David Greene on Aaron Murray: ‘The kid wants to be great’

David Greene remembers what it was like to be a redshirt-freshman starter at quarterback. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

David Greene remembers what it was like to be a redshirt-freshman starter at quarterback. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

When Georgia fans outline the best-case scenario for how quarterback Aaron Murray will turn out, they naturally look back at the last time we had a redshirt freshman take over as signal caller.

After all, David Greene went on to become the winningest quarterback in NCAA history until supplanted in that spot last year by Colt McCoy.

So when I had the chance to chat with Greene this morning, we talked about what Murray is going through and what he needs to do to put himself and the Dogs in the best position to win games.

This summer, Greene said, the two most important things Murray can do is work in the weight room to get stronger “so you can take those hits,” and “more than anything, work on building a good rapport with his teammates.” Summer passing workouts “don’t completely simulate what it’s going to be like, but it allows you to work on your timing and get to know your receivers and how they run the routes. Everyone runs them a little differently.”

Organizing the summer sessions, which is up to the quarterback, is also “a great way to start his leadership role,” Greene said. “I loved it. It was really competitive, and there were no coaches on the field. So you could get a lot of work done.”

The biggest thing an inexperienced quarterback like Murray has to overcome, Greene said, is that “you really don’t see the field that well when you first get out there. You’ve got so much going through your mind that it’s hard to see everything you’re looking at. You might see the linebacker and not see the cornerback. You might think you’ve got a man open and then the cornerback comes over and makes a pick. Eventually, I could see everybody on the field. A lot of it is just getting confidence in what you’re doing, but you’ve got to go through it.”

With that in mind, Greene said, Mark Richt likes to ease his quarterbacks in to the offense. “Coach Richt said it’s like Football 101 when you start out. And then as I got more involved and understood the offense better, he gave me more to do. By the time I was a senior, I’d come up to the line with three or four plays and I’d pick the best one.”

We talked a bit about what it’s like to start your first real game, and Greene said it helped that he didn’t fully realize all that he didn’t know as a redshirt freshman “or I would have been a lot more nervous.” I asked if he remembered his first interception, and he laughed and said he didn’t. That’s the sort of thing you just shake off. “When you’re confident in your abilities, you just chalk that up to them getting lucky. You say to yourself, I just gave them that one. I’ve got to make sure I don’t do that again.”

Echoing what Richt has said, Greene said the key for Murray is “not to try to go out there and be the hero. Just run the team. Run the offense. And just be steady. Take what they give you. Playing quarterback is like a chess match. It’s about executing. Recognizing when you have the advantage and then exploiting it.”

How important is it that Murray will be surrounded by 10 returning starters? “That’s huge,” Greene said. “I’d much rather be in a situation where you have an experienced offensive line and an inexperienced quarterback than have an inexperienced line in front of an experienced quarterback. Georgia’s offensive line should be really good this year. If you can’t run the ball and all you can do is pass, it’s a nightmare. But if you can run the ball, it’s a whole other game.”

Matt Stinchcomb (left) and David Greene are now in the insurance business together. (Terry College of Business)

Matt Stinchcomb (left) and David Greene are now in the insurance business together. (Terry College of Business)

Greene already has talked with Murray by phone and plans on heading over to Athens in the next couple of weeks to work him. “I’ve been impressed that he has reached out to me and said, ‘I want to pick your brain.’ The kid wants to be great, and you’ve got to commend him for that. He’s fired up. He loves the game and eats and sleeps Georgia football. He wants Georgia to be great. I think we’ve got the right guy back there when it comes to having a lot of heart.”

Greene’s appraisal of Murray’s skills as a quarterback? “He can throw it. I’m not really worried about that. The key for a freshman is just making good decisions. Coach Richt has a saying, ‘Don’t turn a bad play into a catastrophe.’ Sometimes as a freshman you want to make it happen on every play. And sometimes it’s just not gonna happen and you have to accept that. It’s tough.”

Spending time in the film room also will pay off, Greene said. “I think it’s so important for him to be able to recognize coverages early on.”

Defenses will, of course, know that Georgia has an inexperienced QB. “I expect him to get blitzed a lot,” Greene said. “But one thing about blitzing is that if you pick it up, you can burn ‘em. He’s got an advantage in that he’s got No. 8 running down the sideline, so he can really make ‘em pay.”

