UGA’s walk-on QBs will be counted on as backups

Quarterback Greg Bingham, an invited walkon at UGA, was a four-year starter at Columbus High. (Special photo)

Quarterback Greg Bingham, an invited walkon at UGA, was a four-year starter at Columbus High. (Special photo)

The Logan Gray situation at UGA remained unresolved as of Monday. So whether he stays at Georgia or stays at quarterback has yet to be determined.

What is known is the Bulldogs will be precariously thin at the position whether Gray is a factor or not. If not, freshman signee Hutson Mason would be entering college as the No. 2 quarterback behind redshirt freshman Aaron Murray and one of two invited walkons would be the third option.

For the reality of how precarious that situation is we need to look back to Georgia’s 1977 season. The Bulldogs that year went through five quarterbacks. Starter Jeff Pyburn, then a sophomore, was lost to a knee injury in the Florida game. Chris Welton (broken leg) and Steve Rogers (separated shoulder) went down in the Auburn game the following week and Randy Cook broke a leg in the Georgia Tech game.

That left freshman Davey Sawyer to finish the Tech game — and the season — for the Bulldogs.

“Davey had played in the JV game against Tech just two days before on Thanksgiving Day,” recalled Ray Goff, then a graduate assistant coach for the Bulldogs. “It can get away from you in a hurry.”

Goff would encounter a similar dilemma years later as Georgia’s head coach. In 1995, he lost two quarterbacks — Mike Bobo (broken leg) and Brian Smith (separated shoulder) — and started six different tailbacks due to injuries. Hines Ward filled in in both situations, going from wide receiver to tailback to quarterback to help lead the Bulldogs to a bowl game.

So exactly who are the Bulldogs’ third and fourth options now? They are Greg Bingham of Columbus High and Parker Welch of Wayne County (Jesup).

Parker Welch (L) with Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. (Photo by press-sentinel.com)

Parker Welch (L) with Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. (Photo by thepress-sentinel.com)

Both quarterbacks are coming to UGA as invited walkons. And they are fully aware of the reality of the Bulldogs’ situation.

“Actually Coach [Joe] Tereshinski told me about that when I was up there at a scrimmage one day,” Bingham said of the ‘77 scenario. “He said they got down to like their fifth- or sixth-string quarterback. Amazing.”

Bingham appears the most ready should Georgia encounter such an emergency in 2010. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound signalcaller was a four-year starter at Columbus but had his junior and senior season impacted by injuries. He missed the first five games of his junior season with a broken foot and played his entire senior year with a high-ankle sprain. He managed just over 1,100 yards passing on a 2-8 team. Columbus has had only one winning season in the last decade.

“Georgia’s getting a steal,” said Brian Barnhill, Bingham’s coach at Columbus in 2008. “He’s got a great arm and he’s natural-born leader. He just didn’t have much around him and, consequently, stayed hurt all the time.”

Bingham had partial scholarship offers to Western Carolina and Pennsylvania’s LeHigh University but had already resigned himself to giving up football and attending UGA on an academic scholarship when Georgia assistants Mike Bobo and John Lilly offered him as an invited walkon earlier this spring.

“I got accepted early to Georgia, back in December, and just due to financial reasons and the availability of the Hope Scholarship, I had decided to get an education at Georgia as opposed to paying money to go out of state and play football,” Bingham said. “I wanted football to be a way to get into school for a full scholarship. Playing at LeHigh or Western Carolina just wasn’t possible financially. I was planning to go to Georgia anyway so I’m just thankful that Coach Bobo and Coach Lilly offered me this spot on the team as a walkon and I’m looking forward to getting up there this summer and working hard.”

Welch has a similar story. The 6-3 1/2, 220-pounder suffered a high-ankle sprain the second game of his senior season and did not play again until the last game of the year. Meanwhile, he was operating in a Wing-T offense. So, he “didn’t exactly have Hutson Mason-type stats,” as he said, when he played a full season on a 1-9 team as a junior.

Nevertheless, Welch had already accepted Georgia’s offer to walk on well before his senior season.

“I’ve known Coach Bobo for a while and he knew I’ve always wanted to go to Georgia,” Welch said. “I was at Dawg Night last summer and he said he liked what he saw and told me he could tell I’d gotten a lot better since the last time I was there. He said he was not able to offer me a scholarship at the time but they wanted me to come as a walkon. I knew right away that was what I was going to do.”

Both players will enroll at UGA with the rest of the incoming freshman on May 31st. And not that either player wouldn’t love the opportunity, but neither really wants to be in position to play in 2010.

Besides, nobody knows what Gray is going to do.

