Does Aaron Murray have the makings of a championship QB?

Can Aaron Murray become an elite quarterback for Georgia? (Associated Press)

Can Aaron Murray become an elite quarterback for Georgia? (Associated Press)

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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610 comments Add your comment

@ CharcoalGrey ...

January 19th, 2012
12:55 pm

concerning Plant…Coach Weiner dummied down the offense and added a running game, so the Ely could grow into the position…Murray came back against Dwyer and couldn’t even move away from the rush…Weiner used the running game to keep Dwyer off balance…Murray’s first pass when he came back was a TD…Weiner should be the OC at UGA…
Murray lit them up his junior year and was doing the same his senior year until he went down…Plant used the passing game to sit up the running game and Murray gained almost 1,000 yards himself his junior year…he never beat Armwood, but then again Armwood only had to prepare to stop Murray, unlike when Ely took over and Weiner added a running game and limited his decision making…Ely did a great job for Plant the whole time that he was there and true, he did win a State Championship, but you fail to mention one Mr. James Wilder a beast of a running back who more than kept the defense honest….
Murray kicked tail going head to head against every top notch QB during two Elite 11 years (one year he was the ball boy, but still took place in the work out’s and finished ahead of most)…he was the first QB invited to the Elite 11, over Barkley, Met, etc…he went head to head against all during the NIKE 7 on 7 and wound up MVP…actually he was MVP at every camp that he attended…I’ve been following this kid since he played ball for the Carrollwood Cardinals in peewee ball and he never berates any of his teammates and those who play with him accept him as a leader…
Murray had a learning curve working under center, like any QB who worked out of the spread, will continue to get better. If the OL gets turned around and the running game gets going, less will be required of Murray and the defense can not just come after him…
BTW, I saw Aaron Rodgers struggle the other day with dropped balls and over throws, so I guess he sucks too…it happens in football
BTW again Philip Ely is an outstanding young man and I wish the best for him, and I hope Met puts everything behind him and has a good year

ATL XMAN

January 19th, 2012
1:00 pm

a big fat YES! dude was only a soph last year. the next 2 years will be even better as he learns more. i have no problem with him as my teams qb for the next 2 years.

Dawg Fud

January 19th, 2012
1:02 pm

Terry

January 19th, 2012
1:09 pm

2 BCS title in 3 years- Roll Tide Roll, New Orleans police are calling on the public to help identify an Alabama fan filmed draping his genitals on the head of a passed-out LSU fan for a vile prank. Looks like y’all have the stupidest fans in the SEC, to go along with your championships.

CharcoalGrey

January 19th, 2012
1:22 pm

Murray is 0-9 against teams tha finished in the top 25.

If it was a big game against a top 25 team, would you start Aaron Murray, or want him as your teammate on the field?

Of course not, you want to win the game, not go with a winless QB.

Dale

January 19th, 2012
1:49 pm

I’m afraid Georgia QBs are lead to believe that simply becoming the starting quarterback at UGA is the accomplishment. Think of some of those things Cox used to say about fans being jealous he’s on the field and they weren’t so he could ignore their criticism. It’s like he was coached “you’re the best, you’re the starting QB, it doesn’t matter how you play or if you win”

Not so fast

January 19th, 2012
1:49 pm

@Terry just the fact he had genitals rules out Bama fans….

Pago Pago Dawg

January 19th, 2012
1:54 pm

So when was UGA’s last bowl win? Man, it seems a looong time ago…..
We should give AM another 2-3 years to win the SEC…

acdunn

January 19th, 2012
2:12 pm

I see 2 things preventing Murray from being a championship QB:
1) Better play from the O line
2) Sharper, more creative play calling
I think he’ll see improved protection from the OL this year because of new recruits. While experience is lacking, talent/size/strength will be much greater. Running game was not good during the last few games of the year, but it was partly because of the deficient OL. Now for the play calls: I don’t see that changing much with Bobo as the coordinator. While he has put together some excellent games, they are too few and sporadic. Against solid competition, he becomes very predictable. Usually, he is just not able to come up with that transcendent, clutch set of calls during the important moments. I think Murray can bring a championship (or two) home, but we need a better offensive coordinator.

He is as good as he is going to get.

January 19th, 2012
2:21 pm

acdunn, you forgot to mention that when he plays against top rate defensive fronts, he is simply TOO SHORT.

