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

ApopkaDawg

September 4th, 2012
11:03 am

I am sick and tired of hearing people write about Murray not being able to “trust” his offensive line. Granted we, like so many other team, have some holes at O-Line, but the guy is 5′11″ at best. HE CAN’T SEE OVER THE LINE!! Half of the sacks the guy suffered last year was because we had a HUGE line that he could’nt see over. He scrambles outside the pocket because he can’t see and ends up getting sacked. Now, I’m not saying this happens everytime, but it happens a lot. It happens enough that Mason, or one of the other QBs should get some serious looks. I admire the kids work ethic, but you can’t tell me he is the only one showing up early to study films. Look around the SEC. How many QBs do you see under 6 feet? And don’t tell me he is 6′1″. That is a bunch of game day program fiction. Last year when Carlton Thomas would enter the game, he would stand right next to Murray and there really wasn’t that much a a height difference. Thomas was one of the shortest guys we have ever had a UGA.

ApopkaDawg

September 4th, 2012
11:05 am

Ask youself this, “when was the last time Aaron Murray won a game for Georgia?” I’m not talking about doing what you can not to lose it. I’m talking David Green vs. UT type of win? Anything……me neither! I can name several times that he lost a game for UGA.

Thom

September 4th, 2012
11:54 am

Please Please CMR pull the red shirt and let Hutson play… Murry has had enough time…

hornblowermg

September 4th, 2012
11:59 am

again………………….HUTSON MASON, NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Doggie in NC

September 4th, 2012
2:03 pm

ApopkDawg-Thom_Hornblowermg (all one and the same) Uh, how about the Gator game last year – DUH! GO DOGGIES!

RC

September 4th, 2012
2:32 pm

Ok, hundreds of AP voters voted this weekend, and UGA is came in at No 7 in the nation.

So while Bill is low on Aaron Murray and UGA, apparently the rest of the country is high on both.

Let’s go UGA!

DAWGMAN

September 4th, 2012
2:41 pm

Hey Bartender! Mix up another batch of that Kool-Aid. I believe these folks are in another one of them ‘buying moods’.

BMOC

September 4th, 2012
4:13 pm

Simple: I’ve been saying this since Murray’s 1st sping game, when that LSU QB looked much better, but Murray got the starting nod. And who says Mark Richt doesn’t promise starting time for these recruits??? Yeah, right. Murray is an average QB. At best. It’s REALLY hard to win a NC or SEC Championship with an average QB.

BMOC

September 4th, 2012
4:14 pm

ApopkaDawg

10-4 that ApopkaDawg.

BMOC

September 4th, 2012
4:16 pm

hornblowermg

Yep, been saying that too for the last 2.5 yrs.

C from Marietta

September 4th, 2012
4:38 pm

When you use the following phrases:

Wearing rose colored glasses.
Drinking the Kool aid.

It tells me to cut down on the sports talk shows a little. Saying those phrases is NOT cool. It is really lame.

Gary

September 4th, 2012
4:40 pm

Wow, I am amazed at how many of you have been at practice with the Dawgs watching the reps. Your knowledge of Mason and his seemingly endless ability to out perform Murray makes me question our coaches judgement. I wonder what Bobo and Mark are not seeing that the rest of you are. Is there a special practice for bloggers that I am not aware of where I can sit down every day and watch this kid out perform the current starting QB. Is it just that Murray and Bobo have become friends and friendship comes ahead of winning in the SEC. I guess I just do not know as much about our quarterback situtation. I heard their was a newsletter some of you were getting that provides you with these amazing facts. Me I am going to trust a coach who spends all days with these kids and let him decide who starts.

Atlee "if I had a" Hammaker

September 4th, 2012
4:55 pm

Go Dawgs.
We’re gonna knock the fire out of Missu.
The East is ours to take.
We will beat Alabama or LSU.

Murray The Midget

September 4th, 2012
4:55 pm

Will you Georgia fans show me some love? I am the real deal!

Atlee "if I had a" Hammaker

September 4th, 2012
4:58 pm

Underrat us at numbar 7.
Coach Grantham will skeme our boys write this week.

ugab

September 4th, 2012
5:42 pm

I hope the dawgs were looking ahead. We were prcticing for Missouri 2 wks ago. Defense is going to be tested

ugab

September 4th, 2012
5:45 pm

I have no problem with Murray. He is the man for the job. His job would be alot easier with a consistant running game. The new backs missed a few blocks last game. Gurley got murray hit from behind one play. NOT SAFE.

Eldawg

September 4th, 2012
6:25 pm

How many of you guys want to see Murray be the starter next year if we were to win the East and lose in the SECC game again, or heaven forbid do worse? Uh huh. The pressure is on big time, more than people may realize. He’s got to deliver this year or it gets real messy.

DogMax

September 4th, 2012
8:42 pm

mark this down—murray lights it up big against the weak missouri secondary. Dogs 37 mu 13!

Concern Dawg

September 4th, 2012
8:48 pm

Mark Richt has not won a big game in 5 years.I am a Dawg fan,but i see Georgia losing to Missouri

NC_Dawg

September 4th, 2012
10:31 pm

Not a lot of people bashing Bobo this week. I thought he called a pretty good game offensively. Murray needs to stop trying to throw the deep ball on every possesion.

