National media loves this Dawg — why don’t all UGA fans?

Sporting News ranks Aaron Murray one of the top 25 college players in the country. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Sporting News ranks Aaron Murray one of the top 25 college players in the country. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Matt Hayes of the Sporting News released his annual post-spring ranking of the top 25 players in college football, and two Georgia Bulldogs made the list, which was topped by Southern Cal quarterback Matt Barkley.

The first Dawg making the top 25 won’t surprise anyone: Jarvis Jones, who picked up an award as the nation’s top linebacker at the G-Day game, was ranked No. 5 on the list. The breakdown: “Disruptive edge rusher, sure tackler, defensive leader. The perfect combination.” And Hayes quotes an NFL scout as saying Jones is “the prototypical 3-4 outside linebacker. A top five [overall] guy.”

The other UGA player on the list? Aaron Murray, who some UGA fans don’t even think is the best quarterback on the team!

Hayes’ breakdown on Murray: “A fiery, tough competitor with good NFL measurables who has improved every season. Can he lead the Dawgs to a big season?” And an NFL scout says: “He still makes too many poor decisions, and his accuracy is a big question. But you love his moxie and intangibles.”

Hayes and the scout pretty well sum up the upside and downside of Murray, who was the subject of a heated fan Junkyard Mail discussion over the weekend that spilled over onto local sports talk radio in Atlanta Tuesday.

Why the disconnect between the way national sports media see Murray and the grumbling he inspires among some Georgia fans?

Part of it, I think, is the natural tendency of fans to complain about starting quarterbacks (ditto offensive coordinators/playcallers). I remember fans griping about Matt Stafford’s decision-making. And as rock-solid and successful as David Greene was, there was a minor QB controversy for a while early in his tenure, sparked by supporters of D.J Shockley, who thought he ought to get more playing time or be the starter. Remember?

I believe my friend Steve put his finger on it Tuesday when he said he thought the way No. 11 ended the season — with an error-filled implosion in the Dawgs’ bowl game against Michigan State — left a lingering dissatisfaction among fans. The what-have-you-done-for-me-lately syndrome.

But, as Steve said, Murray is still the best quarterback Mark Richt has. And, as Sporting News sees it, one of the best in the nation.

Like I said in Saturday’s Blawg, I think Murray has a lot of areas in which he needs to improve. But I don’t have any doubt he’s Richt’s best choice to lead the Bulldogs right now.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

461 comments Add your comment

Ross

April 25th, 2012
10:26 am

He is simply too inconsistent. He throws into traffic too much with no AJ Green to bail him out. He COULD be great, but needs a better offense coordinator..

VillaRicaDAWG

April 25th, 2012
10:30 am

Man!!! September can’t get here quickly enough! GO DAWGS!

cah

April 25th, 2012
10:32 am

the o played in the bowl, it was the d that let the game get away. One stop and Murry is a hero again. A solid player. GA could do and has done a whole lot worse. You want to play with or against Murry?

Brian

April 25th, 2012
10:34 am

Go Dawgs!! I was on sideline at Gday and Murray cant be over 6 feet tall. Im 5′10 and he looked maybe an inch taller. Murray still had problems getting the ball pass the d-line. I think Murray is a really good QB but saying he has NFL measureables is a reach. I say 6′3 is measureable for an NFL QB not 5′11.

SSIgator

April 25th, 2012
10:35 am

“He still makes too many poor decisions, and his accuracy is a big question”

Answered in one sentence. Oh, and also 0-9.

82Dawg

April 25th, 2012
10:35 am

Ross you make me laugh…last time I looked CMB was not the one throwing the interceptions, or fumbling the ball. How is that the coaches fault? CMB has his faults but Murray’s mistakes are not his fault.

Chase

April 25th, 2012
10:36 am

Stafford was inconsistent early on too, but he turned it around and is now one of the up-and-coming qb’s in the league. Hopefully Murray will pick it up this year though. With the running game lookin’ as good as it does it should take some pressure off of him. Just tryin’ to be a true Dawg fan and hope for the best. Go Dawgs!

Sam

April 25th, 2012
10:36 am

It makes me think of the man married to a wonderful woman. Yet he thinks some other woman is even better based on nothing more than a smile. I think the NFL scout is correct. Murray does make some mistakes. Most of them seem to be trying to make a big plan when taking a smaller play is the right move (or throwing the ball away). Murray has a little bit of the Favre gunslinger in him.

