How long is too long for three quarterbacks?

What if Zach Mettenberger wins the QB race but has to sit out the first game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

What if Zach Mettenberger wins the QB race but has to sit out the first game? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

I’ve heard several fans complaining about the way Mark Richt and Mike Bobo are handling Georgia’s search for a starting quarterback.

The gist of the complaints seems to be an assumption that the coaches are artificially maintaining the three-way race between Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Logan Gray, treating them equally in spring practice, when it seems hardly likely that all three are still completely even. And, so the thinking goes, if one of them is clearly more advanced than the other two (most folks assume that would be Murray), why continue to give the others the same number of reps with the first-string offense? Why not go ahead and annoint him the leader and give him more work so that he’ll be further along come August?

I find it hard to believe that’s what’s going on, though. More likely, I think, is that while the battle might not be a dead heat between the three, no one has separated himself enough from the pack for the coaches to feel comfortable declaring a depth chart at QB.

Plus, I’m not sure the treatment is really as equal as it’s being officially presented. I noted that after last week’s scrimmage, when Mettenberger and Murray’s passing numbers were clearly better than Gray’s, Richt pointed out that most of Gray’s snaps had been with injury-depleted second unit. So obviously Mettenberger and Murray were getting more time with the first unit.

Still, how long can this three-headed quarterbacking go on? Will we find out after G-Day who the leader is, or will it still be a three-man race come August?

UPDATE: Richt said after Saturday’s scrimmage that he will release a depth chart after G-Day, though he might not name a starter.

And David Hale of Bulldogs Blog raises another interesting point: Mettenberger likely will be suspended for the first game of the season as a result of his alcohol-related arrest. What if he turns out to be the best choice behind center? What would it do to the offense’s progress to have to start Gray or Murray against Louisiana-Lafayette and then turn around and switch to Mettenberger a week later in the SEC opener at South Carolina? Can you really prepare two starting quarterbacks in August without diluting your efforts?

Bobo admitted to Hale that would be a problem, but said, “Right now, we don’t want [the quarterbacks] looking ahead, and I want us trying to get better. We have a lot to get better at, and it’s too early to decide that. We’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it. In a perfect world, I don’t want to rep two or three quarterbacks before the first game because we’ve still got to get a guy ready. But all of that is the head coach’s decision, too, so we’ll see.”

So are you comfortable with that approach? Or would you rather see the future starter getting more work now?

TAXI TALE, TAKE 2

Some folks apparently took what I wrote Friday about the taxi cab incident allegedly involving Georgia football players to mean I was saying that being kicked of the team would be too harsh a penalty if it’s true. That’s not what I meant to imply at all.

And, in fact, I didn’t actually state what I thought ought to be done in such a case. In explaining the reasoning behind early calls in the blogosphere for such a dismissal from the team, I noted that it would be a pretty severe punishment for some slaps in the back of the head and threats. And certainly the alleged actions don’t rise to the level of some past transgressions by college athletes, including attempted armed robbery, beat-downs, drug-dealing and smashing a beer pitcher in someone’s face. But they still are not acceptable behavior for players representing the university.

I deliberately didn’t say what I thought ought to be done because I felt it was premature since we don’t even know that a college athlete was involved. But just so everyone’s clear, here’s where I stand: If the folks accused in the incident were UGA athletes, and if what was alleged in the police report was accurate — a mighty big if — then I think dismissal from the team would be in order on top of whatever legal sentence they got in court. If it turns out that what happened fell short of what is claimed in the report but still involved any threatening or abusive behavior, then that would probably merit at least a substantial suspension, possibly for a full season.

Let’s keep one thing in mind, though. The police report is just a record of what one side claims happened in the incident. And even then the details of what’s being claimed are in flux. The report has the alleged victims claiming threats of a sexual nature involving a swing, but a friend of the couple who was in the taxi with them told The Red and Black that what was actually said was, “Do y’all swing?” Not quite the same thing.

The bottom line is that we don’t know what, if anything, really happened, or even whether it involved UGA football players. Which is why I return to the point I made Friday: Everyone should emulate Mark Richt in this case and wait and see rather than rushing to judgment.

124 comments Add your comment

Dawgaholic

April 3rd, 2010
11:24 am

TuckDAWG

April 3rd, 2010
11:28 am

Am i first? Good blawg bill i think we need to pick a QB since we have no one with experince and that guys needs all the snaps he can get to be ready to lead our dawgs on the field. GATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
11:37 am

What a bunch of nerds with your claims of ‘first’.

Do you jokers read the articles or just race down to the bottom of the page and get your jollies?

Saint Simons is My Janitor

April 3rd, 2010
11:40 am

Way to go Simons

4th now 5th

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
11:45 am

Hey Bill

Enjoy your show on XM every morning.

Do you think Richt has the brains or skills to start beating FL?

I personally think that he does not take this game as serious as Dooly did and that is one of the reasons he cant beat FL.

Sorry I don’t count the two he has won since Zook was fired and when the entire FL team was all freshmen and sophmore.

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
11:46 am

I think they’ve actually chosen the starter, but they keep feeding you guys the same line of bologna and see how long you’ll keep eating it.

But what do I know? I’m just a stadium.

11Dawg

April 3rd, 2010
11:48 am

If Mett does end up being the best, I still wouldn’t see him starting until at least after the Arkansas game. I don’t want to go against SC or Arkansas with a QB who’s never taken a snap at the college level.

Johnny DangerDawg

April 3rd, 2010
11:55 am

David Hale is right. If the coaches think Mettenberger has a shot at being their best QB, they have to get him ready to play (even though he can’t play in the opener.) Meanwhile, you have to have a starter and a backup prepared to play in Game One; this means Murray and Gray definitely needs plenty of reps before the opener.
It would all be a lot easier if there were no suspensions, because then the coaches could let their two best QBs take most of the reps at the expense of the 3rd stringer.

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
11:58 am

What’s up with Mett’s funky hair?

He’s got that North Georgia frat boy ‘do. That’s not gonna work for a starting QB.

Granted, Stafford had those goofy sideburns, but he’s a Texan. They’re kinda goofy over there, anyway. But it worked for Namath.

Logan’s got that Terminator hair. Probably the best look gettin’ off the
bus, as they say.

Murray doesn’t care about BS like hairstyles, probably ’cause he’s thinking about football. There’s your man.

But what do I know? I’m just a stadium.

bruce mac

April 3rd, 2010
12:04 pm

Much ado about nothing. He said, she said in a Taxi no less. No harm no foul. Move on.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
12:06 pm

I like our 8th year starter’s hair

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
12:11 pm

BTW, speaking of Burt Reynolds, my money is on Mett to be the first to grow a ’stache. But not one of those hip, ironic moustaches that the kids are wearing these days. His attempt at irony would fall short, or the irony would be that his ironic moustache would simply sit above his lip like a weird caterpillar, never to fully bloom into a butterfly…or even a handlebar moustache.

But what do I know? I’m just a stadium, empty on a Saturday afternoon, filled only with wi-fi and thoughts of Burt Reynolds’ moustache.

Bow Wow

April 3rd, 2010
12:15 pm

It looks like Richt has another crop of gangstas.

ATL XMAN

April 3rd, 2010
12:16 pm

small johnson richt has beaten fla twice and will do again and again. just have patience. you cant take away his two victories just because of the class of the kids fla is playing they all count and richt beat meyer fair and square.

also bill, just let richt pick the starter on his own time and blog about something else. i mean this is getting old. after watching the three qbs play any normal guy who has played football can tell murry is the better qb and will be the starter unless he is hurt. it always good to have the back up ready so taking away their reps in order for the starter to get more is crazy. the starter will get plenty of reps anyways when the season starts so sharing them now is no big deal.richt is doing the right thing as he always does. its his team and he knows more about his team more than any blogger does anyway so trust in richt and blog about something else like will tech offense be worse with pj players instead of gailys players. uga fans will have a blast talking about that and then wacth all the tech fans get on here whining..it will be great.

