It’s past time for Aaron Murray to settle himself down

In his third year as a starter, Aaron Murray is still getting too pumped up? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

In his third year as a starter, Aaron Murray is still getting too pumped up? (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

A few more thoughts and observations following Georgia’s home opener …

While he granted that Aaron Murray plays with “a lot of emotion” and “probably was really pumped up,” Mark Richt was about as pointed in his criticism of his veteran quarterback’s efforts early in the game as you’ll ever hear from Georgia’s head coach.

Speaking of Murray overthrowing wide-open receivers headed toward the end zone, Richt said: “Murray, he’s a veteran, and we get a wide open post for a touchdown, we’ve got to hit it. The guy’s wide open and you’ve got protection, it’s your job to put the ball on the money.”

Yes, Murray is still having to deal with an offensive line he can’t completely trust and young backs who sometimes whiff on blocks (with Murray getting sacked three times by the Bulls), but that’s pretty much been the case his entire career at UGA. And he looked much better in the second half, but in his third year he shouldn’t still be getting off to these rocky starts because he’s too pumped up.

At this point, the biggest obstacle to No. 11 living up to his full potential is Aaron Murray himself. …

While, as we discussed Saturday, Georgia’s defensive front definitely underperformed against Buffalo in a generally uneven outing by the Bulldogs, I was very encouraged by how the wide receivers looked. True, Buffalo wasn’t the toughest team to get open on, but Tavarres King, Rantavious Wooten, Michael Bennett and Chris Conley all looked really good. Particularly impressive was the way Wooten extended himself to make the catch on that long touchdown pass. He also threw a nice pass that should have been a touchdown, only to be droppd by Keith Marshall. And King still managed six catches for 117 yards despite Murray playing keep-away with the ball on several would-be long completions in the first half. Conley also made a nice, reaching catch on one play and, of course, blocked a punt on special teams. All in all, Malcolm Mitchell was missed less on offense than on defense. …

Should Todd Gurley’s breakout performance earn him the starting nod against Mizzou? That’s a tough one. While his running and returning were brilliant, he looked like a typical true freshman in pass protection, as did fellow frosh Marshall, missing some blocks entirely. Much more effective in that regard were the veterans, Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel. If Malcome’s hand injury prevents him from maintaining his position on the depth chart this coming week, you’ve got to wonder if Samuel might not get the starter’s call while Gurley and Marshall still get their share of the carries. …

Back to the offensive line, which had a middling day against Buffalo, necessitating the tight ends spend most of the day staying in to block: Here’s hoping that John Theus is able to wrap up that injured ankle and tough it out, like Richt suggested, because even hobbled he’s probably still Georgia’s best bet at right tackle. …

Damian Swann mostly called for fair catches receiving punts, but he did have one really nice return. While Mitchell is likely to re-enter that conversation once he’s off the crutches, I think Swann shows potential as a returner. …

Last year, Georgia didn’t let a fullback carry the ball until the Georgia Tech game. Former walk-on Merritt Hall not only got the starting nod in Saturday’s game, but he got to run the ball, too, and picked up a first down. Well done! …

It was great to see Olympics gold medal winner Allison Schmitt on the field helping finish off the Game Ball Relay, along with Vince Dooley, Chance Veazey and Charley Trippi. I’m sure some sort of on-field recognition is planned later this season for UGA’s Olympians, and I’m looking forward to getting on my feet and yelling once again for Schmitt and her fellow U.S. team members. …

Also from the pregame, I liked the Redcoats’ new way of running onto the field like the football team does, and I’m glad they tweaked the previously problematic Georgia-Bulldogs cheer (mainly by not having the band play between the cheers by the two sides of the stadium). But the initial effort to have the crowd sing “Hail to Georgia” was pretty much a flop. Most folks don’t have a clue what the lyrics are, and while they were helpfully provided on the video screen, the crowd seemed unsure when in the song they were supposed to start singing. That one might need some tweaking as well. …

Lastly, the folks in Section 104 missed Malinda Erwin, who couldn’t make it to Saturday’s game because she’s still recovering from surgery. We look forward to you rejoining us for Florida Atlantic, Malinda!

