So much for this summer’s UGA quarterback debate

 It was quite an eventful weekend on the college football front. So what did we learn?

 **–So much for this summer’s UGA quarterback debate: What was going to be a raging quarterback debate throughout the summer—Aaron Murray vs. Zach Mettenberger—ended on Sunday when head coach Mark Richt announced that Mettenberger has been dismissed from the team. Mettenberger was already facing a minimum one-game suspension because of an arrest on alcohol-related charges earlier this Spring. Sports Information Director Claude Felton told the AJC’s Tim Tucker that there was not a new incident involving Mettenberger. It’s very unfortunate and we wish the young man well.

Two things:

I said in this space last week that I thought Murray, the redshirt freshman from Tampa, would be the starter because I thought he was a more complete quarterback. But Mettenberger could have helped provide a change of pace because of his arm strength. Logan Gray is a splendid athlete but not an every down quarterback. And please, let’s don’t talk about a true freshman who comes in this summer (Hutson Mason from Marietta) being the guy when Georgia goes to South Carolina on Sept. 11. Murray is the guy. Coach him up. Keep him healthy. Georgia can win with Murray if the offensive line does its job.

Secondly, is there anybody out there who STILL thinks Mark Richt isn’t tough enough for this job? This is the second guy Richt has kicked off the team this spring (OLB Montez Robinson was the first). If this doesn’t send a message, I don’t know what does.

Reasonable people can disagree on how well Georgia was coached last season. I happen to think Georgia wasn’t well coached in some areas because they committed too many turnovers and penalties. But it had nothing to do with Richt’s toughness or lack thereof. So can we put that silly argument to bed?

 

**–This week could change the face of college football—forever. By Wednesday the Big Ten’s expansion plans may be known to everybody. On Sunday Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany met in Washington, D.C., with some of his presidents who were in town for the Association of American Universities (AAU) meeting. That is an organization of 62 top academic institutions of which all 11 Big Ten schools are members. The Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Delany would use that opportunity to discuss expansion.

On Tuesday Delany travels to the annual BCS Meetings in Phoenix where all 11 conference commissioners will gather. The Big Ten has already said publicly that it will tell the commissioners in advance if they plan to discuss joining the Big Ten with one of their members. So it is not unreasonable to suggest that if some decisions are made on the expansion front, Delany will inform his fellow commissioners this week.

Then the fun begins.

Back on April 5 we told you that among the Big Ten’s ideas on expansion is the possibility of going to 16 teams. That option is still on the table.

Buckle up boys and girls. This summer could be a bumpy ride.

 

**–Logically, Alabama should not be your preseason No. 1. But……..I spent an entire day in Tuscaloosa last week and talked to a lot of coaches and players and folks involved in the Alabama football program. I came away thinking that Alabama was going to be really, really good again but that logically they should not be my preseason No.1. How can a team that lost NINE starters on defense  (including its projected top eight of nine guys in the secondary) be No. 1 before the season starts?

But my friend Andy Staples at SI.com made this point after Saturday’s A-Day game and I agree with it. There is simply not going to be a talent drop off on the Alabama defense.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/andy_staples/04/17/alabama.spring/index.html

 There are so many guys on defense who have played a lot of football.

 Yeah, Rolando McClain is gone but I spent some time with his replacement, Dont’a Hightower. Young Mr. Hightower is every bit of 260 pounds and can run like the wind.

People are talking about losing the defensive front, which included Terrence “Mount” Cody but Josh Chapman and Kerry Murphy are both great players and DE Marcel Dareus is a beast (in the most positive since of the word) who cannot be blocked.

There are good players on defense who must be coached up into a unit. I think Nick Saban and Kirby Smart have proven they can do that.

If ‘Bama’s not No. 1, then who is?

 

**–While there will be no quarterback debate at Georgia this summer, there will certainly be one at Tennessee: When Nick Stephens, the only quarterback who has played in a game for Tennessee, decided to leave midway through Spring practice it looked like JUCO transfer Matt Simms would move into the lead. But Simms has been struggling, first in a scrimmage two weeks ago and then Saturday when he threw three interceptions in the Orange and White game. True freshman Tyler Bray, who enrolled last January, showed a lively arm and threw 40 passes (completing 18) without an interception.