I was way more disappointed with the lack of effort from our defense. They looked lethargic at times. Branden Smith looks like he’s afraid to tackle. He literally watched a guy run by without even attempting to tackle him, just waiting for someone else to do it. I hope the Defense shows up with some attitude this week.

bubba4dawgs

September 5th, 2012
6:35 am

Murray will settle down! He probably had the first game jitters like many others. The team wants to play well and did settle down a lot during the second half. I don’t see how any of them played well in all the heat. The offense obviously could score rather quickly which doesn’t give the defense much time to rest between possessions. I don’t believe that will make as much difference when the weather cools off. I imagine the defense look forward to cooler days.

The offense should keep Mizzou’s offense on their bench and show them what “old man” football is all about. Don’t make this game a shootout. Franklin needs to know what the bench feels like. Rotating all the backs will keep fresh legs eating up the clock.

I think Murray is trying to avoid interceptions. He threw several passes long to avoid interceptions. If he underthrows, he’s more apt to cause an interception. He’ll settle down and start hitting his targets on the money. GO DAWGS!!

F. Mwila

September 5th, 2012
7:45 am

Murray will soon enter that great pantheon of players who “had potential, but never fulfilled it.”

The truth be told, Murray is a so-so QB playing on a so-so team. He might have had limited success at a lower devision school, but he’s most assuredly not an FBS QB, bless his heart, and most fans recognize that fact.

He may be good enough to play arena football for a season or two, but the NFL is really quite beyond his limited talent.

s7Dog

September 5th, 2012
9:04 am

Relax–Ga wins this game easy. Missouri can’t deal with SEC size and speed. The Dog D will put a good beatdown on their offense. Dogs roll by 20.

BenzDawg

September 5th, 2012
9:34 am

Look here folks.

Aaron Murray threw for 257 yards, 3 td’s, 0 int’s, 0 fumbles.

Murray finished with a 179 passing rating (higher than ESPN mancrush Matt Barkeley).

Murray is currently ranked in the top 20 QB’s in the country in passing rating.

Educate yoursaelves and you won’t look uninformed.

Dawg

September 5th, 2012
10:11 am

It’s sad to see so many people come on here and start bashing the coaches and players from the 1st game of the year. Did Bama look more prepared? Sure…..but they also had to prepare for a top 10 opponent. Did Murray miss on a few throws? Sure, but is he supposed to be perfect all the time?

Did anybody else notice that the Dawgs only ran about 5 or 6 different plays on offense THE WHOLE GAME?? Did you notice that the defense rarely brought pressure? The game plan called for them to show as little as possible vs an overmatched opponent. Get a clue folks

Look, in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's one of Murray's off-target passes

September 5th, 2012
11:33 am

Murray is NFL scout team, maybe only arena football league. Any higher expectations are totally unrealistic. He’s not really very good, you know.

Spelling Bee

September 5th, 2012
11:36 am

“Educate yoursaelves…”

You can start by learning to spell. :-)

Craig

September 5th, 2012
1:03 pm

9-3 at best for this team. Murray is still the same…..no the Defense has taken a giant step backwards. Funny, now that everyone has a new contract we are back to being….well Georgia. I as a loyal fan and contributer to this program am disgusted at the showing against buffalo. I am sick of excuses…..nuff said

Ted

September 5th, 2012
1:08 pm

9-3 if we are really lucky. Most likly 8-4 (Missouri- we get blasted on national TV), Tennessee- (Derek gets his “signature” win against us of course), Carolina- (Murray will give this one away again probably) and either UF or AU (my guess is AU as we will make VanGourder and Will look great)

Dunwoody Tailgater

September 5th, 2012
1:52 pm

Bill E Rubin,

Ditto here. Bama put on a clinic. Saban was frustrated and yelling for a false start while up 24-0 in the first quarter. Richt NEVER gets as upset as Saban did for a false start. I don’t put blame on Murray, cause he is working hard and I hope he overthrows rather than underthrows. Instead, I blame coaches for NOT settling him down or NOT opening the position for competition from Mason.

We’re lucky Mason didn’t transfer to SC or another SEC East team. Then we wouldn’t have a shot at letting Mettenberger carve up our defense in the title game.

Dunwoody Tailgater

September 5th, 2012
2:00 pm

Dawg,

Did UGA’s “game plan” also include letting little Buffalo gain 347 total yards of offense including 200 on the ground? Perhaps the coaches said to only run 6 plays, but don’t worry about executing them well? It doesn’t bother you that Buffalo’s top rusher gained more yards (111) than Gurley?

Pago Pago DAWG

September 5th, 2012
8:32 pm

Actually TOLEDO has the youngest coach in football.
Is it possible that UGA will ne out coached?

ApopkaDawg

September 7th, 2012
10:31 am

BMOC:
10-4 what??? Are you trying to tell me that UGA went 10-4 on the back of Aaron Murray??? Give me a freakin break!! UGA went 10-4 last year b/c we finnally got rid of Willie “give up 30pts a game” Martinez and got a real D-Coordinator.