Moobs Johnson

April 25th, 2012
10:39 am

He’s the perfect QB for Coach MediocRe. He will beat the average to poor teams and self-implode against the better teams. He likes wearing a man purse, nothing more needs to be said.

No Bozos

April 25th, 2012
10:43 am

Still waiting for a signature win.

Brainiac

April 25th, 2012
10:45 am

Bill:

You and The Sporting News are right on.

The biggest problem I see is that there are SOME Dawg Fans that will never be satisfied even if UGA wins a MNC. These uneducated knuckleheads see what some trolls are posting (as UGA Fans) and begin a crusade to fire anybody/everybody over ANY BS they see on here.

Only fools seriously believe CMR would NOT play any player that gave UGA the best chance of winning, thereby hurting his and his staff’s chances for success and keeping their jobs. You have to seriously wonder if they are juveniles or mental patients or both.

Keep up the good work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Goldenrod

April 25th, 2012
10:46 am

Vad Lee is to Aaron Murray as Joe Hamilton is to Joe Cox.

WE WILL RUN THIS STATE!

Armond

April 25th, 2012
10:48 am

Murray has earned his accolades. Although like many young QB’s they make mistakes. They all do. Its to be expected. He is entering his 3rd yr as the starter(4th in the system) and 2nd in this new hurry up/no huddle offense. With a better running game, and decent O-Line play then he should be ALOT better than he was last year. QB is the hardest position to play, and unless you have played the position then have no idea how hard it is. Let’s give dude until at the very least the Mizzou game before we start the rally cry for Lemay or Mason

hipdawg

April 25th, 2012
10:48 am

i just don’t have confidence in him to take us all the way thats all.Tipped passes, fumbles , wobbly passes up for grab.It seems we let coaches and players ‘learn on the job’.Well like I said I am fine w/ him starting but if he starts to be off, let someone else have a chance….just say’in.

old dog

April 25th, 2012
10:50 am

@Goldenrod:
Say what???????

Armond

April 25th, 2012
10:53 am

alot of those tipped passes have to do with that shakey line play
there are no excuses for the fumbles and bad INT’s

jhughes

April 25th, 2012
10:53 am

He makes big mistakes in big games simple as that south carolina last year LSU last year Fla 2 years ago The throw to a triple covered green in ot Michigan state last year the list goes on and on. He kinda reminds me of chris rix of fl state. That being said he is still a pretty good qb and could be one of the best in the nation if he can grow as a player a little.

Destin Dawg

April 25th, 2012
10:54 am

keep up the intensity Mason and LeMay… Murray is subject to injuries…

Duncan

April 25th, 2012
10:54 am

My closest Dawg buddies and I are far more in-tune with the state of UGA football than any national media-types could ever hope to be. Even the writers who know a little about football have too much ground to cover to be authorities on the overall state of any particular program.

Rubber Neck

April 25th, 2012
10:59 am

I agree Goldenrod. Lee is far more likely to get busted for hit-and-run while drunk and high than Murray is.

Columbus Dawg

April 25th, 2012
11:02 am

I do think Murray is the best option at QB, but his carrying the ball like a loaf of bread when he takes off running has to stop. He did it in the 2012 G Day game, so he still has not learned his lesson here. This led to the fumble in the game with the Chickens, that ultimately led to UGA’s loss in that game. Just think, had he not given that game away, Spurrier would not be making headlines with this B.S. about divisional play. I read somewhere that in 2007, Georgia ran the ball 58 percent, and passed 42 percent. The Dawgs will have to get back to that formula to again be successful. That and not letting teams like SC and Tennessee beat them when the Dawgs clearly have the better team. Got to beat the teams that you are supposed to beat. Period.

Pitbull

April 25th, 2012
11:04 am

It must be Springtime in Georgia and the AJC is paying Bill King to start up a UGA QB controversy to sell papers and bring eyeballs to their website.

Don’t give the the satisfaction. No more posts on this article.

duronimo

April 25th, 2012
11:06 am

The fan’s opinion of Murray is based on facts not emotion. Murray generally falls apart against teams that are equal or better. Neither Stafford nor Greene had that problem. In the NFL every game is big.
The National sports media guys are following the hype. The fans are looking at his record.

Brainiac

April 25th, 2012
11:08 am

If you want to see the prime reason Murray can’t perform up to the Knuckleheads expectation just go back and watch the second half of the Michigan State game. MSU’s defensive line spent more time in the UGA backfield than the UGA RBs and for all practical purposes UGA had no running game in over half of the 14 games they played.