You can never read too much into a Spring game, especially for quarterbacks. But that won’t stop the discussion of Simms vs. Bray this summer on old Rocky Top. Simms has at least played college football at Louisville and at El Camino (Calif.) Community College. It’s hard to believe that a true freshman would start the first game against UT Martin on Sept. 4 with games coming up against Oregon, Florida, LSU, Georgia, and Alabama in six-week span after that.

 Stay tuned. Off to Auburn today as my annual Spring football tour comes to a close. See you Tuesday.

 Please follow me on Twitter:

www.twitter.com/MrCFB

257 comments Add your comment

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
8:23 am

First. He gone!

Charlie Bama

April 19th, 2010
8:24 am

CMR needed to toughen up on players behavior, no doubt. Being tough on the front end (BEFORE they get caught) seems to be better for all in the long run Including the fans, if you know what I mean). Eighteen-to-twenty-one-year-olds are not known for thoughtfully contemplating the consequences of their actions (the attention span of a gnat, in most cases), so a healthy dose of pre-goof-off time inoculations of fear from the head coach can help reduce these tough after-the-fact (after the act?) decisions. I hope the banished kid gets to play someplace –JUCO or something– especially if he really has learned something, like team loyalty.

JB

April 19th, 2010
8:28 am

Let the Aaron Murray era begin!!!

HBTD!!!

s5

April 19th, 2010
8:29 am

Go NOLES!!!!!!

DawgFan618

April 19th, 2010
8:31 am

Love your blogs, but it’s HUDSON Mason, not Hunter. And no, he won’t be the starting QB. I’m with you, it’s Murray.

Charlie Bama

April 19th, 2010
8:31 am

And, yes, SEC fans, Bama will indeed be very, very good again this year. Tony failed to mention that beyond the rebuilt defense, the offense will be a scoring machine, handily doubling average points production per game from last year’s low number, when it seemed to work out just fine, what with winning the NatChamp trophy and all that.

Charlie Bama

April 19th, 2010
8:32 am

Hey, DawgFan618 — IT IS Hutson (with a T) Mason. I’m just saying ……

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
8:35 am

Tony, aren’t you forgetting the great Nash Nance in the Tennessee quarterback debate?

JB

April 19th, 2010
8:38 am

Bama certainly has talent but the question is how will these guys handle starting, playing as a group, the expectations, fill the leadership voids, etc, etc. In other words, no one truly knows.

I’d temper the excitementuntil you see if the proof is in the pudding.

HBTD!!!

Tony Barnhart

April 19th, 2010
8:39 am

Thanks for the catch on Hutson Mason. It has been fixed. My eyes were looking right at the name and my fingers decided to write something else.

JB

April 19th, 2010
8:41 am

Tony,

Had you heard anything about who had actually been winning the QB comp, prior to the dismissal?

HBTD!!!

Dink

April 19th, 2010
8:43 am

Hate it for Mettenberger, a ton of potential and I thought he looked the best during the spring game. I wish him well.

Go Dawgs!

dip

April 19th, 2010
8:45 am

Tony,
The real problem is not punishing them AFTER but not signing them. Maybe Richt has spent too much time with Bobby Bowden. Character matters – the sooner Richt learns this the better off he will be. The number of problem players he has signed over the years is a joke.

Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
8:49 am

Tony, you are lauding Richt for his sudden desire to discipline?? How long has he been at Georgia?? Look, virtually EVERYBODY has problem players that need to be harshly dealt with but I’ll bet ya that the ADs are getting tired of the publicity and the bad image and are telling these coaches to “crack down” or else. Gary Brown, the 5 star recruit DT, was arrested at Florida earlier this year and before anyone even got a chance to debate it…he was gone. Expect to see more and more of this as the schools have grown weary of the baby sitting of some of these prima-donnas and are just not going to take the bad pub anymore.

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
8:50 am

Florida, Florida State and The U have done pretty well recruiting “questionable” players. It’s how college football is today, dip.

