Is it time for UGA to take the redshirt off Aaron Murray?

Aaron Murray: Wearing a green shirt, still a redshirt. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Aaron Murray: Wearing a green shirt, still a redshirt. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

This is a tough one. You’re Georgia. You’re halfway into a season that doesn’t figure to get a whole lot better anytime soon. You haven’t yet played Aaron Murray, the highly regarded freshman quarterback. Do you now?

Point: If you do, you cost yourself half a year of Murray’s services. If he plays now, he can at most play 3 1/2 seasons.

Counterpoint: If you don’t, there’s no guarantee Murray plays four full seasons anyway. If he turns out to be really good, he might well leave for the NFL after the 2011 season. (Players can declare for the draft three years out of high school. Doesn’t matter if they redshirt or not. Ask the same Georgia coaches who decided to sit Knowshon Moreno in 2006.)

Point: Almost every other freshman of consequence has played already — Orson Charles, Branden Smith, Rantavious Wooten, Washaun Ealey, Marlon Brown. If you’re going to recruit big-timers, you might as well play them. That’s the Pete Carroll Way.

Counterpoint: Murray isn’t even No. 2 on the depth chart. He’s No. 3 behind Joe Cox and Logan Gray, and Gray has scarcely taken a snap. Doesn’t Georgia have to see if Gray, himself only a redshirt sophomore, is its quarterback of the future before it decides Murray is the quarterback of the future?

Point: Gray seems more a running quarterback. Georgia really hasn’t had a running quarterback since James Jackson in the mid-’80s. And Georgia doesn’t run the spread. Murray, who’s a better passer, would appear the better long-term fit.

Counterpoint: Do you really want to throw a true freshman into the fray when the offense is already circling the drain?

Should Georgia play Aaron Murray in 2009?

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Point: Cox is a fifth-year senior. He won’t be here next season. And Georgia would have to upset Florida or Georgia Tech to finish 8-4 this season.

Counterpoint: Georgia was 4-4 in 2006 facing games against ranked opponents Auburn and Tech. It beat both, beat Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and lit the fuse for an 11-2 season in 2007.

Clincher: Even as it was struggling in 2006, Georgia had already committed to going with true freshman Matthew Stafford. He suffered some reversals — in the loss at Kentucky, he threw interceptions from the Georgia 2-yard-line and the Kentucky 1 on consecutive series — but he learned.

Conclusion: I wouldn’t start Murray ahead of Joe Cox, but I’d bump him above Gray and give him some snaps. Murray is the future. With one more loss, the future officially begins.

312 comments Add your comment

Ostrich Racer

October 13th, 2009
8:14 am

If he’s as good as we hope, he won’t be around as a senior, anyway. If he’s not, he won’t be playing as a senior. Let’s see what he can do.

Chef montuer

October 13th, 2009
8:21 am

Who cares. Dogs need to clean house. New coordinators on both sides. If Richt wil not replace them at the end of the year then he should be fired.

elderdawg

October 13th, 2009
8:23 am

Murray is listed at 6′1″ which means the NFL would measure him at 6′0″. Never has a 6′ quarterback come out after three years, and been drafted in one of the top rounds. Murray is at UGA for 4 (or 5 years). Bet on it!

Jamaaliver

October 13th, 2009
8:24 am

Open up the offense and give Gray a shot. Design a spread option specifically for him and catch some opponents off guard.

Murray can wait a few months for his grand unveiling.

Chaz

October 13th, 2009
8:24 am

Richt has to step up and make some coaching changes….that’s the job of a head coach. I believe he will. I’d like to see Ron Zook in charge of the special teams (if he is cut loose from Illinois), which have been sub-par for years. He’s a great recruiter too.

hatfieldgeoff

October 13th, 2009
8:24 am

I wouldn’t play him. Murray size makes it very unlikely that he will turn pro early. Not saying he can’t play in the NFL but at his size he won’t generate the interest from pro GMs to warrant a first round selection. He would stay 4 years rather than be a low round pick. The real question is which freshman is going to be the real deal, Murray or Mettenberger. That’s what coach Richt needs to be deciding now because whoever comes in 2nd is likely going to transfer.

We need hope

October 13th, 2009
8:24 am

Georgia fans need hope. Even if Cox does improve we will have a QB with little experience next year. I say get Murray a lot of work in even if he struggles some this year. The team and its fans need hope for the future.

Steve

October 13th, 2009
8:28 am

This years goasl of winning the East are gone.I think we should play Gray every down of every game left to get ready for next year.GOOOOOOOOOOOOO DAWGSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!

hop

October 13th, 2009
8:29 am

IT is high time to check gray and murray out to see if they can play.listening to coach richt last night it appears little chance that will happen.
georgia is going to play joe cox and we will be stuck with another year of playing an inexperience qb.

joe cox has been at best a mixed bag

RedandBlack

October 13th, 2009
8:30 am

Logan Gray needs to start at Vanderbilt. If Gray does not cut it, then Murray needs to be in there ASAP. The Dogs can not be trying out a new QB at the start of next season. That will be too late for 2010. Next year starts right now.