Ron Burgundy

April 3rd, 2010
12:18 pm

Why are you paying so much attention to hairstyles Sanford? IT does not go that much into detail in deciding who’s a better qb. I dont think that crosses Richt’s mind in deciding

Grant Field

April 3rd, 2010
12:18 pm

Hey, Sanford Stadium:

I like Paul Johnson’s hair. Although sometimes I wonder if it isn’t a giant hairy spider that is going to attack an opposing team’s mascot.

God, I’d complain about feeling empty on a Saturday, but that’s how I usually feel on Saturdays.

Ron Burgundy

April 3rd, 2010
12:22 pm

But what do i know, Im just an amazing news anchor.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
12:23 pm

Who knows by the time Murry or Met play, they will have time to grow a ZZ top doo and by then their hair will turn gray

Im sure Richt and Bobo have plenty more 5th, 6th, and 7th year QB’s they need to play because of loyalty.

Chris

April 3rd, 2010
12:23 pm

He can make the competition as long as he wants it to be. He wants the best guy out there, and if it has to go into fall camp, who are we to argue with that? The “starter” in the spring might fall off come August…

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
12:24 pm

Hey Ron, how are things?

I think it’s pretty obvious Richt cares a lot about hair.

I just wanted to say I love your hair, too. That’s what it takes to be the greatest news anchor in the history of history. Did you ever get those pleats worked out?

Tell Ms. Corningstone ‘hi’ for me. I really love you guys’ show.

Stay classy, Ron Burgundy!

Ron Burgundy

April 3rd, 2010
12:29 pm

Just throwing it out there Sanford if you like it thats awsome but if not just throw it back

UGAAlumnus

April 3rd, 2010
12:30 pm

I had no idea that our beloved Sanford Stadium was a gay fashionista… hmmm

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
12:31 pm

Speaking of ZZ Top, the whole subject of the QB three way is making me feel zzzzzz…

Somebody wake me when it’s Fall.

Hello BuLLdaug

April 3rd, 2010
12:33 pm

Logan has waited patiently for hit starting role.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
12:33 pm

ATL XMAN

My point is Richt can’t be a good FL team like Dooley could
He beats FL with a fired coach on the sideline and then beats a Meyer team with all freshman and sophmore, big deal

And Im glad to beat tech but Just remember people we have had two opportunities to play the national title but did not because Richt and the conservative gang could not beat FL

And here is a tidbit Richt should think FL for losing so he could win his two SEC championships otherwise we never would have played for the SEC championship had not FL lost out because we never beat them those years

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
12:34 pm

Oh, UGAAlumnus…YOU knew! ;)

Hey, Ron Burgundy, I’ve got your lead story here.

76-Dawg

April 3rd, 2010
12:37 pm

After the lack of talent UGA’S quarterback showed in the Oklahoma State game last year I said that if UGA sticks with Cox they will lose 5 or 6 games. That was not a very hard call. I would have taken the red shirt off both Mettenberger and Murray and played Cox the most but given enough playing time to the other two that you would have two sophomores ready to play for 2010 in front of 100,000 fans. I think UGA will do just fine in 2010 but what you worry about is a less talented team like South Carolina or Arkansas slipping up and winning because Mettenberger or Murray wasn’t quite ready to be starting quarterback. It was very obvious that 2009 season should have been sacrificed for 2010. Martinez was still coach, UGA didn’t have a running back and Sturdivant got hurt. A lot of really good coaches at some great schools played Freshman quarterbacks in 2009 because of that very reason.Sometimes you have to sacrifice now for a better outcome later.

Omar, the Taxi Driver

April 3rd, 2010
12:41 pm

Please leave me alone! I run my motel, my wife runs our Dairy Queen, and I drive a taxi at night. We come to this country to experience the American Dream, not get caught up in who slap who. There was no dawg in my taxi, only people. I tried to let people with pets ride in my taxi, but pets poo poo on floor, so I no let dawgs ride anymore! Now, I must go wash stained sheets for room #14.

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
12:42 pm

Ron, you’re like a mythical creature…only true!

When I grow up I want to be an amazing anchorman who can bag ladies as fine as the radiant Ms. Corningstone, then sit back and relish the moment with an equally fine single malt and a wheel of cheese.

Is it true GT is changing their mascot to the Sex Panthers due to overcompensation?