Pdawg

January 19th, 2012
2:23 pm

Not as long as Bobo calls plays.

freddy

January 19th, 2012
2:57 pm

i think aron thinks too much when things are not going well. Last year he was raw and unseasoned but he threw the ball better probably because he was going with his instinct. He has watched too much film ,if that is possible, and sometimes too much info can hurt you. I also believe that he will be able to shie more in 2012 with the stronger running attack that is most certainly on the horizon. Just be patient , stop letting these sports writers get you thinking in the wrong direction. Georgia is on the correct path to winning a championship. Just wait and see , i believe that you will be more than happy this time next year after georgia kicks everyone’s ass in the country.Go Dawgs!!!!!!

Alabama Teabagger

January 19th, 2012
4:02 pm

ROLL DAMN TIDE

The Alpha & Omega Dawg

January 19th, 2012
4:11 pm

The problem is not so much on the shoulders of Murray; it is the play calling of Bobo and richt. If I can predict the play before the snap then you know a DC knows as well. Bobo has to be in his own world because he continues to call the same plays when they are not working. I really feel sorry for Carlton thomas having to run up the middle like he is a 225lb tb. He is a guy who is dangerous in the open space. He should be used for screens,slot position,sweeps etc. He was proablely told this when being recurited. I am not a coach like most people who make comments here but you would think CMR and bobo would take notice of whats being said . If the majority of the comments are about the play calling of the OC then everybody can`t be wrong.

Texas Dawg

January 19th, 2012
4:15 pm

TRuth be told Murray has not got it done when it mattered and until he does he will not win the hearts of die hard uga fans like me!………………….but………………I don’t think the offensive game plan the 2nd half of the LSU or Mich ST helped at all…………………when your o line is getting beat….and the defense dials up the pressure…………………………..YOU DON”T PASS DOWN THE FIELD>>>>>>>>no time……short passes…….bubble screens…….screen passes……………it’s like bobo or richt just completely loose the ability to ajust the game plan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

beanster

January 19th, 2012
4:43 pm

What would we do during the offseason if there weren’t jaw dropping, train-wreck stories from our neighbors to the West?

tideroll — ARE YOU BRIAN DOWNING???

http://deadspin.com/5877636/brian-downing-alleged-alabama-teabagger-has-turned-himself-in

That makes two horrifically embarrassing stories for Bama fans in less than a year. Y’all should be so proud.

this dawg want hunt!!

January 19th, 2012
4:53 pm

The guy has had 2 years to prove he was a top Q.B. in the SEC, and he hasn’t ever brought the team back for a victory in the 4th qtr. which is what makes winning Q.B’s. He has on the other hand thrown many INT’s or fumbled the damn ball in the 4th qtr. that cost UGA wins. This guy is nothing more than a Richt and Bobo sweetheart, which doesn’t mean he is the best Q.B. available, it just means that Richt loves him, and no one else will ever have a chance as long as Richt and Murray are at UGA. As sad is it sounds, that is reality at UGA with RIcht and the moron Bobo in control. all of this B.S. and favoritism could have been ended if McGarity with no balls had put his foot down and told the loser Richt to either get rid of Bobo, or both of you are out. But congrats to phony ass McGarity for putting UGA farther behind LSU and Bama with giving Richt and his loverboy Bobo extentions. Bama has more commitments from the state of Ga. than UGA does, that is all that needs to be said about Richt and his high school offensive staff. McGarity sucks, and so will UGA as long as Richt and bobo are on the sidelines. Wait until 2013 when UGA’s defense will be back to the Martinez years, then all UGA fans can applaud Richt and McGarity.

Lobosolo

January 19th, 2012
5:55 pm

You armchair fans are talking about a 20-year-old kid… anyone of you “fans” have your sheet totally together at that age? Any of you experts ever have to perform your job, especially at 20, in front of 90,000 screaming fans? Dawgs fans are so fair-weather and feel so entitled over a stupid game played by young people, like it’s your birthright or something for every team to go undefeated… Did your own young’uns learn how to do EVERYTHING right, from the beginning, when they attended college… For that matter, any of YOU do everything right, all of the time…. What an IDIOT MENTALITY you jock-a-moe’s have…

Lobosolo

January 19th, 2012
5:59 pm

Wow, this dog won’t hunt… what the hay have you ever accomplished on such a big stage? What a home-made a-hole…

BIGBOY

January 19th, 2012
6:06 pm

Bottom line is if UGA had either Bama’s or LSU’s defense we would have went ubdefeated this year.The defense is more to blame for UGA’s record against good teams than his play.Frankly the defense has been the culprit in just about every game we have lost over the last 2 seasons.