Finish the Drill, Coach Richt, or hit the road.

Saint Crompton

October 13th, 2009
8:31 am

((((( 45 19 )))))

((((( Crompton for Heisman )))))

hahahahahahahahahaha

GeoffDawg

October 13th, 2009
8:32 am

I echo some of the previous posts – It’s unlikely Murray’s leaving early given his height. Also, doesn’t he supposedly have a bum shoulder this year? I’d much rather give him the time off to heal completely and not risk making it a chronic condition.

Logan Gray

October 13th, 2009
8:33 am

I’m an excellent passer. My dad let me pass slow on the driveway every Sunday, but never on a Monday. Never on a Monday.

Top Dawg

October 13th, 2009
8:33 am

I think the needed changes are more fundamental than whether we have a flashy quarterback playing. Until we address those issues, this is a discussion (re. Murray or whatever players we may insert into the rotation) about rearranging chairs on a sinking ship.

William

October 13th, 2009
8:33 am

Well, look at the winning programs. They mostly have QB’s who are a threat to run with the ball. Not UGA! Stay in that pocket because we are going to train you for the NFL. Yep with good receivers you can win a few games but to reach that National lever you must have a mobile QB or QB who can roll out or run. NOPE NOT UGA! Well, I will turn my attention to the pros and I tired of overpaid losers! HOW ‘BOUT THEM FALCONS!!

mike

October 13th, 2009
8:35 am

The coaches know when these guys are ready. There are many things to consider before throwing a youngster to the wolves. If Murray was ready at all, he wouldn’t be #3 on the chart.

Zach Mettenberger

October 13th, 2009
8:35 am

What am I, chopped pimiento loaf? Did I mention my mom works in the athletic department?

Mark Bradley

October 13th, 2009
8:35 am

The same coaches who decided Knowshon wasn’t ready in 2006?

Paul H

October 13th, 2009
8:36 am

We have nothing to lose by taking the red shirt off Murray. It would be good to get him some snaps which would better prepare him for next season. However, our problem isn’t at QB.

SimpleDawg

October 13th, 2009
8:36 am

I realize that college coaches recruit players to fit a certain system….

But, once you see that your system doesn’t fit what your players’ talents are, a good coach goes to a system that fits the players, or at least, makes some alterations to the scheme.

Do we have anyone capable of..#1 – properly recognizing and assessing the situation…. #2 – having the knowledge and flexibility to make the required change….and #3 possessing the stones to make the decision?

Answer – I say no, no, and hell no.

God help us…..oh, someone already tried that?

We’re doomed.

collegeballfan

October 13th, 2009
8:36 am

You play the guy that best fits your system. If its Murray, then its Murray.
Question: why did UGA even offer Gray if he is not a fit for their offense? Was that a wasted scholarship?

Is this season over? NO! There is no one on Georgia’s schedule they are not capable of beating. A 9 – 3 season is really possible.

Josh M

October 13th, 2009
8:39 am

The time to play him was halfway through the LSU game, when it was obvious Cox was severely lacking. THAT would have made sense. Now, it’s way too late. Take your losses now, and get Murray ready for next year.

F-105 Thunderchief

October 13th, 2009
8:39 am

I agree with making Ron Zook the special teams coach. And, while he’s at it, Richt should hire Bob Stoops to be defensive coordinator and Steve Spurrier as offensive coordinator.

Josh M

October 13th, 2009
8:40 am

“A 9 – 3 season is really possible.”

It’s not wise to do drugs so early in the day.

Chains

October 13th, 2009
8:40 am

There was a reason Joe Cox was not the starter last season or any other season prior……He’s just not a solid QB…not at the SEC level….should have played division 2 he would have done much better…..

Dillusional Dawg

October 13th, 2009
8:43 am

Hey fellas, we’re really not even out of this thing yet. I know we’re on track to take a less than conventional road, but we’re not out yet! All we have to do is win out! If we beat #1 ranked Florida, whatever ranked GT & Auburn, and then #1 ranked Alabama in the SECCG, then we’ll have to get some consideration for the national championship.

GO DAWGS!

j

October 13th, 2009
8:45 am

Was that Manning playing on Saturday? UGAY is pathetic!

1eyedJack

October 13th, 2009
8:45 am

Desperate times call for desperate measures. About the only way you have a chance to beat FL next year is to play Murray now, but even if you do play him a few games this year he still won’t have as much experience as Brantly who will be a red shirt junior. So that means GA will have to wait until 2012 (when Brantly graduates) until they have a chance to win in Jax. All I know for certain is that it is great to be a FL gator. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, the gator don’t take no jive.

j

October 13th, 2009
8:46 am

Dillusional Dawg – You are the reason everyone hates UGA. Fans like you do not belong in copllege football. Get a life! Yeah, UGAY in the NC.

GeoffDawg

October 13th, 2009
8:47 am

It’s happy hour somewhere collegeballfan.

RAMBLE ON!!!

October 13th, 2009
8:47 am

He could be a bust like all the other 5 star bust.

wasn’t Caleb the next Herschel?