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
12:45 pm

That is so true, Omar.

poopdawg

April 3rd, 2010
12:53 pm

I think come fall you have to stop spliting snaps equally between the 3, there has to only be 2. We always need 2 QB ready to go . Some tough decisions will have to be made, maybe the spring game will provide a clearer picture.

PowerDawg

April 3rd, 2010
12:59 pm

Today’s scrimmage should go a long way towards deciding the issue.

Mettenberger, his 70% completion rate notwithstanding, is just not very mobile. If Murray has another day of 60-65% completion working with both the 1’s and the 2’s and Gray struggles like he did last week, I think you have to say Aaron is the guy and Logan needs to jog over to the receiver group and start learning routes.

Mettenberger may prove to be a solid change off the bench, and that’s good.

77DAWG

April 3rd, 2010
1:02 pm

Murray 90% LMU and SoCal, Mat & May 50/50 for Arky. Then see who progess the most then, let the best take 90% of the snaps for the rest of the year year. Its just me IMO.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
1:03 pm

76-Dawg

I do remember your comment as I agreed with you back then.

Maybe Richt learned his lesson late last year when fans and some booster’s with pull let him know that this loyalty crap with Martinez and players that can’t play stops or you can join the millions in the unemployment line.

I had know problem with showing loyalty with Cox but the season was over after the OSU game so a good CEO/Coach should have said lets prepare for next season since we will be short experience wise at QB again.

Thats the difference in a coach like Sabano and EL Meyer compared to Richt, and thats why I don’t feel we will win the games we need to win like FL with Richt, though I like him personally.

But again hopefully the boosters pressured EVANS enough to let him know cut the crap or your pink slip awaits. Maybe now things will turn around but we’ll see

Sanford Stadium

April 3rd, 2010
1:05 pm

Speaking of truth, us it true that Dr. Michael Adams wants to turn me into a giant chess board for his personal human chess matches. I need to know.

I also miss the train tracks.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
1:05 pm

the 2 know’s should be no

Im still dazed from being slapped around in the cab last night

sorry

Bubba

April 3rd, 2010
1:06 pm

Bill – Please stop blogging. You’re embarrassing yourself, the ajc and the bulldog nation. Just put up a link up to Hale’s blog.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
1:16 pm

Is anyone up for a cab ride tonight?

Bill how about you, we can take the tour of the city.

Omar when you finish cleaning room #14, Bill and I would like to experience what an Athens cab ride is all about.

cantondawg

April 3rd, 2010
1:18 pm

Small Johnson,

I hope you’re not a UGA fan because you’re an embarassment. At times, JC looked really good (SC and Ark) and at times he looked really bad. I think this had more to do with our lack of running game at the time and he was trying to do too much. AM had an injury at the beginning of the season and LG showed no signs of being better that JC. Yes, CMR probrably stayed with CWM for one year too many but i don’t hold that against him because i think he knew we would suffer in recruiting and he held out hope the CWM and the defense would rebound.

I feel that it’s my obligation to point out to stupid people like you ther errors of your thinking so quit bashing CMR (who happens to be the best coach UGA ever had). It’s also obvious that you must be a young punk by the comments that you make about the FL game. Yes, Dooley did dominate Fl but i can tell you that it’s a completely different program now that it was back then. Fl had alot of talent back then but no confidence or swagger that it could wind anything. After Spurrier took over, the program became one of the tops in the country but it was nowhere near that before.

Bremen Dawg

April 3rd, 2010
1:23 pm

Richt and Bobo has bought into the no QB left behind act.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
1:25 pm

Bremen Dawg

Thats one of funniest posts Ive herd

Good one but I think there is a lot of truth to that statement

Meta Dawgster

April 3rd, 2010
1:31 pm

Bobo’s an offensive genius. Maybe he can script a game plan involving all 3 QBs!!! Rotate the QBs by quarter, series or even each play, to take advantage of their unique skills!

SSIgator

April 3rd, 2010
1:34 pm

Bill King -

You had it right in your third paragraph. However, it should read that all three are equally bad. Going to be a long season. Book early for Shreveport.