Greene said he and Murray have “very different styles” as a quarterback. “He’s a lot more agile and can get out of the pocket and make some plays. I threw a lot more balls to my Dad in the stands. He also has a stronger arm than I did. I was more of a pocket passer, a touch passer.”

Last season, Greene, who now works in the insurance business in Atlanta with Matt Stinchcomb, alternated with Kevin Butler as part of the post-game call-in show on the UGA radio network, but he said he hasn’t heard anything about continuing that role this year. “It was fun,” he said, but it was also a challenge because after a bad game callers would “want me to throw a coach or a player under the bus, and I’m just not going to do that. I remember what it was like as a player. I might be a frustrated as everyone else, but I’m not going to bash players or coaches.”

Green said he goes to most, though not all, home games. Unlike some former players, he tends to stay in the stands rather than go down on the sideline “because I go to games with my wife and my 2 1/2-year-old son.”

Some fans might think his son is too young for the games, he said, but “that’s the only time he’ll sit still, is to watch the Dogs.” So might he be raising a future Dog? “Yeah,” Greene said with a laugh, “and he’s left-handed, too!”

COUNTDOWN TO KICKOFF

Greene, along with Matt and Jon Stinchcomb, will play host at the annual Countdown to Kickoff Fan Day from 3 to 6 p.m. July 17 at the UGA practice fields, where you can meet Bulldogs players past and present and get autographs. There’ll also be lots of activities for the kids and the Redcoat Band and cheerleaders will be on hand. Tickets are $25 and benefit to the Georgia Transplant Foundation, Children’s Tumor Foundation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and UGA’s Pediatric Exercise and Motor Development Clinic. Go here for more information or to buy tickets.

119 comments Add your comment

OK Dawg

June 22nd, 2010
11:05 am

first…that’s so damn lame.

Dawg House

June 22nd, 2010
11:07 am

HATE ON HATERS!!!! We will be busy loving and supporting our team, and getting excited about the upcoming season!!!

GO DAWGS!!!! 74 days til we tee it up between the hedges!!!

Barnacle Bill Bavasi

June 22nd, 2010
11:18 am

UGA over UF in Jacksonville this year, and probably the three after that, too.

Hire Russ!!!!!

June 22nd, 2010
11:20 am

In case we forget…. EVERY college quarterback began their careers as a FRESHMAN. Red shirt or not, starter or not, they gave all been there.

This season will def be a trying year for our boy Murray. But as mentioned, he has that big nasty o-line and a pair of damn good dawgs at tailback to play HUGE supporting roles.

2010 will be better than 2009, but the year I think we are all patiently waiting for 2011.

Fall cannot cone fast enough!!

FromtheBARstool

June 22nd, 2010
11:21 am

Greene how is that college record working for you in the NFL? Wait! Like most UGA QB’s you never played in the NFL. You picked up a check for a week or 2 then what? Selling Insurance? HAHAHAH. What was you UGA Degree in? PE, English Lit, Sociology, or Housing? I bet you make good money selling Insurance to Dawg fans trying to get flood insurance for their trailers. Mason better play in the La-Laf game. Murry will not last the season.

droopydawg

June 22nd, 2010
11:22 am

As long as Murray can just protect the ball and CMR and Bobo get back to using the run to set up the play action ala the Greene years, our running game should be able to carry us to a 10 win season.

droopydawg

June 22nd, 2010
11:23 am

FromtheBARstool: what is your degree in and how successful were you in college football or the NFL?

SSIgator

June 22nd, 2010
11:23 am

“Defenses will, of course, know that Georgia has an inexperienced QB.”

Didn’t they have one of those last year and everyone said the same thing – He will be ok, don’t have to win the game by yourself, etc. Looks like history is about to repeat itself.

FromtheBARstool

June 22nd, 2010
11:25 am

A great O-line and a week schedule is in the Dawgs favor, but not having a QB with any ANY Game experience will make this year a let down. Next year you will have a tested QB but and younger O-Line and a harder schedule. Keep thinking the DREAM TEAM will make it to NEVER NEVER LAND aka the Ga. Dome.

FromtheBARstool

June 22nd, 2010
11:28 am

droopy: Marketing and International sales. Signed a minor league baseball contract. Never got out of the double A Arizona leagues. Good money if you can get it.