Feel free to chime in if you spotted anything else in Saturday’s game that you want to discuss.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

184 comments Add your comment

bubba4dawgs

September 3rd, 2012
10:31 am

Sure wish the DAWGS were a full strength for Mizzou! Weaknesses were obvious during the Buffalo game. Hope they can be corrected this week!! What was so good to see was the abundance of talent the DAWGS have! The DAWGS are loaded with sheer athleticism and I have trouble believing that Mizzou can match that, speed, size and just plain smash mouth football! GO DAWGS!!

Dawg Tired

September 3rd, 2012
10:32 am

“Should Todd Gurley’s breakout performance earn him the starting nod against Mizzou? That’s a tough one. While his running and returning were brilliant, he looked like a typical true freshman in pass protection, as did fellow frosh Marshall, missing some blocks entirely. Much more effective in that regard were the veterans, Ken Malcome and Richard Samuel. If Malcome’s hand injury prevents him from maintaining his position on the depth chart this coming week, you’ve got to wonder if Samuel might not get the starter’s call while Gurley and Marshall still get their share of the carries. …”

And who’s “job” is it to teach young Gurley how to pass block? Come on Bill! Gurley not being able to pass block someone from SUNY at Buffalo is a clear indicator of just how poorly coached this whole team is.

As to the OL. I admit that for some inexplicable reason I was about to believe that David ANdrews could actually play center in the SEC after hearing all the talk the past couple of weeks about how he would fight and scrap and hang in there, etc. Then I saw he could not block the boys from SUNY! Oh my! The only good news is that surely starting our with a # 6 in the nation preseason ranking and then playing like a bunch of out of shape, slow, confused, lack of effort giving prima donnas with a coach saying they didn’t play well because it was too hot for them will surely be the straw that forces a change by the AD come season’s end.

SoGaDAWG

September 3rd, 2012
10:36 am

Gurley played awsome but someone please tell that young man to hold the ball until he crosses the goal line. He let it go a yard or so early on his 55yd td run. Also someone please tell me why Murray hardly ever throws the ball away and instead takes a sack. I personally cant wait for Ramsey to get to GA and we will have a Qb thats tall enough to see over the line. Go Dawgs and good luck in Mo!

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
10:41 am

Georgia ran the ball 60% of the plays.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
10:47 am

Drpped that ball close to the goal line, didnt he. I was hoping they didnt review that. probably wasn;t that close as it looked though.

Actually, I was thinking how I like Murray taking those sacks. He wasn’t out of the tackle box, so just getting rid of the ball has risks.

Georgia

September 3rd, 2012
10:47 am

Its tiring hearing all you hyper-critical people on Georgia’s 45-23 win. How about Oregon 57-34 to ark st? Oklahoma 24-7 to Utep (10-7 in 4th), lots of other examples. Give it a rest. Everyone expects perfection out of Murray. The kid had no turnover and 3 td’s. He read the defense correctly. Running backs are the real deal obviously. Suspensions but so what, now they know what to work with this week.

WDE

September 3rd, 2012
10:59 am

Did anyone think we were EVER in danger of losing this game? Buffalo played as good a game as they were capable of and still lost by 22 . Can we improve in several areas, of course and I’m thinking we will. Mizzou will be a good game but they aren’t Bama or UT even,Old Man football ? Lets see if we line it up and run it down their throats will it still be Old Man football? This game will be the real indicator for the Bull Dog Nation on what we really have in this years team and I can’t wait !

60 Dawg

September 3rd, 2012
11:09 am

Mark Richt still thinks he is at Florida State. Bobo thinks he is still a student and running from Allen’s and Rodney Gardner is at Tennessee. What Georgia needs are coaches who love UGA and want to win, win, win, for the name of Glory to Old Georgia.

