Houston OL rips Holgorsen, program in announcing departure

Field Level Media

October 11, 2019 at 4:27 am.

A long and ugly season for Houston football got a little longer and a little uglier on Thursday when a graduate transfer ripped into the administration and head coach Dana Holgorsen on Twitter.

Offensive lineman Justin Murphy, a graduate transfer from UCLA who started four games this season and whom it was reported earlier this week transferred from the Cougars program, confirmed the move Thursday night before making a series of claims against Houston.

His first tweet read, “My name is Justin Murphy. And according to sources I am no longer apart of the 2019 Houston Cougar Football Senior Class. A senior class that is the first group to experience a head coach and administration to actively tank a football season. (THREAD)”

From there, Murphy accused the university of using the players (which he called “labor force”) for the sake of “capitalism” — specifically playing four games in 19 days, from the Sept. 1 season opener against Oklahoma to a Sept. 14 loss to Tulane that dropped the Cougars to 1-3.

Murphy framed what he called Houston’s lack of concern for players as, “Nobody watching is gonna care so we can’t care either!”

He also criticized the Cougars’ decision earlier this year to redshirt some of its best players, including senior quarterback D’Eriq King, in hopes of having a better team in 2020. Plenty of people have viewed that decision as giving up on this season.

But perhaps the most alarming accusation concerned Murphy’s injury.

“Following the fourth game on 9/19/19 I would be advised to receive an MRI in order to proceed with further injections into my right knee, an injury ridden joint starting back to my first year starting at Texas Tech,” Murphy tweeted. “The MRI would reveal yet another torn medial meniscus and a torn and presumed ‘dead’ ACL. An injury that if self-preservation is in mind, I would be advised by a doctor to medically retire.”

Instead, “I would continue to go to work that week, participating in the full speed contact practices in preparation of the game. However, that Friday I was told to remain off the plane and stay in Houston in order to “heal up mentally and physically. … Forcibly taking away one of the reasons why I came to this University in the first place. A suspension that came based on the logic that I was a distraction and not committed to the team. … Coach left practice that day stating, ‘If you’re not 100% committed to the team then don’t get on the bus.’ Ironic in light of recent events.”

When Murphy decided to stop playing and retire from football — “The only other things I have left guaranteed as a result of my time in college football; a 4th and 5th knee surgery and undoubtedly a case of CTE,” Murphy stated — he said he went to tell Holgorsen in person.

“Safe to say there was no love lost between myself and the ole’ head coach. Only reason I say this is because when I went to say my piece on the matter and to swallow my pride and thank him for this opportunity, I was met with a reaction I did not expect,” he tweeted. “Holgorsen sat at a desk, eyes glued to a monitor and replied with 13 words. “I don’t have time to talk, I only have time to coach.” and “O.K.” As if I didn’t deserve an eye to eye farewell or a proper handshake. As a person that is guaranteed a non-salary compensation of S3.4 million to go along with a $300,000 base salary for the 2019 year, one might think you’d have a better outlook on the players that contribute to your compensation. I mean this is a team sport, right?”

Murphy originally played at Texas Tech, but announced in the middle of 2016 he was retiring because of his knee injuries. But he changed his mind and announced he was transferring to UCLA in the spring of 2018. But another knee injury cut his season with the Bruins after four games.

But the NCAA granted him a sixth season of eligibility in December 2018, and he then transferred to Houston.

The Cougars are 2-3 with their only wins over Prairie View A&M and North Texas.

The Houston Chronicle said Holgorsen was not available for comment Thursday night.