CrackDaddy

June 22nd, 2010
11:29 am

Flying under the radar? Everett Golson, rising senior at Myrtle Beach High School, recently named MVP at Alabama camp, then more recently, led his 7-on-7 team to victory over entries from the Carolina’s. He will now lead him team in the national competion. Is UGa or Tech recruiting him?

Chris

June 22nd, 2010
11:32 am

Good article Bill,
The kid was the MVP of the Super 11 camp and I believe FL and Bama wanted him pretty bad. He has skills but there’s just no substitution for facing live bullets. Like Greene said here ‘by the time I was a senior, I could see the whole field, have three or four plays in my head and just pick the best one’. We had high hopes Greene’s senior year as I remember? Weren’t we ranked third in the country going into the UT game at home and lost that year?

I for one have very high hopes this year with the easier schedule, the offensive line, Grantham, no more directional kicking, Greene but I can’t think of any freshman quarterback ever that’s won a championship, conference or otherwise. I’d like to think we can get to the SEC title game and that would be huge but Florida still looks awful good even with all they lost.

dan

June 22nd, 2010
11:34 am

Good article,

What Greene says is right. There is no way to bypass the learning curb. So in the meantime, control what you can, which is your work ethic and learning the system. Greene and Stafford both lost 4 games their first year, some of it was their fault, some of it not. DJ Shockley was able to learn in a back up capacity, so by the time he was able to start, he understood the offense because he was able to get the repetition. But by year 2 and 3 all of these guys were audibiling at the line. I really think the lack of game time repetition hurt Joe Cox. It just felt like he was trying to prove too much and forcing things, which lead to many bad decisions. Murray should learn from all of these guys, from their victories and more importantly their struggles. It’s how one handles adversity is what defines you.

KimZ'sPackage

June 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

Bill I loved you Dad’s day blog. Great stories to remind us why we love college sports and time with our dads.

Hey FromtheBARstool

June 22nd, 2010
11:35 am

Hey FromtheBARstool did you forget to take your meeds this morning?

Remember if you don’t get help at Charter please get help somewhere else.

(((30-24))) Still hurts?
9 out of 10 Still hurts?
BCS Bowl smack down. Still hurts?

Tick Tick Tick. Please take your meds!

KimZ'sPackage

June 22nd, 2010
11:37 am

what meds do I need? Please UGA doc. prescribe me something to help. Wait you couldn’t get in VET school muchless Emory or GMC.

Dostoyevskiy

June 22nd, 2010
11:37 am

Everett Golson was offered by UGa, Fl, Tenn, Clemson, Michigan, Ohio State, SCar, and UNC. He must be pretty good.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

Coachdawg 2000

June 22nd, 2010
12:27 pm

I just hope AM is almost as good as DG from the neck up. If he has even some of the poise the Greene had we may be in good shape. Lou Holtz said after the 2003 Chicken-Kickin (31-15)that Greene picked up a blitz that they had never shown before. Aaron Murray seems to have a lot of physical tools and the only hope is that he can keep his “head right” and not kill us. We haven’t had a super cool customer like Greene since ‘04. DJ was awesome dawg and led us to ‘05 SECC but he also made some bone-head plays because of his inability to eat the ball on bad plays. And don’t get me started on Stafford (he was closer to Quincy Carter than David Greene!) you know grear play, then inexcusably stupid play.I just hope that AM isn’t in love with his mobility or his athletic ability.

bruce mac

June 22nd, 2010
12:34 pm

Oh how I wish I was a Yech grad and had nothing better to do than post ingnorance on UGA Blogs. Life would be good and I would get to enjoy a win over UGA once every ten years. Morons!!!!

[...] Original post by "colt mccoy" – Bing News [...]

Attila the Hun

June 22nd, 2010
12:55 pm

Chris,

I don’t believe alabama or florida recruited aaron murray. Both signed 6′4 prototype qbs Bama with AJ McCarron and Florida also signed a big qb. I just can’t see murray making it. He’s kind of a midget at 6 foot and watching the G-day game he was very shaky. This was a kid that simply was not comfortable.

Everyone keeps talking about the running game will keep defenses honest while Murray grows into the position but I just don’t see it. Opposing defenses will simply put an extra man in the box to shut down the run and dare murray to throw it.

