Arizona’s newest man on campus: DeMarco Murray
What will the new coach bring to Arizona?
The Arizona Wildcats football team has a new face in the running back room, and it comes with plenty of star power in former All-Pro running back DeMarco Murray.
The former Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans tailback joined the Arizona coaching staff in January 2019 as a running backs coach. Murray will look to help and improve an already impressive running back group that includes AP All American J.J. Taylor, who finished the 2018 season as the nation’s second-leading all-purpose player and sixth-leading rusher.
Murray comes with a pretty impressive resume, including three Pro Bowl selections, first team All-Pro, NFL Offensive Player of the Year and earning First Team All-Big-12 honors twice at the University of Oklahoma.
“I’m real excited because he has running back experience and hasn’t been out the league that long,” Taylor said of his new coach.
In the limited time he has been here, Taylor said Murray has been helpful in teaching him.
“You know, he’s teaching us all the stuff that we need to know for the future, and we’re all trying to soak it in and learn the most,” Taylor explained.
Murray comes to Arizona with familiar with head coach Kevin Sumlin, who recruited and coached him at the University of Oklahoma. The strong recruiting that enticed Murray to come play for Sumlin at Oklahoma also played a role in getting him out of the broadcasting booth at Fox and into coaching at the collegiate level.
“[Sumlin] is good at it, but he didn’t have to do too much recruiting, because this was a place that I wanted to be, and it’s a family atmosphere and a lot of mental talent when it comes to Xs and Os and running the team,” Murray said.
Murray also explained that his getting into coaching a bit earlier than he anticipated had a lot to do with Arizona's second-year head coach.
“If anyone else would’ve called me, I probably wouldn’t have taken the job," Murray said. "But knowing coach Sumlin and knowing what he’s about and the kind of man he is, that was one of the main reasons."
While meeting with the media a few days prior to when Murray did, Sumlin said he is thrilled to have Murray as a part of the staff knowing he can not only help share his knowledge of the running back position with the current backs but also play a crucial role in recruiting, especially in Las Vegas – where Murray grew up – and Dallas.
“His knowledge of the game and ability to present the information was as good as anybody’s,” Sumlin said of Murray.
As for what the former NFL star will bring on the field, Murray described his coaching style as similar to Sumlin's.
“I’m laid back until I’m not and until they make a mistake or until they do something that I feel they shouldn’t, but I’m not a big yeller, I’m not a big screamer," Murray said. "For me, it’s about teaching them the right things and teaching them the right mechanics of the game and taking what we’re learning in the classroom and doing it on the field. I know different guys learn better on the film, and some guys learn better with reps, so I try to find who’s good at what and make that a purpose for me to get better and let them get better."
Despite a lackluster first campaign in the Sumlin year with a 5-7 record, Murray remains positive that things are trending in the right direction in Tucson. He ended his media session with a short recruiting speech.
“If you want to play for the right guy and you want to play with a winning attitude and a winning person, that’s coach Sumlin," Murray said. "If you look at what he has done at Houston and look at what he’s done at A&M — last year was his first year and kind of got into it late, but he’s starting to build together the right kind of pieces, the players and the coaching staff and he wants to take us to the next level.”
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