In a lengthy Twitter thread posted on Thursday night, former Houston right guard Justin Murphy accused new head coach Dana Holgorsen of making the decision to “actively tank” during the 2019-20 season.
According to Murphy, Holgorsen encouraged seniors on the team to redshirt this season after the Cougars’ 1-3 start and “develop” for next year, the college football equivalent of tanking. Star quarterback D’Eriq King announced he would sit out the rest of the year on September 30, as did wide receiver Keith Corbin. Houston is currently 2-3.
Murphy, a sixth-year graduate transfer, claims he was diagnosed with a torn meniscus the same day King announced he would be sitting out. Murphy also says the MRI revealed a “dead” ACL in the same knee, and he was advised to medically retire. King practiced the following week and planned to play through the injury, but was told his services would not be needed for the rest of the season–his final as a college football player–prior to the Cougars’ September 28 game against North Texas.
“As a second time graduate transfer that was recruited to Houston on verbal confirmation that we intended to win now, Coach’s actions in a lot of ways proved otherwise,” said Murphy in his Twitter thread.
Murphy claims he went to Holgorsen’s office after the North Texas game to “say my peace” on the de facto suspension. According to the thread, Holgorsen refused to look Murphy in the eye and said, “I don’t have time to talk, I only have time to coach.”
Murphy left the program earlier this week. A University of Houston athletics spokesperson declined to comment on the situation to the Houston Chronicle.