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.

JUNKYARD MAIL CALL

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

184 comments Add your comment

When CMR speaks to the media or on TV shows

September 3rd, 2012
4:38 pm

Watch Richt speak on TV. Now, he is a very fine, fine man. We all know that. He does so much for the poor Honduran people. His place is assured, I suspect, up in Heaven.

My issue with him is his personal demeanor. His carriage on the field is ok, along the sideline but in interviews, he looks sleepy eyed and soft spoken. I am convinced as a former professional speaker for over 35 years, that he imparts that SAME sleepy, no sense of urgency, to this players. They reflect him.

I am fearing one of these 8-4 seasons, with all the injuries and suspensions of selfish, punk UGA players that are HURTING THE SCHOOL.
Go Dogs.

How about .......

September 3rd, 2012
4:47 pm

How bout an option package with Christian LeMay at QB and running both Samuel as FB blocking and pitch it back to either Gurley or Marshall and let their speed burn it up.

Why not? Could be worth a huge change of pace to get Mizzo into a D panic situation. If they get to tee off on pass rushing Murray, it could get ugly fast, as he will panic.

Go Dogs.

Psychic beer dog

September 3rd, 2012
4:51 pm

Within 5 weeks all will be able to see that 2013 will be a Smart year at Jawja

beanster

September 3rd, 2012
5:03 pm

5 weeks from now UGA will be either 4-2 or 5-1 and people will still be complaining about Aaron Murray.

Old Dawg

September 3rd, 2012
5:13 pm

I wasn’t excited about Murray missing those passes, but how many experienced quarterbacks have had bad days through the years? Hell, even Peyton Manning had a miserable day his senior year against Memphis his senior year, with the Vols losing the game and the QB dropping out of the Heisman Trophy race.

Like many people I was disappointed with the way the team played yesterday. The Dawgs really need to improve if they’re going to have a great season. Let’s see how the play next week and in the remainder of the games before completely dumping on them!

VP

September 3rd, 2012
5:20 pm

Thought Murray had a tremendous first game. He led his team to it’s 11th regular season win in a row. He had no turnovers. He threw 3 td’s. His offense scored 38 points and piled up almost 500 yards.

Murray finished up the weekend a little better than Matt Barkely’s 178 passer rating, Murray’s is 179.

VP

September 3rd, 2012
5:23 pm

Bill,

Aaron Murray is not going to throw for 400 yards, completing 80% of his passes, 5 td’s, and 0 int’s every game, so if that’s what you’re expecting, expect to be writing this article every week because you’re expectations arn’t fair.

Big Mike 37

September 3rd, 2012
6:06 pm

When will Coach Richt finally realize that Murray just can’t cut it…. Looks like poo poo even against crappy teams….. Over hyped is a nice way of sayin…. he just cant make all the throws… worst of all he will be back next year cause the NFL doesnt want him

Quo Vadis

September 3rd, 2012
6:12 pm

Aaron Murray = Reggie Ball

In other words, A LOSER!

Missouri will hand Murray’s head to him on a platter.

Dwag One

September 3rd, 2012
6:15 pm

“… worst of all he will be back next year cause the NFL doesnt want him.”

Gee, thanks for those cheery words. :-(

Pdx

September 3rd, 2012
6:27 pm

I have never seen a group of whinier fans. Get a grip or be a fan of some other team.

Bill

September 3rd, 2012
6:39 pm

What a bunch of idiots. Get a life! You spend your time being critical of a college kid who is doing his best to represent the University of Georgia, really? Are you that dumb?

hornblowermg

September 3rd, 2012
6:51 pm

HUTSON MASON. NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
7:35 pm

Not to mention, he SCORED a TD on half of his deep passes. Can’t believe we even gave this guy a scholarship.

PonGT

September 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

Good observations, all! There is one point that I feel needs to be hammered and that is clock management in the fourth qtr. When you have a 22 point lead and a stable of running backs that are pounding the opposition, we should be running out the clock and sealing the deal. Instead, Murray is throwing forty yard bombs trying to see how quickly we can get another touchdown. Somebody needs to know when to milk the clock and quit trying to pad the stats for the qb. Gurly and Marshall were really exciting. Maaybe we can run them more next week instead of trying to match throw for thow in Missery.

Old Dog Class of 80

September 3rd, 2012
8:12 pm

Bill – thought your blog had been dropped from the AJC since I could not find it. You really need to talk to the Editors about their new webpage design – It Sucks!

Sad Richards

September 3rd, 2012
8:45 pm

Altamaha….. The excuse I was referring to is “first game jitters”…. Really Buffalo? I could understand maybe against a Bama, LSU or a Clemson but Buffalo ,I mean really that is comical as hell. But no matter if there is any criticism against our Dawgs you are the resident Richt apologist so I shouldnt expect anything less from your sugar coated comments.

Smarticus

September 3rd, 2012
8:54 pm

It’s the coaching, stupid.