Seems most everybody thinks UGA’s running game problems are over but that won’t be known for a certainty until mid-season or later. Apparently IC is much improved but other than 2 or 3 games where IC wasn’t suspended or injured there was NO RUNNING GAME and that hurt Murray’s chance considerably. Marshal went down in spring practice and Gurley has yet to even put on an SEC uniform. Samuels showed various flashes of a good RB.

If Boo Malcomb continues his performance of the last few games of last season and in spring practice he could be the man but IC showed us enough already why he was a top rated RB. Great positives are there but not yet proven.

Although OL is everybody’s top concern, including me, the Special Teams could make or break us as they did last season. I have heard nothing exciting about our new punter and kicker.

Maybe you can hit on our P & K situation in the near future.

Keep up your good stuff!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Red Pants

April 25th, 2012
11:09 am

Hard to have a signature win when you haven’t had a signature opponent on your schedule since Auburn 2010…and he was a freshman playing against a national title winning team. Don’t give me the fumble against SCAR last year either, defense and special teams lost that game.

UGA Insider

April 25th, 2012
11:12 am

If this kid doesn’t learn to slid he is going to get seriously hurt. The fumbles and hard shots drive CMR and Bobo crazy. Murray is just that competitive come game time but those shots he took against USCe, Vandy, UF and Mich State were those that will get your knee blown out or have a concussion for 4 or 5 weeks.

UGA this season will gave a run-first mantra. The first 5 oline looked good at the end of spring ball and Crowell and Malcome look like NFLers. Crowell looks like a grown man who weighs about 220 and will run your arse over in a second. Crowell can also juke you out of your socks. I am going to go out on a limb here but here I go… If Crowell stays healthy look for him to be around 1700 yards rushing this season. Not kidding… Crowell is going to have 700 by the end of the 4th week.

Brainiac

April 25th, 2012
11:15 am

@ Brian:

Murray TOO SHORT???

Tell that to Drew Breeze, Fran Tarking ton, Eddie LaBarren, Doug Flutie, etc Only Breeze even approaches 6 feet!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brainiac

April 25th, 2012
11:18 am

@ Sam: (10:36 am post)

You got it right Bro!!!!!!!!!

Sam = DGD

clock stopper

April 25th, 2012
11:19 am

hey red pants, guess LSU in the SECCG wasn’t a signature game..go work on excuse “B’, and come right back…

clock stopper

April 25th, 2012
11:24 am

A little early for the bottle uga insider…1700, 700 after 4? really?

Brainiac

April 25th, 2012
11:24 am

@ UGA Insider:

I basically agree about IC but unless several people get injured or leave the team for whatever reasons, IC will be sharing the load with at least 1 or 2 other RBs and hopefully he can avoid the injury bug that plagued last year.

Red Pants

April 25th, 2012
11:25 am

Hey clock stopper, I was at that SECCG, if Murray had receivers that could catch the ball, score is 21-0 and the dynamics of the game change. Murray didn’t give up 40+, and LSU was way better than the Dawgs last year, no shame in losing to a vastly superior opponent.

bjohndawg

April 25th, 2012
11:25 am

This is the year Murray proves all his critics wrong.

clock stopper

April 25th, 2012
11:27 am

UGA insider please note: a brainiac agreement with your post proves it was not credible.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

April 25th, 2012
11:27 am

I may be wrong but I am pretty sure AM completion % is better than DG and MS. It just is inflated against mediocore competition. Easy to throw 37 TD’s when you’re dropping 5-6 a game against Sister Mary of the Poor University. AM must win the “big one” to have any chance at winning over the parted fanbase with him.

Desert Fox

April 25th, 2012
11:30 am

With few exceptions, last years FLand AU game, Murray has yet to prove himself a winning QB especially against teams ranked in top 25. Its not all his fault (poor running ngame and questionable play calling) but the fumbles and int’s are all on him. His accuracy at times is poor and he does get rattled when pressured. However, the only way to know if he’s the best GA has is if he ever gets relieved from a game that is still up for grabs. If he can shake all the negatives and have a great season maybe then disgruntled Dawg fans will get on the media band wagon of top players. He’ll need a lot of help from all facets of GA’s game performance to bolster his chances of winning the tough games. I hope he does well.