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
8:54 am

Reptiles Rule. If anybody wants to take shots at Richt about discipline it sure ain’t you. The thugs you’ve had at UF fueled the run to 2 BCS Championship. Try somewhere else with that crap.

mightyKC

April 19th, 2010
8:56 am

Tone,

“DE Marcel Dareus is a beast (in the most positive since of the word)”

since=sense ?

not a fan of msg board grammer police, but this is your job and all ;)

Beast from the East

April 19th, 2010
9:00 am

Jax Dawg,
I don’t think Reptiles Rule was taking a shot. He’s just saying that he thinks most coaches’ tolerance level is getting shorter. It’s a shame because the kid probably grew up a huge UGA fan because of his proximity to Athens. Just wasn’t quite mature enough to handle the scrutiny that most kids that age have never faced. Being a Gator fan, I know we’ve had our share of off the field problems, as well. That’s one of the many reasons we all embraced Tim Tebow so much. That’s the type of kid we wish they all could be. Wish Mett the best and hope he gets his act together.

Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
9:02 am

BTW, overshadowed by the Mettenberger thing, one of the (few) stars from Tennessee’s spring game, S Darren Myles was arrested this weekend the very night of the game. It will be interesting and an early test of the resolve of young Derek Dooley, who is apparently about to face a very challenging year on the field as well. Will he give him a mere slap on the wrist and just put him right back there with Mr. armed robbery “look-out boy”, Janzen Jackson? Remember Kiffin slapped HIS wrist and then slapped him right back on the field. The other two guys took the fall because Jackson was the starter and apparent future star…we’ll see…

Miles

April 19th, 2010
9:03 am

Alabama’s the best team out there right now…they’ll meet the Buckeyes in the Natioanl Championship…

Jacket Backer

April 19th, 2010
9:06 am

Go Jackets!!!

joe

April 19th, 2010
9:06 am

Vols need to give the keys to Bray, take their lumps and let the season play out…Simms doesn’t have it, for whatever reason. If memory serves, Vols did okay when they gave to keys to Peyton and Ainge as true freshmen back in their days. If Bray starts as a freshman, he will benefit in ‘11. ‘12 and ‘13.

Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
9:09 am

Jax Dawg…I guess I’ll have to read my post again for you since you apparently lack comphrension or reading skills…”EVERYBODY has problem players that need to be dealt harshly with”…etc…need I go on or are you capable of taking it from there?? My point was, expect to see a school-wide crackdown on this bad behavior by players.

darrell

April 19th, 2010
9:12 am

Richt has had a problems with penalties for years. He hasn’t fixed it. He’s had a problem with his QB throwing too many interceptions for many years and hasn’t fixed that either. We’re not talking bad, we’re talking #117 in the NCAA bad. Then you look at Richt’s record at Florida being 2-7, losing year after year after year, and you have to ask yourself does Richt know how to fix problems—does he have the ability to fix these type of problems? If so, why do they keep happening year after year?

JB

April 19th, 2010
9:13 am

Other than last year, when has UGA had a big problem with throwing interceptions?

HBTD!!!

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
9:22 am

I took exception with your statement that inferred that Richt woke up and realized he needed to start disciplining his players. I have above average reading skills.

Gary Brown, Janoris Jenkins, Kenneth Tookes, Ronnie Wilson, Marcus Thomas and Jamar Honrsby

April 19th, 2010
9:25 am

Come on Richt! Get control of your players in Athens. You’re an embarrassment!

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
9:27 am

Good morning Tech fan.

athensdawg

April 19th, 2010
9:31 am

should’ve kicked him off at the first sign of trouble. zero tolerance is what i say

TommyJack

April 19th, 2010
9:38 am

TB: I’ll go with you on putting the Richt “toughness” thing to bed. But you’re still flat-out wrong on the new taunting rule….It will become the bane of officiating. Wait and see.

Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
9:42 am

I was simply responding to Mr Barnharts curious statement about people STILL questioning Richt’s “toughness” and then displaying as evidence these two specific disciplinary actions. I just found it interesting that you would have tol be citing these two most recent examples and while still defending a guy who is going into his 10th year. That’s almost like asking a person why he doesn’t know how to do his job…10 years after he was hired.

darrell

April 19th, 2010
9:44 am

Penalties, and turnovers and losing to Florida BECAUSE of penalties and turnovers, year after year, ALL have NOTHING to do with how tough Richt is or how good Richt is at discipline. There is NO correlation. At all. Ever. Under any circumstance. Being ranked #117 in penalties and turnovers means you’re the MOST disciplined team in the NCAA. Everybody knows that.