And if he performs anything like he did in g-day we’re looking at 7-5. We all know how shaky he looks but nobody wants to man up and admit it. This kis is not Stafford the future NFL #1 draft pick and if we went 8-4 with Stafford in his first season then we’ll probably go 7-5 with Murray in his 1st season.

Roy D. Mercer

June 22nd, 2010
12:57 pm

I just don’t think that Joe Cox had the arm strength. If our running attack had of been effective early in the year it would have been different for him. Ealey really came on. I think that is the key this year. We have got to run the football and coaches have got to believe in it and not throw the fade route from the 4 yard line. That will help Murray as much as anything.

dawgfan

June 22nd, 2010
1:04 pm

David Greene: 4-0 vs. the nerdherd.

OWNED.

Roy D. Mercer

June 22nd, 2010
1:17 pm

Heck who hasn’t owned Tech other than Jim Donnan.

DawginLex

June 22nd, 2010
1:22 pm

Murray’s final 2 schools were UF and UGA. He was recruited very heavily by Meyer and is actually very well suited for the spread option due to his mobility. Maybe better suited than Brantley long term.

DDPO

June 22nd, 2010
1:44 pm

And Urban owns CMR…

Did anyone expect David to say that maybe Murray will not be a good quarterback? Good grief. I’m convinced that everytime a fan yells the phrase “In The Hole” at a golf tournament that it has to orginate from a UGA fan.

UGA, preseason National Champs for 30 straight years…

RxDawg

June 22nd, 2010
1:44 pm

This is a fantastic post Bill. Very informative and really cool to her David’s perspective on it.

eddie

June 22nd, 2010
1:58 pm

You Murray-haters will eat your words. The kid can play; reminds me of Drew Brees making time with his feet and throwing very accurately.

CHDawg

June 22nd, 2010
2:11 pm

Don’t you just love the gracious, articulate, class acts that comment here on these columns? A great QB, now in an honorable business, willing to spend time with the young men who are trying to succeed him in the record books at UGA, avoids the limelight to spend time with his family–we could use a lot more citizens like David Mr. Barstool! And just for the record, I think Murray is going to be a great QB, not just a good one! It wouldn’t surprise me if he is our next Heisman winner. I think he starts strong in ‘10 and continues to improve throughout the year on a steep curve. Obviously, he needs to stay healthy.

DAWG 1

June 22nd, 2010
2:16 pm

Kim Z’s Package -

Here’s how smart you are – It is a FACT that it is harder to get into Veterinary Medicine school than it is to get into Medical school. Now you are smarter, if of course you paid attention.

Good article, Bill. David makes a lot of sense of the situation. In the insurance business, he will be very successful. It is one of those “industries” that will allow him to make substantial six figures consistently.

adam

June 22nd, 2010
2:17 pm

atilla the idiot you do know murray was the No.1 Qb in the nation before he broke his ankle his senior season and still came back and won there state championship…oh and since you don’t know what your talking about murray choose uga over fl. on espn you can still google the video…Keep your mouth shut if you have no idea of what your talking about.

Scott W.

June 22nd, 2010
2:21 pm

If you ignore the trolls they’ll go away.

Coachdawg 2000

June 22nd, 2010
2:37 pm

I just hope Aaron murray is humble enough to stay within the system (how many times at G-Day did he chuck it deep instead of throwing underneath and allowing our athletes to go make somebody miss) and not try to throw for 800 yards per game and rush for 2000. Sometimes you just have to take a sack of throw it away and punt. DG was a master at managing the game and not trying to do too much.

Scott W.

June 22nd, 2010
2:42 pm

Murray was behind Mett in the depth chart and his performance on the field at G-day was a result of such. Hopefully knowing that he is the starter will temper his game plan.

Coachdawg 2000

June 22nd, 2010
2:42 pm

I’m not trying to a be negative Ned but I will drink the kool aid this time (last year I bought into the Joe Cox is a great leader propaganda from last summer).

Coachdawg 2000

June 22nd, 2010
2:43 pm

That should have said I will NOT drink the Aaron Murray Kool Aid!

OEJ

June 22nd, 2010
2:52 pm

Coachdawg 2000..I never bought into Joe Cox, i respected that he was a 5th year senior, and stayed around, but that’s it. People saying that Murray is not good, we can look at the G-day game, but that was a scrimmage and one bad day. I guess when coach Richt said that no matter what happened with Mettenberger, Murray was still the best QB. How about waiting until an actual GAME to start criticizing. Why are people so impatient, besides if he listens to Coach Richt and doesn’t try and do too much he should be fine.

destin dawg

June 22nd, 2010
3:09 pm

Murray can think… scramble, roll out and pass, etc.. we”ll run the ball 1st !!! Big TE’s to go along with AJ… He’ll be fine.. Hutson Mason will hit the ground running and will be ready if needed by midseason… big DDDEEE wil step up under new coaches !!!!

Coachdawg 2000

June 22nd, 2010
3:28 pm

OEJ-
I’m not trying to criticize Aaron Murray. I’m saying I DON’T KNOW YET WHAT HE WILL BE THIS YEAR. I think game 2 in Columbia,SC will tell us alot about what we have. 2006 Stafford showed what he would be forever (a guy who loved his arm strength and never developed the ability to beat anybody with his brain)We won that game in spite of dismal 3 pick performance. I know that G-Day is just one day but I also know that if someone comes up small in front of 30,000 friendly fans what are they going to do in front of 70,000+ hostile fans? I am an alum as well as life-long fan but I am nervous about our QB!

jack bull

June 22nd, 2010
3:34 pm

still think he’s too short,,,nothing worse than seeing balls batted down at the line, that’s so aggrevating..maybe he’ll prove me wrong..

gdawginkalamazoo

June 22nd, 2010
3:34 pm

Good to hear from Greene’s take on Murray. Murray only needs to manage the games not be a hero. SInce we found our running game at the end of last season maybe Bobo and Richt and figure out a good game plan to go with it. Good for Greene helping out the kid too. I wonder if Stinchcomb works the front office blocking all the customers trying to get at Greene. “Pancake those phone calls John I’m going to lunch.”

How many starts and how much game time did McElroy have for Bama before last year? He obviously did a fantastic job managing the games. Any Bama fans got the 411 on McElroy’s game time prior to last year?

OEJ

June 22nd, 2010
3:38 pm

coachdawg2000- If you think about it, is Gray really better than Murray, I dont think so. Mason is still learning the offense and wont be ready.. Murray is all we got for the moment. Ill be realistic and say im nervous too, but there is nothing as fans that we can do, but hope that everything works itself out. Im just ready for the season to start. I like Murray alot and feel he can be good. If thats not the case, then oh well, I just want us to start winning games again, no matter who is at QB, as long as its not Gray(i really dnt see him as a good qb, sorry)

Delusions of granduer

June 22nd, 2010
3:40 pm

“atilla the idiot you do know murray was the No.1 Qb in the nation before he broke his ankle his senior season and still came back and won there state championship…”

Adam,

You fool. Murray was the no. 1 rated qb in the nation before he broke his ankle? Hardy hardy har har. Can you possibly be that dang delusional? The 6 foot midget being the no. 1 qb out of high school? I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would like to sell you.

jasont13

June 22nd, 2010
3:41 pm

FromtheBarstools, Double A is not the Arizone leagues. So from the sounds of it you really have no idea what your talking about. Which organization did you play for? I played in the Phillies organization and have only heard of the Arizona league as rookie ball.

gdawginkalamazoo

June 22nd, 2010
3:43 pm

OEJ, what if we went to Gray and he won all his games? Truth is we don’t know enough about Gray as an option (other than to stick him on the 3 yard line in a blow out at the UF game) or Murray as a starter. Nobody knows. Of course we hope that both could manage the game and maybe even make some plays.

gdawginkalamazoo

June 22nd, 2010
3:45 pm

jasont13, I think he meant the Arizona Tea league. Softball in Doraville.

JB

June 22nd, 2010
3:49 pm

Six Foot Murray………..No problem…..Watch last years super bowl……Bree’s and Murray the same size….Another two who did pretty well at 6 foot in red and black…..Fran Tarkenton and Buck Blue………I ‘m believing in his heart, not his height.

alabamadawg

June 22nd, 2010
3:49 pm

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. David Greene is a class act !! And we were damn lucky to had him play for us !! Thanks David !!

cantondawg

June 22nd, 2010
3:52 pm

i laugh when i see someone say that Murray is too short for quaterback..did any of you bozos watch the Super Bowl. Drew Brees is not 6 feet tall and had a great year