DukesDawg

April 25th, 2012
11:31 am

Why are many Dawg fans not big on Murray? Turnovers, too many missed passes, and they guy just can’t beat a ranked team, what is he 0 & 9 now against ranked teams? Most fans feel Murray has junk stats, and can’t lead well against winning teams (4-10 record) or ranked teams (0-9 record). But for the losing teams, I would start him in those games. Just doesn’t give you the best chance to win against the better teams, his record speaks louder than Mark Richt ever could.

chilidawg

April 25th, 2012
11:33 am

He’s gotta stop dropping the ball and throwing it to the other guys.

arrrgh

April 25th, 2012
11:33 am

Its as simple as this we as UGA fans know that Mrk can’t win big games and that Bobo will never progress as a play caller. Fans may complain about play calling too often, however with Bobo it is absolutely warranted and you would be a moron not too see it.

arrrgh

April 25th, 2012
11:34 am

DukesDawg

April 25th, 2012
11:35 am

How can anyone say, against a ranked team, a QB with an 0 & 9 record is our best option? I’d say give anyone else a shot in the pressure type of games, Murray has proven over 2 years, he just can’t lead the team to a win. Start another guy, they can’t possibly be any worse than 0-9.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

April 25th, 2012
11:38 am

“AM didn’t give up 40 against LSU.”

“WR that could catch.”

Hard to argue the second point as it is very valid about it changing the dynamics, but AM has to be able to move on and work within the confines of the offense to sustain drives. Be the leader and get the players to make a play for you. If the O is making first downs then the defense is off the field and LSU is running for 200 yards in the second half. To many 3 and outs for the offense not just in that game but in key stretches of big game. Not all of that is AM fault obviously but when you are QB1 blame for the good and blame for the bad comes with the territory.

arrrgh

April 25th, 2012
11:39 am

Red pants you are a moron LSU may have had a slight bit more talent but to say vastly superior is incorrect, also the other 3 teams UGA lost too last year were vastly inferior in talent. But definitely better coached.

Thomas Brown

April 25th, 2012
11:40 am

Sporting News. Since when did they EVER write a list of top 10 this or that that remotely resembled what ANYONE else said ?

All anyone cares about is the 5 TD passes Aaron Murray threw against Louisiana Lafayette and the fumbles, sacks and interceptions against South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Colorado, Florida, Auburn, Central Florida and Boise State, South Carolina, LSU, Michigan State. Folks who want to talk about the 10 of his 16 wins against teams who made a losing season, or attempt to ignore he hasn’t even beat any SEC team who made a winning SEC record yet, will do as Sporting News and look at the yards.

In the meantime, he is a poor leader on the field and off it and has demonstrated that the other Quarterbacks of which we have 7 now, should be given every opportunity to spur the boy on to do something against the top teams because be the very reason we lost the game

again.

7576DAWG

April 25th, 2012
11:41 am

Everybody can see the potential that Murray has and for me the criticism has always been because in the 4 loses and a few game that we barely won, but should have coasted in , Murray made the SAME MISTAKES. When the average person gets a negative result doing something they change the way the do so they won’t have the same results, not Murray.
For me Murray should be the starter but LeMay and Mason need to be in there getting playing time as much as possible. When we play division 2 teams , Murray should play no more than one quarter and then the other Quarterback’s should be playing to get as much playing experience as possible because it is a miracle that Murray hasn’t been hurt yet. I think he likes to be flattened by a Linebacker or Defensive End.

Spanky

April 25th, 2012
11:44 am

Dukes, I think alot has to do with what happens at practice, and how do you know what Mason or LeMay would do against ranked teams? Also, that statement has to be false, because when we beat Awbarn’s @ss last year, they were ranked, I believe. One more 2-cents…if our O-line can protect better, then Murray would’nt have to make so many quick decisions. Go Dawgs!

Cuz

April 25th, 2012
11:51 am

I think Murray will finally silence the natering naybobs of negativity this year.

DukesDawg

April 25th, 2012
11:55 am

Murray was 0-5 vs. ranked teams in 2010, 0-4 in 2011. Going by final AP Poll ranking. Auburn was an 8 win team in 2011, not top 25 calibre.

UGA fan...not fanatic

April 25th, 2012
11:59 am

I hope your right Cuz….because as of now, I have not seen anything to make me think he is a top QB.

evillurks

April 25th, 2012
12:05 pm

the murray kid has never beaten a top 20 team.

the rest of the sec hopes he’ll remain the starter at THuga.