Knoch senior football player Jake Murphy put into new role

Friday, August 19, 2022 | 6:08 PM

As Tim Burchett and the new coaching staff at Knoch install a new offense, plans are to build around Jake Murphy.

Murphy, a senior, was a first-team Greater Allegheny Conference inside linebacker last year and a second-team tight end.

But this season, Murphy will be moving into a slot receiver position as the Knights try to get back into playoff contention. Learning a new offense is nothing new for the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder.

“I’ll be catching a lot of passes and blocking for screens,” Murphy said of his new duties. “This’ll be the third new offense in the last four years. Our coaches are showing us how to run this, and they all come from winning programs.”

Burchett was with Peters Township as an assistant the past five seasons.

“We’re going to utilize Jake in a lot of different ways,” Burchett said. “He’ll be in a variety of different places on the field. He’ll be blocking, catching, doing a lot of stuff for us. His strength and headiness is off the charts.

“Jake’s a captain on the field and off the field, and he takes care of the locker room. That’s what seniors do, and he’s taken ownership of that.”

Burchett said there have been ups and downs learning new offensive and defensive schemes.

“When you put them in situations sometimes where they’re going to fail, you want to see how they respond. We’re making mistakes, but that’s par for the course right now.”

The battle for the starting quarterback’s job still is taking place between junior Aidan Jones and sophomore Codi Mullen. They have different styles that can be tough for opponents to defend.

“We’ve really jelled as a team,” Burchett said about camp. “We’ve done some fun things, and we’ve done some hard things. They’ve responded, so far, to how I coach.”

They are also trying to speed up the learning process. Knoch is getting ready for a Week Zero matchup Friday at Hampton. It’s an evenly matched series at 26-26-1. The schools first played in 1965.

“We’re learning that you have to put in the work to win,” Murphy said. “Coming down to the fourth quarter, you know you’re tired and the coaches are pushing you and pushing you. I expect to be on the field for about 160 snaps per game.”

Murphy, like some of his teammates, is adjusting to playing on the road while Knoch Knights Stadium is undergoing renovation.

“Being home is fun, and it’s nice to be around your friends and family members in your home town, but once the game starts, you don’t care,” Murphy said. “Once the game starts, you’re facing your opponent for 48 minutes.”

Knoch has dropped from Class 4A to Class 3A for the next two seasons. Murphy has changed his jersey from No. 87 to No. 5

Murphy has received offers from Clarion and Ohio’s Notre Dame College and hopes to get more as the season goes on.

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