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.