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

DC

April 4th, 2010
7:45 pm

Everyone is coming down on Montez, but how do we know the whole story here. How do we know that the other party didnt provoke this action? I’m just sayin……

DC

April 4th, 2010
7:49 pm

How do we know that he wasn’t being attacked????

Shame

April 4th, 2010
7:53 pm

Beacuse DC, the charges include domestic violence. That usually involves a significant other meaning a female most likely.

tdog

April 4th, 2010
8:10 pm

I think CMR will have to rotate the quartebacks. None has experience, all have a learning curve. If CMR can stay away from his gimmicks, we might eek out six wins. Lets not get ahead of ourselves this year. It will be a tough campaign, hopefully with benefits to come in the future.

oledawg

April 4th, 2010
8:21 pm

If this happened with the taxi, no matter what version(there are two), could we be talking about VISITORS? Just another direction of thought that I haven’t seen in print anywhere.

chazzo

April 4th, 2010
10:39 pm

pot calling kettle,

You got it brother. Back in my college days in athens, we white guys got drunk and scuffled and chased girls. Stupid things happened. There were arrests and student councils and probations. I am glad that my embarrassing indiscretions didn’t make national news. Spring in Athens was so crazy. Funny how when its black guys, visions of “gang violence” dance in our heads. I remember rumors that ol’ Knox Culpepper put a guy in the hospital at an SAE party.

Of course, none of this makes any of it right. Young men full of testosterone and experiencing a great deal of pressure are going to blow. But, if a guy can’t control it and care enough about the team to maintain, that guy needs to go.

Take a situation like Montez Robinson’s. Obviously the guy has problems, and hopefully he will get some help. But, after a third strike, you just can’t keep the guy around without compromising your team and authority. I am still willing to bet, even in his case, that there is another side to the story.

Stinger

April 4th, 2010
10:58 pm

Why don’t you print my comments you idiot?

Stinger

April 4th, 2010
10:59 pm

How many football players does it take to attach and man and his wife? The answer is 4. Two to hold the woman while 2 beat the man and 2 to hold the man while 2 beat the woman.

HanDAWG

April 4th, 2010
11:06 pm

http://www.bighairyblawg.com owns the copyright on the word “BLAWG”

HanDAWG

April 4th, 2010
11:17 pm

RED DOG 77

April 5th, 2010
1:17 am

I feel bad for Montez Robinson, and hope the young man can somehow find some help, straighten his life out, and continue his education. It is a tragic situation, and my prayers are for him and whomever he may have harmed…………………Yes, life is tough, but when cold remarks are made on a blog like this, it makes me sad that some just don’t have a clue as to how hard life must be for some of these kids who excell on the football field, yet have had very little guidance in their lives on how to live and conduct themselves. Many come from broken homes with no father figure, or drugs and alchohol around them have greatly impacted their view of what is right and wrong………………Remember, these are kids we are talking about, not NFL players…………..And then some have the nerve to inject race into the picture, that is pathetic !……….I just wonder, when was the last time some of you who would judge, gave a good damn, and did something positive for youth at risk……….regardless of race……….think about it, that’s life…………football is just a game.

RED DOG 77

April 5th, 2010
1:23 am

Oh, and by the way, Stinger……….You, are a very sick man.

Jen

April 5th, 2010
4:06 am

Ummmmmm, maybe the coaches don’t want the competition to know who are starting qb will be………… the longer it is a secret, the less time the opposition has to prepare for “our starter”.

SURPRISE!!!!!!!!

I'm impressed...

April 5th, 2010
6:44 am

Stinger, I’m impressed…you spelled idiot correctly! Good job!!

Joe

April 5th, 2010
7:23 am

All I know is we are in the same boat we have been in the past. No proven QB. I am sick and tired about all the feel good talk. This team and staff are on the cusp now and have no choice but to do better. I have a strange feeling it will be the same old Georgia next year on offense. Stupid calls, inconsistent play by the QBs because we cant figure out who is really the starter and the O line under acheiving as usual. Wha-la….maybe 9-3

Montrell L

April 5th, 2010
10:40 am

This player got railroaded by the system–if he had been white, it would have been a 1 game suspension, max. The rules are different in Athens for the African-American players. The NAACP needs to get these players to boycott to send a message to the university!

chazzo

April 5th, 2010
12:08 pm

Montrell,

Come on, man. I hear what you are saying. But, this is three arrests. Granted Johnny Law may look at a black man differently, but if the black man is doing something, the black man is doing something. If he’s drunk and underage… if he’s smahing tail lights… if he is fighting (provoked or not)… The police just didn’t drag him away from PBS documentary and throw him in jail.

I feel for the guy and wish him well. But, you just can’t keep someone that volatile on the team without it corroding morale and authority. Who knows? Maybe the guy could sit out a year get some canceling and appeal for a readmission. Maybe it’s division II time. Either way I hope he gets it straightened out, but I don’t think you can blame the system for all of it. We all have to take responsibility for our lives and communities. The harder life is, the more responsibility we take.

chazzo

April 5th, 2010
12:08 pm

chazzo

April 5th, 2010
12:51 pm

Montrell,

Case in point. Mettenberger got same or similar first strike punishment for Montez’s similar offense. (Also, the 1 game suspension is not set in stone at this point).

Comedy Lover

April 5th, 2010
1:31 pm

Montrell you are a racist apologist for thugs.

chazzo

April 5th, 2010
2:10 pm

All Montez stuff and taxi allegations aside, I think this is going to be a BIG year for the Dawgs. Naysayers beware, and don’t get all happy like you were always on richt’s side either.

Dawg Denver

April 5th, 2010
7:38 pm

The AJC is always making up stuff to trash UGA—their writers are basically homers for Ga Tech and are always snooping around for anti-uga stuff. This is getting old. They need to start investigating all the stuff going on at tech.

RED DOG 77

April 6th, 2010
1:19 am

Dawg Denver………Yup, yer right on……….but don’t count on the AJC to do any investigating of GT…………We BULLDOGS gotta get it done on the football field, only way to shut-em-up……………But wait, we have beaten GT 8 out of the last 9 games haven’t we ?………Well mabe if we win the SEC east, go to the championship game, mabe win it, mabe just go to a sweet BCS bowl……that’ll do it………..NAAAAAA………..The AJC will never give our beloved BULLDOGS a break………….But thats ok………..They are our GEEEEOOOOORRRRRRGIA BULLDOGS !!! GO DOGS !! WOOF…..WOOOF….WOOOF..WOOOF

Tom

April 8th, 2010
9:02 am

Logan Gray sucks.