It’s time to clean house and quit talking.

BalkansDawg

September 3rd, 2012
11:12 am

Altamaha, I don’t think there is anything wrong with a 40 yard bomb, either. And yes, the players should have connected on it and I don’t think that discussing it is making excuses. I comment on throwing the long ball because it seemed like we did that on almost every 1st down (hyperbole is the best!). And again, not that I’m against it. I’m just hoping that, as has been pointed out elsewhere, it was more for giving our younger backs reps at pass protection and not a pattern of play-calling for the season. Of course the run game and passing game set up one another as the game goes along. I just prefer establishing a solid running game and forcing a defense to stop that before opening the passing game up wide open. CMB just seems to be of the opposite persuasion. I like “old-man football,” I guess.

As for those ready to throw in the towel on this team after game one, give it a rest. Let the season play itself out. You may all be singing a different tune this time next week. Of course we may not. That’s why they play the games.

GO DAWGS!

LHarding Dawg

September 3rd, 2012
11:14 am

60 – That, my friend, is a dumb post!

jerry

September 3rd, 2012
11:26 am

Once Derek Dooley is fired, it would be just like UGA to name him head coach in waiting, considering the fact that they hire on influence, not proven ability.

WDE

September 3rd, 2012
11:32 am

@LHarding Dawg I’m thinking a lot of trolls just pick a number and add Dawg to post 60

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
11:34 am

I think Buffalo was playing a pretty stacked in the middle run defense (on our first down), so Murrray saw single coverage on the outside a few times, and correctly checked in to it.

39 attempt and 200+ yards, was pretty committed to the run , IMO.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
11:41 am

And folks lets be honest here. We could have scored 60 (and really almost did) against a pretty decent Buffalo team. Does anybody really think we would have given up much more than 10 points to Div 1-AA SE La?

CHDawg

September 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

Murray was off on a few throws, but he also hit some good throws, too. CMR is just doing what he is supposed to do–improve Murray each week. Don’t forget we had a dropped TD too. Bottom line, Murray is a great QB. On the bright side he didn’t cough it up any. We all saw him thread the needle to win some tough games last year. On Missouri, I am just amazed at the trash talking. Basically, the DT said we stink and our guys can’t play, and that we don’t stand a chance. We’ll see. Maybe they beat us by four TDs like he thinks…and maybe not. I think CTG was holding back a little, in the first half particularly. I also think we will see a lot more no huddle on Sat. Go Dawgs.

Rome-Dawg

September 3rd, 2012
12:04 pm

Everyone calm down. The dawgs will be fine. We are no where playing our best and really we don.t want to be playing our best yet. We are in the process of overcoming some tough obstacles (suspensions, injuries, etc.) All of this will make us even better by the end of the year. Todd Gratham knows what he is doing and is in the process of building even more depth on defense. After we get our 5 missing starters back plus the ones getting all of this valualbe experience we will be the best defensive team in the nation. Remember, we were playing in a totally different environment than some of the other SEC teams (Alabama, Auburn). We were playing in a very hot and humid environment (93 degrees t) and not in a dome where the conditions were very comfortable (70 degress with no humidity).
We have a ton weapons on offense and two of our best did not even play(Malcom Mithcell and Marlon Brown). We definitely have a great stable of backs that are only going to get better. Bulldog nation needs to calm down and embrace what is about to happen. This team will end up being very special.
When we hit our stride it is going to be a site to behold.