Pitbull

January 19th, 2012
6:08 pm

If he would just hold onto the football when the blocking is breaking down or when he gets tackled it would be an improvement.

(I think the other teams know that they can punch it out on him if they get to him so he needs to work on tucking it away and getting down when things go bad)

If he would just throw it away rather than trying to force it in when the coverage is there that would be an improvement too.

Otherwise I think he is a fine QB.

LOLDawg

January 19th, 2012
6:09 pm

Too bad we didn’t get a 20 year old that’s poised like AJ McCarron was. Kid was a sophmore, wow. And we get the kid with the jitters.

Pitbull

January 19th, 2012
6:12 pm

I also think that AM needs to remember that winning the game is only half of the QB’s job.

The other half is not losing it.

Pitbull

January 19th, 2012
6:16 pm

Example: Buck Belue in the 1980-81 Sugar Bowl – he only completed 1 pass the entire game but he had no fumbles and no interceptions – and we beat Notre Dame.

The point being HE MANAGED THE GAME.

Cullowheedawg

January 19th, 2012
6:40 pm

I don’t think that the drop off in the second half is all Murray, Play calling and decisions to try to “run” out the clock when we don’t have a running game is a large part of it. I still think most of this is Richt. In the bowl game, the decision to run 3 straight times and then have to punt was a decision made above Bobo. I guess that won’t change. Cullowheedawg

Carl Whitworth

January 19th, 2012
6:52 pm

I don’t feel Murray is the reason for failure in the 2nd half. The plays just seem to be different as though they change their game plan during half time. Let Murray go out and run the offense with the same plays he usually gets in the first half. For example: The offensive coach seems to get him off course and wants him to be more conservative. Let the man play without the pressure of keeping him off course for a whole game.

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

January 19th, 2012
7:02 pm

Look at the picks he threw vs LSU and MSU and why?

a-pressure from breakdown in the offensive line……..nope
b-receiver didn’t battle for the ball…nope
c-ham sandwich…nope
d-made stupid mistake and threw the ball regardless…..Ding Ding..we have a winner

JAW JAW HOMER'S MOMMA

January 19th, 2012
7:43 pm

SON, BAMA HAS 3 TOP 15 NFL DRAFT PICKS AND 5 OVERALL IN THE TOP 50. THE DWAGS GOT 1. THAT’S WHY THAT INJURED RB WANTS TO WAIT TO GO TO BAMA. WHO CARES ABOUT LIL SHORTY A M QB. HE CAN’T LAST THRU 4 QTS. ARF ARF

Dawg_Mike

January 19th, 2012
7:43 pm

I happened to be in Athens today and stopped at a light near Sanford Stadium. I saw AM crossing the street on his way to a class. We lose sight of the fact he is just a 20 year old kid. Stop criticizing him. He will be fine. he is just a sophomore.

Buzz Dawg

January 19th, 2012
8:22 pm

One thing about Murray that I’ve not seen mentioned. He has a bit of an awkward delivery and his ball has a funny trajectory do it. About 50% of his passes are wobbly, rather than tight spirals, which greatly increases the chances of dropped balls. He’s got some kind of a grip/delivery issue that a good quarterback’s coach should have recognized and corrected long ago. I’m not impressed.

ugab

January 19th, 2012
8:27 pm

he needs to run the ball more. he needs to throw the ball more better. he needs a ol

ugab

January 19th, 2012
8:29 pm

Buzz, Murray is the best we got. Murray does throw some wobbly passes. If there is another QB at uga to beat murray out? let’s do or die w a new qb

ugab

January 19th, 2012
8:31 pm

We need a OC and OL to back up any qb Uga has to start. Al has a young qb as always w a awesome d and an awesome OL

tony

January 19th, 2012
8:56 pm

icedawg

January 19th, 2012
8:57 pm

He’s had some great receivers to which to throw. The line play has been weak which has rattled him at times and he’s turned the ball over as a result. He can be brilliant at times and sloppy the same. To be a great QB he’ll need to be more consistent. He’s got the receivers, but not the line.

LOLDawg

January 19th, 2012
9:40 pm

Let’s quit using Murray’s age as an excuse.

17 Soph QB’s threw 7 interceptions or less, Murray threw 14.

13 Soph QB’s connected on 63% of passes or better, Murray was at 59%

Godfrey hit on 69%, mcCarron and paschell 67%

Keetor as a Freshman had a 11 to 2 td to interception ratio

Sec Soph QB’s McCarron & Shaw both led teams to top 10 finishes, and only threw 5 or 6 interceptions, Murray threw 14.

