It’s tough finding a consensus lately among Georgia fans on quarterback Aaron Murray.
In his second season behind center for the Dogs, Murray completed 218 of 371 passes for 2,861 yards (a 58.8 percent completion rate) and broke the single-season school record for touchdown throws with 33. He also ran for two scores, giving him the UGA record for single-season touchdown responsibility.
And in the SEC, he ranked second in passing (220.1 yards per game), second in total offense (229.6) and fourth in passing efficiency (146.4).
Stats like that are why Murray made some All-SEC teams and is routinely cited by national sports media as one of the best QBs in the conference. It’s a major reason the Dogs will enter next season highly rated.
But closer to home the excitement over Murray’s passing numbers is tempered by frustration over his penchant this season for devastating turnovers against South Carolina, LSU and, most recently, Michigan State.
Of course, the argument can be made that Murray’s tendency to fumble or throw a pick 6 at the worst possible time might be at least in part attributable to the sketchy protection he was getting from Georgia’s erratic offensive line and, in the last couple of games, the lack of a consistent running attack.
Looking ahead to next season, the OL remains a big question mark amid a rebuilding process, but the arrival of Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley ought to help boost the ground game and loosen up defenses a bit. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has said an improvement in the running game will make Murray a better quarterback, and I think he’s right.
(Of course, it also would help if, in third-down situations, playcaller Bobo didn’t tend to obsess on downfield plays, keeping Murray standing in a crumbling pocket too long.)
On top of having a better rushing attack, if the progress of past Georgia QBs is any indication, Murray’s decision making ought to improve considerably in his third season as well, which should help him get his ball security issues in check. He’s a good on-field leader and showed in the Florida game this year he can make big-time throws in tough situations, especially those two fourth-down touchdowns.
Overall, I believe the national media types are correct in thinking Murray has the makings of a championship quarterback. What do you think?
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg