear about tonight," continued Hunter.

"It is a work in progress."

Regardless, the battle between Murphy and returnee Brandon Guillory should be good.

CAMP CHATTER: The Esks enjoyed their biggest fan day turnout in at least 10 years with an estimated 2,500 people watching the Green and Gold game.

"There is great interest in town," said Eskimos marketing director Dave Jamieson.

"There are a lot of new faces people want to see."

ROOKIE RAMBLINGS: While the crowd was good at Clarke Park, it was nothing compared to what rookie kicker Kody Bliss saw at A-Day, which is the University of Auburn's spring scrimmage.

A crowd between 30,000 and 35,000 would turn out for that in Alabama.

"Our A-Day game is more offence versus defence with full tackling and full everything," remembered Bliss.

The rookie kicker nailed both of his field goal attempts and had a powerful punt into the wind. But he is still just an emergency injury replacement for veteran Sean Fleming.


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