Macclenny_dawg

September 3rd, 2012
12:05 pm

Bill, I agree too many times Murray comes out and over throws too many passes in the 1st half. But as a coaching staff the coaches have to learn to settle him down. Call a qb draw let him run to settle him down. We cannot worry about injuries because they will happen regardless. We cannot say special teams are better because I saw a punt or 2 that Buffalo could have ran for a 1st down. Special teams only looked better because of Gurly’s kick return and 1 blocked punt. Guys this was Buffalo talent alone we should have smoked them . The defense looked bad. Forget about a top defense because because nobody in college football plays the same 12 opponets!!! This defense has a lot of work too do. Our defense will statisicly get better just like last year only because we don’t play any great offense with our schedule. Yes we have just as talented players as any but year after year no depth on the lines. Its time too recruit the lines if we ever want on Alabama’s level. The coaches have to learn you create experience and depth by keeping your foot on the gas and blow out the lesser opponets to get the backups more playing time and experience!!!! Go Dawgs!!!

WDE

September 3rd, 2012
12:05 pm

Lets see Murray goes for 258 YDS, 3 TD’s with no INT’s or fumbles and we win by over 3 TD’s….and listen to the whining. I think there are a lot of Bugs in Bull Dog clothing on this blog I really do.

CHDawg

September 3rd, 2012
12:07 pm

Alta..Dawg, I looked at Gurley’s TD several times in slomo on the DVR and I thought they could have called it either way. I didn’t have a great angle. I’m sure CBM will beat that horse (hanging on to the ball on TDs) till it’s dead and stinking. What a great day that young man had, though. He is a keeper. Gurley is really good at maintaining warp speed in the middle of the asteroid field; Samuel runs through the asteroids, breaking them to pieces; and Marhsall dances around them, still respectable for a true freshman. I think Marshall is going to be very dangerous if they can get the ball to him away from the asteroids.

AirForce1

September 3rd, 2012
12:08 pm

Doesn’t Murrray seem to throw better when mobile or rolling out? Just an observation over the last three years. I would like to see him run (QB draw) just a tad more. I know he is small compared to most but Aaron has moves and speed.

CHDawg

September 3rd, 2012
12:26 pm

USAF, he has had a problem with overthrowing people from time to time since day one. He appears to be a high energy type who has to get his adrenaline under control. I think he is one of the top long ball arms in college football, though, and defending against our team would terrify me if I were a DC. Your only hope is to stack the box, blitz a lot, and pressure him. If you don’t get to him, he will cut you to pieces. With our speed and depth at WR, I would go no-huddle, three receivers, and let Murray run the other team’s secondary to death. We could rotate receivers every couple of plays about three deep. He might have to rollout some to get away from the rush.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
12:32 pm

What bothered me more was that dropping the ball seemed more like a signature move, more than a casual mistake. I expect that to be corrected.

AirForce1

September 3rd, 2012
12:44 pm

CHDawg….. great points and observation. WE seem to run the no huddle just not quite the tempo of say a Boise St or Oregon. I agree….run the defenses to death…not to mention 4 running backs we could rotate in as well. He can throw a deep ball but he is very emotional…which is good but he gets amped up and overthrows. Better than throwing too short for int’s.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
1:01 pm

Actually, I think both of those missed Bombs were on 2nd down.

Rinky

September 3rd, 2012
1:04 pm

Awesome display of offensive firepower.

3 passing touchdowns.

3 rushing touchdowns.

225 rushing yards.

250 passing yards.

500 yards of total offense.

38 Points on the board.

Thought Murray, Gurley, Malcome, Wooten, King, Bennett, Marshall, Samuel, all made great plays and looked AWESOME for the opener.

And to think Marlon Brown and Mitchell didn’t even play, and you didn’t have to show any throws to Rome or Lynch and still won by 3 touchdowns.

Pretty much only showed 2 pass plays, wide receiver screen, and long bomb.

joe jenkins

September 3rd, 2012
1:10 pm

Who cares about murray…he will not get any better!!!!! the only way we beat mizzo…is if our secondary loks like this…. safeties – willams and moore corners- swan and mitchell. branden smith should moved to offense permantly…he should be a third string wr…..he is one of the worst corners we have had in the last five years….norman should be our last resort…..I’m so disappointed that moore has not stepped up yet….we need him and jhc to step the hell up…. richt please cut the BS and let rambo and tree play…for gods sake man

Huh?