FLA DAWG

September 3rd, 2012
8:54 pm

Murray is a great talent but he’s got to step up to the plate and be a lead hitter. He’d better settle down fast and show some maturity and confidence for himself and his team or Richt should plug in a different QB. We’ve got a stable of ‘em and they’re all damn good.

I’ve got a feeling Murray will really shine against Mizzou…………….well, here’s hoping so anyway.

GO DAWGS !!

FLA DAWG

September 3rd, 2012
8:57 pm

OLD DAWG,

I agree. This new site design is one of the worst I’ve seen. The old one was much better.

FLA DAWG
Class of 79

Hey, I was a Risk Mgt Major. You?

Smarticus

September 3rd, 2012
8:57 pm

Murray is highly overrated, but Richt and Bobo will not let any other QB talent get a chance.

Smarticus

September 3rd, 2012
8:59 pm

Preacha Man’s Koolaid elixir is distilled in Altamaha…

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
9:06 pm

And you whine no matter what they do. So of those 2 choices, who seems to be having the better time?

My point is that not sure what anybody is making “excuses” for. Murray had a pretty good game, and UGA won going away as they were supposed to. Could have scored 60 point if that was the plan.

There were a half dozen positive things and one downer: the starting D-line was a bit lax on couple of series they defended. the also forced 10) punts, 8) 3 and out, and shut the other guys out the second half .I’m not worried about our front 7 in the least.

BTW. I can’t help it you just don’t appreciate the positive tone but if you think my comments are not accurate feel free to point out how so. As you know, nobody asked for the debate more than I do.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
9:07 pm

what was that? 8-3 and out, eight.

Sad Richards

September 3rd, 2012
9:36 pm

Sad Richards

September 3rd, 2012
9:48 pm

There is nothing to debate…. Richt and the teams overall performance was one again unimpressive and also against a Mickey Mouse team. Everyone knows this except of course the Kool aid slurppers.

damngooddawg!

September 3rd, 2012
10:10 pm

I do not think my dawgs will ever move up to the top of the heap under CMR and Co. To the Alabama fan I told that UGA would spank the Tide in the SEC championship game…I’d like to revise my prediction. IF by some miracle we stumble into the game, we WILL make at least 2 first downs and we WILL force Bama to punt at least once. Take that!!!

damngooddawg!

September 3rd, 2012
10:16 pm

I think watching my grass grow would be more exciting than this Va Tech/Ga Tech game…dang…what losers.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
10:40 pm

Of cource not. That would require reading the points that somebody actualy makes and offering a well thought out retort.

Easier to just copy and repeat some trite little putdowns.

Come on. be a man, how bout. Talk like a grown up and tell me what I have said today that was inaccurate.

AltamahaDawg

September 3rd, 2012
10:47 pm

kool aid and richt apologist.

I know you are smarter than that and capable of talking like an adult.

Try it one more time.

Mobile Dawg

September 3rd, 2012
11:00 pm

From my vantage point the Dawgs weren’t that well prepared, and weren’t as ready to play as conveyed by the head man. Especially to have wrapped up game preps three days early. I think we have our work cut out for us at Missouri, and I hope it’s drilled into the heads of the players, nothing less than 100 percent for sixty minutes.

01HAWK

September 4th, 2012
4:28 am

UGA does not haveto worry about the Offense……………………..It s the Defense that will be the let down this year.

The DLINE was huffing and puffing as usual. A good running team will kill UGA.

Every team should run right at UGA.

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
7:04 am

Well they practised on Thursday. You wanted them out there on Friday? Does anybody ever do that?

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
7:08 am

What humors me this weekend is the absolutely silence, not one single comment of complaint of Todd Grantham. Of the coaching staff, he is the one who (fill in the blank cliche’s about not doing his job).

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
7:19 am

Mobile the thing that seem to make some folks believe beating somebody by 3 TDS was such a horrible game was effort fomr the D-line, IMO. As far as prepared, I actually thought they were sparper than they typically are in thier first game. Very few penalties, very few busted plays. the offense particularly looked very ready to go. As sharp as they can look running a half dozen plays over and over.

Special teams looked prepared.

What did you see, that was an obvious lack of practise related issue?

Kyle

September 4th, 2012
7:28 am

Quit making d*** excusees for this guy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am sick and tired of hearing “oline” blah blah……bottom line Murray missed two wide open receivers…..this crap goes on year after year…..there is a reason he has not beat a decent team…….we leave Missouri with a L. The defense looked horrible…..take a look at how a real team open the season (Bama). I am totally disgusted after watching UGA sleepwalk to another win over a losing team. Girley is the lone brightspot…like I said 9-3

Old Dog Class of 1980

September 4th, 2012
7:32 am

“And folks lets be honest here. We could have scored 60 ”

If we “could have scored 60″ then why didn’t we? Did we “take our foot off the gas” as so many have criticized for in the past? If we were so far ahead, why not take Murray out and give the second string QB some experience? (I am SURE it has nothing to do with padding Murray’s stats). These are legitimate questions!

