Foxborough — The Patriots training camp had its first surprise before practice began on Wednesday.
Bill Murray, a third-year pro, walked into the practice area wearing the white No. 62 jersey instead of the blue, meaning he was playing on offense rather than on defense. Murray has played an exclusively defensive game since college and the last two seasons in which he has been on the Patriots’ practice squad.
Murray, who played offensive tackle and guard in high school, shared on Saturday how that change came about.
Murray said, ‘I am here to help the team in whatever way I can. “coach [Bill Belichick] I wanted to try the offensive line. So, I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and help the team in any way I can. ,
Now practicing four in the new position, Murray admits that the transition hasn’t been the smoothest, even with her high school experience.
“It’s a brand new situation. It’s very tough,” said Murray. “My teammates have been very helpful. My coaches have been very helpful. Every day, I’m just trying my best to get better, that’s all. I can do that.”
The main thing that Murray mentioned that offensive line coaches are working on is the “fundamentals.” Murray mentioned that word several times on Saturday when asked what he was focusing on to help him transition to his new position.
There is one thing that Murray said he could take from a defensive tackle in his move to the other side of the ball.
“Just the rigors of regular football,” Murray said when asked about the similarities between the two positions. “Being there mentally and being there physically.”
Aside from actually playing the position, Murray said he didn’t have to do anything differently off-season or on further practice to prepare himself to play on the offensive line.
“I think anything with football, you just have to be familiar with everything,” Murray said. “You have to watch the movie, know what you’re doing. It’s different, but in reality it’s the same. Preparation for football and in general.”
Murray noted that making the changes he’s played for the team over the past two seasons has made the move a little easier, adding, “We’re all in the locker room together. We can all get along with each other in better ways.” So, it hasn’t been too big of a transition.”
About the work he’s done so far, Murray said that one thing in the process so far surprised him a little.
“Everyone works their butt off,” said Murray. “It’s always been the biggest surprise for me, to see how my body is able to do different movements and all those things, yet just adjusting to it.”
Murray’s move is not unprecedented in the NFL, and certainly not in New England either. During Belichick’s tenure, the Patriots moved players such as Julian Edelman and Devin McCourty to new positions from where they played in college. Edelman and Troy Brown both played receiver and corner when the team was battling injuries in the secondary on points.
Murray cited a former Patriot who took the same move as him, and the coaching staff cited someone as inspiration that it might work.
“Stephen Neal, I could be wrong, he was someone who was an All-American wrestler who started with the D-line and switched to the offensive line and had a hell of a career,” Murray said. “So, it’s definitely a positive knowing that people have done it. But once again, I’m excited to have this opportunity and to have it.”
Neil and Murray’s careers leading up to the change of position were not exactly the same. As reported by Murray, Neil was an All-American wrestler for Cal State Bakersfield, but he did not play football in college. Murray joked that he himself hadn’t wrestled since middle school.
Murray has yet to play Down in an NFL game, so whatever chance gives him a way to play, he’ll go for it.
“I’m excited. This is an opportunity,” said Murray. “I can be grateful for this opportunity and take it forward and get better every single day.”
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