September 3rd, 2012
1:15 pm

From what I saw this past weekend, it’s pretty much going to be a repeat of last year in the SEC. Alabama is CLEARLY the best team in football, with LSU right behind. Those two teams will battle it out for the SEC title, and one will go on to play in the NC game. As for the East, it appears to be a wide open race between SC, UT, FL and UGA….and actually, UT looks like the best from that group.

I know that UGA has/had a #6 ranking, and that a lot of UGA fans are predicting a lot from this year’s team….however, UGA didn’t play like a #6 team, and won’t be competing for much of anything this year.

flatsdawg1

September 3rd, 2012
1:20 pm

Our defense will have it first real challenge, how do we defend a spread with a shorthanded D? I’m not worried about our offense. We will score plenty but can we stop this guy throwing it to 9 different receivers? He also ran for almost a thousand last year. Scary, the pressure is on to win this game. Murray has to calm down and play well. Special teams will be the key in a shootout. Kicker will be depended on late I think 37-34 DAWGS !! Welcome Mizzou.Marlon Brown shows out if he plays.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
1:21 pm

With your team looking so good, WHY have you spend the weekend in here worrying what Georgia fans think?

GB's Hamburgers

September 3rd, 2012
1:39 pm

Walker seems to think that statistics is the point in football. So the team is pretty …. but can they fight? Bobo said of Murray …. “he’ll be better this year because he knows more of the offense?” DUH. Is our finesse offense so complex that in his third year he only “knows more of it?” Bama has the right idea. Use your superior athletes to smash the other team. It’s simply. Both sides knows what’s coming and it doesn’t take years to learn. The point is to win not produce laudable statistics.

SSIgator

September 3rd, 2012
1:43 pm

Just noticed the picture of Murray the Midget standing on his toes trying to see over the players in front of him.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
1:44 pm

I think what Coach Bobo was saying is that Murray can read the defense better with experience, and put them into the correct play, even if its just a straight up run.. (Nick Saban would agree, I am sure)

WDE

September 3rd, 2012
1:45 pm

@flatsdawg1 good post, I think we get the ball and run right at them, and continue all game. Their D is more of a question mark that their offense . So lets keep the ball away from them, long drives with the running game and take our shots down field when they load the box. This is not a high caliber defense as far as the SEC goes we should be able to move the ball and control the clock.

Resident Georgia Fan

September 3rd, 2012
1:47 pm

For God’s sake start Gurley. Don’t go into a fight with your best weapon on the bench.

CHDawg

September 3rd, 2012
1:49 pm

Flats, I agree that Franklin is going to be tough to stop. We had trouble with Moore and the spread last year, but he didn’t run the ball! CMB better get the O ready with a 50+ mindset or else. We can’t afford to waste one possession imho. I expect a big shootout…we’ll see. I hope it’s not them shooting, and us out. If the D comes back at end of year speed this game, I think Missouri will be impressed.

GATiger

September 3rd, 2012
1:50 pm

Although it will probably be used as billboard material, the “old man football” comment from MO is really a compliment. If GA plays old man football, staying with the running game until they wear down a less than stellar MO defense, they’ll win handily. If Richt abandons it because he doesn’t see big results (as usual) it’ll be close.

WDE

September 3rd, 2012
2:06 pm

Oh and one more thing , can I safely assume that with all the hype Mizzou is getting that a win this week will be considered a “Big Game” by the haters?

CritterDawg

September 3rd, 2012
2:27 pm

We did have way too many starters out of the game so I don’t think that this game is much of a determining factor on how the season will go. I believe next week is going to be the best measuring stick for the remainder of the season. Good news is that Florida and SC did not look that great either.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
2:44 pm

Tough break for A&M, not getting to play.