GeoffDawg

October 13th, 2009
8:49 am

Chains – another good reason might be that the #1 NFL draft pick was also on the roster. I don’t have many issues with Cox other than his penchant for locking into receivers too fast. With some more game experience, that may get resolved. Too late to save this season but that’s just a big ole “whatcha gonna do?”

longDawg

October 13th, 2009
8:50 am

All I can say is we want be hurting joe cox he is not going to play on sundays, Lets get started on next year now with logan and see if he is the man or not rather than getting to this point next year and then put murray in then and find out that he is not the man either I also agree that several coaches need to go hopefully to a team we will play. UGA is close to being a real cluster F*ck if no changes are made

I think we saw against UT...

October 13th, 2009
8:51 am

… why Logan Gray is not playing – so CMR may as well pull the ’shirt off of either Aaron or Zach and get them ready for the next three years.

Paul H

October 13th, 2009
8:51 am

Arguing over who should be our QB right now is like arguing over what song the band should play on the Titanic. There are bigger issues that need to be addressed.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

October 13th, 2009
8:51 am

Unfortunately I say make no moves at Quarterback. We need wins and right now Cox provides us with the best chance (yes inser laughter here). We cannot afford w/ morale and recruiting to take the chance w/ Grey or Murray to drop these upcoming games. Now the schedule gets brutal and it cannot be risked. The program is in dangerous water right now and it cannot be trusted to a true freshman and a redshirt sophomore. I am not saying its the perfect scenario, but its the best we got.

GeoffDawg

October 13th, 2009
8:52 am

Saying anyone’s the next Herschel is like saying tech’s as good as ‘95 Nebraska. Not many people would be that ridiculous.

RedKneckerson

October 13th, 2009
8:52 am

Whoa, Whoa there fellas. Hold on a second while I close the gate. (The cows and horses just got out)

F-105 Thunderchief

October 13th, 2009
8:57 am

Rex Ryan’s brother for defensive coordinator!

ChunkSheed

October 13th, 2009
8:58 am

MB-

First of all, if you listened to Richt’s call in show last night you pretty much would have got the message that NOBODY is going to play any significant time this year other than Cox.

Secondly, who’s to say Murray won’t slip into the blue-chip recruit hole that every other position player seems to do when they go to UGA?

rolling_in_coleslaw

October 13th, 2009
9:01 am

I have no faith whoever our QB will be in 2010. Next year will be just as bad or worse as 09 season.

Go Dawgs

October 13th, 2009
9:04 am

we’ll beat Florida and all will be well!!!

Paul Johnson is your Daddy

October 13th, 2009
9:05 am

It doesn’t matter who starts at QB behind that pitiful O line and with those sorry running backs behind them. You guys suck.

Go Dawgs

October 13th, 2009
9:05 am

also, I think our O-line needs to get better or it really isn’t gonna matter who the QB is.

PMC

October 13th, 2009
9:06 am

No, Aaron Murray is not a picture of health and Joe Cox still gives you the best chance to win. The problem is mostly that the offensive line can’t block anybody more than it is the decisions of the QB. Logan Gray is the next option and he’s not good enough to start at QB. Joe Cox has proven with time he’s able to make good reads and score the ball. Aaron Murray is not getting any thing out of this year other than getting beat up. Stick with Cox, improve the blocking, get something out of the scholarshipped running backs and salvage the freaking year. Go ruin Florida’s perfect season and go beat Tech at home. That’s what you’re playing for.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

October 13th, 2009
9:07 am

Keep the red shirt on Murray, He’s here for four years and we’ve already lost 6 games that he could have possibly helped in. Keep him running the scout team, let him learn against Willie’s defense, that way he’ll stay healthy and get his confidence up. Ask Crompton what a dose of Willie’s D will do for your ego

Mark Bradley

October 13th, 2009
9:07 am

Actually, the offensive line has pass-blocked much better than it has run-blocked.

Larvell "SugarBear" Blanks

October 13th, 2009
9:08 am

MB,

Good Point-Counterpoints! If anyone things CMR is going to make a change in his staff in the middle of the season then they aren’t cooking on all four burners. However, based on what you just wrote and what D Evans said “Changes are definitely coming”…..I maybe alone in saying this but I believe CMR maybe starting to see the light and see that if changes aren’t made before the start of next season then he’ll be the one updating is resume.

Oh and one last thing…..Ron Zook is quite an interesting choice!! I LIKE IT! My wonder is would he come to UGA after being a HC at Florida. The guy can recruit like no other coach alive! And he would provide that “fire” to CMR’s “ice” personality! I am really intrigued by this!

DawgGirl32

October 13th, 2009
9:08 am

Joe Cox is not the problem. The run game is. I think that’s far more important right now. I definitely don’t think Murray should be the starter, but I do wonder if it would be wise to take off the redshirt and let him play the Tenn Tech game and some snaps during some other games. I don’t know if you watched the same game I did on Saturday but Logan Gray isn’t the answer.

Mark Bradley

October 13th, 2009
9:09 am

Last I checked, recruiting wasn’t Georgia’s major issue. That’s if you believe the recruiting ratings.