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
9:45 am

Well, it’s a good thing Coach Meyer is still learning then. Check back with you in 5 years and see how much he’s learned, if he’s there.

darrell

April 19th, 2010
9:48 am

I wouldn’t be knocking Hutson Mason, many of the same people who say Huston Mason doesn’t have a chance to start, also promised Murray would soar above Mettenberger in the Spring scrimmages, and they were wrong there, as Mettenberger totally outplayed Murray, and Murray seriously underperformed. I’m telling you right now, Mason is the best QB right now on the roster.

darrell

April 19th, 2010
9:53 am

After Georgia finished #116 in interceptions last year, and Murray comes out in the 3 spring scrimmages and throws more interceptions than touchdowns, you have to wonder, why can’t Georgia fix these problems? You finish -16 in turnover margin, you think they’d figured out a way to solve that problem. A team that ranks #116 in interceptions thrown shows a LOT of self-discipline.

darrell

April 19th, 2010
9:57 am

maybe Tony’s right. Maybe the reason Richt keeps losing to Florida has absolutely nothing to do with discipline (penalties, turnovers, arrests, etc.).

Maybe it’s Richt’s inability to fix a problem.

Whether you’re talking penalties, losing to Florida, arrests, turnover margin, low td to int ratio, these problems KEEP happening, year after year under Richt.

David Granger

April 19th, 2010
9:58 am

Can’t blame Coach Richt here. Mettenberger reminds me a lot of Ryan Perrilloux…a lot of talent, but very little maturity or self-discipline. It’s a shame…he could have helped us a lot this year, but we’re better off without him.

Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
9:58 am

Jax Dawg, if Urban Meyer decides to walk away today, believe me he has accomplished more in his short tenure here than most coaches would even dream of in 10 years…or even entire careers. But don’t you worry about ole Urban, you’ll be seeing more of him than you care for this fall…and for a few more to come.

Bulldog59

April 19th, 2010
9:58 am

So, you mean even professional writers can make a typo? Good stuff TB…Murray is not only THE guy, he is the ONLY guy. If LG could be #1, he would have done it last year. He needs to be on the field in situations, but not our starting QB. HM just got a promotion and hasn’t even arrived yet; that is scary. The details of the ZM dismissal should be out soon. What could he have possibly done to get this reaction from CMR?

Gary Brown, Janoris Jenkins, Kenneth Tookes, Ronnie Wilson, Marcus Thomas and Jamar Honrsby

April 19th, 2010
10:03 am

We love Coach Meyer too Reptiles Rule.

Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
10:03 am

I’m going for the record today, 5,000 posts. Blah, blah, blah…

Urban Meyer's brain cyst

April 19th, 2010
10:06 am

I sure hope the offense runs better than last year. If we don’t put up 30 points a game and hold the other team to 0, Gator fans complaining will make burst.

darrell

April 19th, 2010
10:08 am

Grace is a powerful thing. Where’s the grace here? Where’s giving this kid, who made a mistake, a second chance? Where’s the grace?

Carlos Dunlap

April 19th, 2010
10:09 am

Give it a rest Jax Dawg. Like I did at the intersection in downtown Gainesville.

s5

April 19th, 2010
10:11 am

If Murray gets hurt, you’re looking at another 5 to 7 loss season dawg fans.

Jax Dawg

April 19th, 2010
10:13 am

Hey darrell. Grace? Grace died 30 years ago. Do you mean “the blessing”?

Dap01

April 19th, 2010
10:13 am

If this had happened at Florida, Coach Myer would have suspended the QB for 1/2 of a game and he would have retired and unretired.

(The Real) Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
10:13 am

Well, you’ve obviously run out of anything reasonable to contribute. Not surprising. I guess the usual name calling come next…

(The Real) Reptiles Rule

April 19th, 2010
10:16 am

Dip01…did you see that somewhere else or did you come up with that all by yourself??

Micah

April 19th, 2010
10:18 am

Wow. It appears that “Mr. College Football” is really only Mr. Southern Football. That’s too bad. It would have been nice to see a note about the Ndumakong Suh donation of $2M to the University of Nebraska. The Big 12 defensive player of the year makes the largest donation any football player has ever made to a college or university.