DawgByte

April 3rd, 2010
1:39 pm

Murray threw for 159 yards 1 TD and 1 Int. in today’s scrimage. His completion percentage was a three QB high of 68%. Murray is struggling with picks, but seems to be leading this close race. Mett certainly isn’t conceding this race and neither is Gray, which is good for all QB’s.

Dawg fans have to learn patience. We will have a starting QB identified within 2 weeks of the regular season and that’s all we can expect given that no clear cut leader has emerged.

BTW – (((30-24)))… still feels good!

Omar Q. Chubbaleen

April 3rd, 2010
1:41 pm

Here are statistics from today’s Georgia football scrimmage:

Passing
Aaron Murray 13-19 159 yards, 1TD, 1 INT
Logan Gray 7-11 111 yards, 1TD, O INT
Zach Mettenberger 10-16 126 yards, 2TD, 1 INT

Rushing
Carlton Thomas 16 carries-93 yards
Kevin Lanier 12-45
Washaun Ealey—5-6 (He said he has a minor knee injury)
Aaron Murray 3-37
Note: Caleb King did not go because of sore knee. Thomas broke a 40 yard run during short yardage work.

Receiving
A.J. Green 6-80
Kris Durham 4-74, 3TDs
Israel Troupe 4-45, 1TD
Note: Arthur Lynch made “a great snag” on a third-and-short, Richt said.

Defense:
Demarcus Dobbs 6 tackles, 1 sack
Christian Robinson 6 tackles, 1 sack
Derrick Lott 5 tackles
Akeem Dent 5 tackles
Darryl Gamble 5 tackles
Brandon Boykin 5 tackles, INT
Vance Cuff, 1 INT
Reuben Faloughi 3 sacks
Note: Cuff’s interception came on a fade in the end zone to Green after a long drive by offense.

Small Johnson

April 3rd, 2010
1:42 pm

canton dawg

You must be the young punk

I was there in 1985 when FL was ranked #1 and was picked to beat the hell out of UGA
What was the result we won 24-3
How about when Spurrier won the heisman, FL again was ranked in the top 5 but lost to us
Of course there are many other instances like that.

Fl has gotten over the hump but they have been in the top 10 several times since the 60’s so whats your point, oh now we can’t win

Yes FL is talented but as talented as UGA, I don’t think so just look at the number of players playing in the NFL you’ll find more from UGA

No its fans like you who have the mentality just like our players and coaches do, who do not take this game seriously and have the mindset of oh oh its FL we might as well let them win.

If Fl was so talented why have we beaten the teams who have beaten them over the years

It comes down to coaching, to lose as bad as we did with two number 1 draft picks and two top recievers two years ago on offense and could hardly score is crap

As for Murry being hurt he wasn’t hurt during the first second or third game, put Met in then, or gray in

And coach Willie one year two many the writing was on the wall when we lost to West Va in the Sugar Bowl in 05, it was definetly on the wall when we lost to a crappy Tenn team 55-31 in 06

You need to take your punk self and go pull for Vanderbilt I think they have plenty of fair weather fans like you and could use some more

SOUTHGADAWG88

April 3rd, 2010
1:43 pm

This loyalty stuff is getting way too much traction.The best QB will play.. it may not end up being the guy some people would like… so they will complain about it anyway.All I know is there is no way to really know what we have at QB until they get hit in the mouth in a REAL game.Gray looked great in the spring game last year…so did C.Thomas and N.Washington at LB.None of the 3 made much impact on the field when the bullets were “live”.I just hope everybody gets out of spring healthy.I wouldn’t put much stock in “ANY” stats that come out of spring practice.. besides the general progress of implementing the new schemes and the list of injuries or lack thereof.

Florida Dawg

April 3rd, 2010
1:47 pm

Hey Bill…why would the AJC accept a column written by Neal Bortz?? Bortz DOES NOT like the AJC….he bad mouths your paper daily? What’s up with that?
I just noticed his article….glad he is not in sports.

Chazz Reinhold

April 3rd, 2010
1:52 pm

MOM!!!!! MEATLOAF!!!!! We want it now!!!!

Bigboy

April 3rd, 2010
2:00 pm

Aww SOUTGADAWG88…You are taking some of the fun out of spring man!The fans are hungry for football!Lighten up dude!lol