Craig

September 4th, 2012
7:33 am

9-3 at best….likely 8-4. Another disappointing season that did not come close to expectations. Contract extentions in place, we are back to being UGA. I am disgusted after watching this team against a team that was 3-8 last year. What a bunch of crap.

Burma Shave

September 4th, 2012
8:15 am

The first game was bad
But it’s going to get worse
After Missouri
You’ll hear Mark Richt curse

BURMA SHAVE

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
8:18 am

Old Dog. We Didn’t score 60 for two reasons.

1. We had a couple of young players drop TDs.

2. We ran about a half dozen plays on offense.

Those are legitamate answers.

Mobile Dawg

September 4th, 2012
8:33 am

I was making one point in particular, that Richt told the media the Dawgs were ready to play before the game, we wrapped up preparations early, and at the half he was clearly frustrated and said we’re just not getting it done. Is it his fault, can’t answer that but we seem to consistently “not” be prepared to play “mentally”.

Another point and this mentions the defense, it seems like every year something that’s supposed to be a strength we can build around turns into a weakness. Now that’s not to say the D won’t show up, they just seemed to have underestimated Buffalo.

Specifically we were supposed to dismantle Buffalo, and get our subs some quality playing time. I honestly didn’t sit down and watch the game, it was hit or miss for me.

I thought Gurley looked great, hope he can repeat his performance against the big boys.

FLA DAWG

September 4th, 2012
8:48 am

I repeat I’ve been one of Richt and Bobo’s biggest critics over the past three or four years but I want to say this was the best performance in a season opener in three years in my opinion.

Despite the mistakes (expected in an opener) the boys played more like a team in this opener than against Michigan. They executed well most of the time and even the playcalling was largely good.

The first real test will be in four short days from now. Mizzou will be ready to play. Forget the lopsided talent on our side……..Mizzou is a smashmouth football team and if we don’t play well they will beat us.

I saw enough positive things in the Buffalo game to renew my hope that Richt has finally turned this around – or at least has begun to do so.

Let’s hold off and see what happens Sat nite………………….

GO DAWGS !

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
9:07 am

I think when you see the replay, you will find that absent the “emotions” it wasn’t anything close to embarrassing or disgusted as some (others) have said.

The offense looked prepared, the SP looked good. I’d say its a tad early to declare the defense as “a weakness”.

Lets consider this. Grantham made them play the entire game in as basic of a scheme as they have. The very few times they ever blitzed, they blew up the other guys. I know we fans wanted to dismantle somebody, and Honestly I think It Grantham had really tried to do that, if that were the goal, he could have done a LOT of things to that end. But I think he purposely was playing it vanilla to force his defensive backfield to get more experience.

That not to say his guys didn’t take a while to get with the program. And I am sure he will address that. D-linemen are some big guys, I am sure the heat, the less than exciting opponents, came into play.

What I like was that they DID adjust and shut them out in the second half. I’d rather know they can do that. IMO, the defense’s problem last year was they came out all fired up, and wained late in the game.

Basically, it came down to 2 series that our defense was lax, and that got corrected. Other than that, it was a very typical expected, lesser opponent 12:30, hotter than hell, opening game, easy win. Pretty solid game. Not spectacular, not overly “impressive”. But, I thought all the big questions going in, got answered.

zbulldawg

September 4th, 2012
9:09 am

I’m tired of this so called fans blog & their followers shooting down UGA !! LET THE BIG DAWG EAT

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
9:17 am

I would agree with Fla Dawg. In some of the past openers, we saw busted plays and a lot of penalties. This was fairly clean as far as openers. How long has it been since the complaints were simply the, “we didn’t impress the guys at ESPN” type and not about actual football plays? We have been told all summer how this was more of a workmanlike team, so not sure we were going to see any more than was required.

(and actually Mark May did brag on Gurley, so fwiw)

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
9:23 am

Somebody needs to inform the TV crew, that it’s Uga in the DawgHouse now, not Russ.

UGA Insider

September 4th, 2012
9:32 am

Did anyone see all of the empty seats at the UF game?

Our plant is in trouble folks.

AltamahaDawg

September 4th, 2012
9:45 am

So, you don’t think that transplanted yankee fanbase down there has quite embraced the true spirit of southern football?

Biggest Dawg

September 4th, 2012
10:30 am

So much for1]having the band miked2]more vendors in the stadium..never saw one and concessions ran out of ice…ever watch the weather channel?3]forget the singing of “hail” and can CRM get a team ready for the opener?

RHall55

September 4th, 2012
10:44 am

Updates on: 1) A Ogletree 2) B Rambo 3) K Houston 4) M Brown 5) M Mitchell 6) J Theus???????