LOLDawg

January 19th, 2012
9:43 pm

Connor Shaw hit on 66% of his throws, only 6 interceptions
AJ McCarron hit on 67% of his throws, only 5 interceptions

These are Soph QB’s in the same conference as Aaron Murray.

LOLDawg

January 19th, 2012
9:45 pm

Bobo might figure out someday that best SEC QB’s complete a lot of balls, and throw only a few interceptions.

It ain’t about td’s.

RedandBLackDAWG

January 19th, 2012
10:13 pm

Go Mizzu,

Next year you will get to see if you can give Murray happy feet. My guess, is you will be glad to see Murray, his happy feet and the whole UGA team leave you alone after the game. You are going to fit right in with the majority of UGA haters right off the bat. UGA will be glad to welcome you to the SEC for sure.

JRock

January 19th, 2012
10:42 pm

He’s no Connor Shaw.

Fair and Balanced

January 19th, 2012
11:02 pm

Murray can single handedly win …or lose a football game. That’s what qb’s do.

Bulldog_Greg24

January 19th, 2012
11:03 pm

Based on the 2 bowl games and his performance against Boise/SC he is not the answer. He continues to make poor choices when guys are covered. Comparing him to Stafford is a joke, like comparing a VW to a Corvette.

nc gadawgfan

January 19th, 2012
11:06 pm

Murray is possible a mid-level quarter back, but he is certainly not a top tier quarterback. Doesn’t know how to look off defenses in order the move the defensive backs/safeties away from where he wants to go with the ball. Doesn’t possess the ability to throw the touch pass consistently. Doesn’t have the “cannon” most associated with top tier guys either. Leadership skills are suspect given the number of team members that have had issues on and off the field and out in town or have left the team. The top tier teams in the SEC can roll out defenses that seem to scare or overwhelm him. He doesn’t know counter plays “audibles” to call to attack the weakness perceived in the defense. I believe that Zach Mettenberger will show all of these skills and if UGA had their athletes under their authority he would still be around. Short of that who else do we have that can step on the field, take charge of the team and manage the Dawgs. TG has the defense playing with the “junkyard dawg”mentality once again so it’s time to make offensive changes that can take advantage of the stops made by the defensive team. In other words, no matter what his numbers say, it’s time for Murray to go.

bitter bad thrower

January 19th, 2012
11:29 pm

————-TROLLS///TROLLS///TROLLS—————1980—NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

——–georgias QB buck belue didnot complete b ut one pass the entire game, hershal only ganed

–130 some odd yards and took a beating from a great notra dame defence, but belue never and

——–I mean never threw a bloody interception—-not evan 1, again no turnovers

—notra dame, 4 turnovers—cost them the game, georgia evan had a high kick off that confussed

there kick returners and georgia recovered on the 2 yard line. hershal then scored over the top

——-bulue was frusterated all game —BUT NEVER TURNED THE BALL OVER——MURRAY

chuck

January 20th, 2012
12:45 am

A new OC would do wonders for Murray. Bobo is incompetent. I will never understand why we try to throw the ball 30-40 yards down the field on 3 and 8. I also don’t understand why we consistently run up the middle on 2 and 10 with a 175 pound back.

clay01

January 20th, 2012
6:31 am

Murray chokes! In crucial situations I would rather have an offensive lineman taking snaps! And don’t get me started on bonk! Open up the ably comp! We lost the best qb we had! He will be taking snaps for LSU!

We Run The East

January 20th, 2012
7:19 am

Murray is one of the worst QB’s in SEC at 2nd half and OT turnovers. Conner Shaw is the BEST in this category. Now is the time for UGA to shine (pre-season and off season) as won’t go so well once seson starts. Will UGA ever beat SC again in football? Tell me how great your new RB’s will be- we have barely recovered from that fantstic performance by IC last year. If your other backs are any good, IC will quit team as he cannot compete (no heart- all mouth and hair).

Rub some dirt on it

January 20th, 2012
7:55 am

@dawgfan Well, IC will run one series and then fain an ankle injury. Then sit on the training bench the rest of the game and watch his teammates actually play. So there’s one in question.

DawgSTILE

January 20th, 2012
7:55 am

To “klas of 0eight”, where are you getting your drugs? If you think UGA is winning anything with bobo and AM you are indeed on drugs. Bobo would have a hard time getting a div 2 job if ga cut him loose. Likely he would pull a ray goff and live off AA payments the rest of his life.Mens tennis rules at uga by the way.

Chouhundis Lea

January 20th, 2012
8:14 am