What to make of the Logan Gray situation?
If it were simply a case of the apparent loser in the battle for the starting quarterback job threatening to go elsewhere to play, you’d have to conclude he wasn’t thinking too clearly.
First of all, Mark Richt isn’t likely to change his mind about who his starter is just because of the threat that the backup might go elsewhere. That didn’t even work for D.J. Shockley’s dad, and D.J. was a helluva lot more talented QB than Gray is.
Secondly, even if you view it from the perspective of what’s best for Gray, rather than the program, it doesn’t make sense. Gray is one injury away from starting for an SEC team. If he leaves, he can either drop down to a lower level for two years of potential playing time or give up a year of eligibility if he goes to another Football Bowl Subdivision team. And what are the odds he’ll waltz in as a one-year QB and start at such a school?
Gray’s high school coach, A.J. Ofodile of Rock Bridge High in Columbia, Mo., who was in contact with the player on Monday about all this, put it pretty well in the Athens Banner-Herald: “I think it would be a very hard decision for him to [transfer] based on the situation. He’s at the school that he wants to be at. Even in this situation, which is probably a worst case scenario, he’s probably an ankle injury away from being the starting quarterback at the school he wants to be at. It’s not like he could transfer to another comparable school without losing a year and most people don’t want a one-year quarterback.” (I added the italics for emphasis.)
However, it’s not clear that this is really about Gray chafing at being the backup QB. Gray talked to the coaching staff after last season about switching positions, probably to receiver. While the decision was left in his hands, he apparently was encouraged to stick with the QB competition at least through spring practice. Had Zach Mettenberger not been kicked off the team, Gray most likely would have gotten his wish come August.
But Macon/Columbus beat writer David Hale says that he understands the problem is that while Gray “truly wants to play receiver now,” that’s “not much of an option at UGA apparently.”
Which is kind of puzzling. Why would that not be an option at UGA? Richt himself said just last week that Gray still might play somewhere other than quarterback: “As far as another position goes, the bottom line for Logan is I want him to be in the best position to help Georgia win, and whether that’s No. 2 quarterback or getting some reps at receiver or something, that remains to be seen. But we just want to get him in the best position to help Georgia.”
While that made it pretty clear Aaron Murray is his QB of choice, it also indicates a willingness on Richt’s part to let his backup QB get playing time at another position. And it’s not like it’s a practice that’s unheard of. Texas A&M’s backup quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, is also his team’s leading receiver.
So if that’s the rub, if Gray really wants to be playing receiver, why not let him? Sure, it’s not an ideal scenario: If Gray gets hurt playing receiver and then Murray gets hurt, the Dogs would face playing a completely inexperienced true freshman at quarterback.
But if Gray transfers elsewhere, that’s still the situation. And the Dogs could use a little more depth at receiver.
So why not roll with it, let Gray follow the Tannehill model and keep him happy while still having an experienced backup?