Nub

September 3rd, 2012
2:56 pm

Maybe another trip to the pool will help…..

Real Fan

September 3rd, 2012
3:11 pm

Do any of you out of shape, never played 1 down, negative losers even enjoy watching football? If you’re looking for a perfect performance then go to theatre.

harold

September 3rd, 2012
3:23 pm

MURRAY GETS TOO NERVOUS. THE BEST QB IN THE SEC IS THE ARK. DUDE AND TYLER BRAY PLAYED INCREDIBLE.

I LIKE HUTSON BETTER THAN MURRAY.

Nub

September 3rd, 2012
3:30 pm

The plain truth is the bulls o line whipped our d line for the first half of the game…! If I am not mistaken I believe the bulls had almost double the rushing yardage in the first half as well … So what we can conclude is as usual we were not physically ready to play…

Monty

September 3rd, 2012
3:33 pm

For you Saban guys, go root for Bama, this is Dawg city. Your coach ain’t never won back to back championships and won’t this time, nobody does hardly every repeat as National Champs.

It’s gonna be Richt, Miles, Spurrier, or Ark.

Ark doesn’t have Petrino anymore, they will not put up points against the better defenses. They have 3 top 10 teams on their schedule.

Miles’ offense is 1 dimensional and Mettenberger is lackluster, 1 td, 1 interception against a lousy team. Special teams will take a big hit without Honey Badger. LSU also plays 3 top 10 teams, so they’re out.

Spurrier has a good front 7 on defense, terrible secondary, and a tentative running back, and an injured QB that runs a lot and only threw for 67 yards this weekend. And SC gets LSU, Ark, and Georgia, 3 top 10 teams.

Richt has a great offense, a great defense, and great special teams. Richt only faces 1 top 10 team.

This is UGA’s year.

Nub

September 3rd, 2012
3:42 pm

You would think after 3 national championships in less than 10 yrs coaches would mirror some of Saben’s best… Believe it was Spurrier that said I wonder what happens to all of those 4 and 5 star recruits that go to UGA…. Wasn’t it John Jenkins talking about what he was going to do this season …. Did he make one tackle against the bulls?

Randy Marsh

September 3rd, 2012
3:55 pm

Is it me or all Murray does is chunk bombs 40-50 yards down the field? He’s the most overrated QB in the country. He doesn’t use his brain like David Greene used to. And if the D doesn’t step up, Mizz will light us up, especially with our suspensions.

Randy Marsh

September 3rd, 2012
3:58 pm

9-3 is the best we can hope for, maybe 8-4. TN looked good and may smoke us. Add in FL, SC, AU GT, and MZ this weekend, if there’s no improvement I don’t see 10-2.

OLDGUY

September 3rd, 2012
4:24 pm

Come on did we lose? I guess the midget football coaches are too smart! Hey guys we won!

OLDGUY

September 3rd, 2012
4:24 pm

Enter your comments here

Murray's ONE great game performance

September 3rd, 2012
4:29 pm

In 2010, I proclaimed Aaron Murray as the best COMPLETE QB in my 53 years of viewing UGA games after seeing ONE GAME. His runs and passes and scambles and such in the UT game really impressed me. That year We all know that UT was horrible. Murray was a one man show that ONE game.

Since that game, Murray has choked so badly, like same year vs Florida and last year with SC and Michigan State and Boise State and all of his horrific pic 2 TDs and fumbles.

Yes, he will leave with tons of records but unless he really turns it one from here on out, he will not be fondly remembered like even DJ Shockley and David Green and Buck Belue and Andy Johnson and Ray Goff and Kirby Moore or even Mike Cavan or Larry Rakestraw or Tarkenton. UGA fans want him to settle down and LEAD UGA to the promised land ONCE.

Murray gets all tense and uptight and the fans cannot stand that of him. He is a 4th year player too !!! NO EXCUSES, Murray.

Gooooooooooooooooo Dogs.