“To be honest, it’s really not anybody’s business but Coach Richt and the rest of the staff,” Welch said of Gray. “I don’t think people realize how good he is. He’s really good. He just hasn’t gotten his opportunity yet. But he can play; you can really see it in practice. And Aaron Murray, he’s really good, too. He’s just a really hard worker. Nobody’s going to study harder or work harder than Aaron. So the quarterback situation is definitely in good hands.”

For now at least.

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135 comments Add your comment

Josh

May 10th, 2010
2:37 pm

Who cares about 1st?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

May 10th, 2010
2:40 pm

hopefully those previous scenarios will not occur. here’s praying for a healthy team this year!!

TuckDAWG

May 10th, 2010
2:48 pm

Still very nervous but lets go DAWGS lead us to victory Aarron GATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where's The True Inside Info?

May 10th, 2010
2:54 pm

Wow! There got to be better stories out there than this!

GADAWG

May 10th, 2010
2:58 pm

Where did this guy get his info. the Welch kid has to be at least 6′4 225 lbs.
Watched him throw at a combine last summer and he has a rocket for a arm.

kauai dawg

May 10th, 2010
3:01 pm

Very little room for error???? Go DAWGS! and still 30-24

go dawgs

May 10th, 2010
3:04 pm

Sign Ricky cochran from Madison – He still has 1 yr of eligibility!!

Smitty

May 10th, 2010
3:06 pm

We have 2 Elite 11 QB’s and a Parade All-American back there at QB, the best QB rio in the SEC. Gray hasn’t announced he’s going anywhere. How many time in Richt’s time at Georgia did 2 QB’s suffer season ending injuries? Florida will be in a world of trouble if they’re starting QB gets hurt. Tebow ran harder than any QB in the SEC and proved durable. If Tebow stayed pretty much injury clean, then Georgia will too.

Smitty

May 10th, 2010
3:07 pm

If Gray transfers, Richt has long list of QB’s who are standing in line to transfer to Georgia, so it will be fine folks.

JB

May 10th, 2010
3:11 pm

The picture is of Bingham, not Welch…….

DAWGS WIN SEC IN 2010

May 10th, 2010
3:13 pm

I enjoyed the article!! Good stuff Chip!

EW

May 10th, 2010
3:13 pm

Smitty, you’re a little all over the place there, not quite following you..did you have a point?

Know this fellow dawg fans..Aaron will start and we’re in trouble if he gets hurt. Damn Mettenberger and his wandering, grabby, hands…

GADAWG

May 10th, 2010
3:14 pm

Welch was listed as one of the top Elite 11 QB’s at the Orlando combine last summer per ESPN.

SILLY UGA FANS

May 10th, 2010
3:14 pm

Smitty,
Are you serious? Just because Tebow stayed healthy does not mean that any other QB could not get hurt during a season. I don’t doubt that other QB’s would want to transfer to UGA, but that in no way helps you for this year since they would have to sit out a season.

harold

May 10th, 2010
3:16 pm

GEORGIA HAS DIGRESSED TO AN AVERAGE PROGRAM AT BEST UNDER RICHT.ALABAMA AND FLORIDA ARE CHAMPIONSHIP PROGRAMS. AUBURN AND LSU ARE COMING ON VERY STRONG.SABAN AND MEYER AND ALABAMA & FLORIDA ARE CHAMPIONSHIP CALIBUR SCHOOLS. GEORGIA IS AVERAGE NOW!

EW

May 10th, 2010
3:18 pm

harold…LSU coming on strong??? funny, I thought they were in more of a downslide since winning a NC….hmmmm..oh and take off caps lock.

EW

May 10th, 2010
3:19 pm

Auburn coming on strong too?? now I know you’re nuts harold..new coach, new offense, laptop stealing QB who has sat out a year..if UGA is regressing and AU is coming on strong, I’ll take regressing anyday.

Widespread Dawg

May 10th, 2010
3:21 pm

I feel like we are slipping into the 80’s and 90’s run of “great talent but no real QB” where the names of Wayne Johnson, Preston Jones, Greg Tally, etc…ran the team to 6-8 wins. Richt and Bobo must re-invent themeselves with the talent they do or don’t have.

Yodelers Unite

May 10th, 2010
3:21 pm

Florida doesn’t have a good back up QB? The Gators are in shambles, will be the worst season in Urban Meyer’s histry as a head coach.

Smitty

May 10th, 2010
3:24 pm

UGA’s down to only 2 Elite QB’s and the 3rd QB is a Parade All-American. The best QB trio in the SEC. What a tough situation.

Smitty

May 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

None of the UGA QB’s will take harder hits than Tebow, Tebow stayed healthy and he was pummeled like a horse, so UGA will be more than fine.

Yodeler's Unite

May 10th, 2010
3:29 pm

Imagine if Mallet’s foot isn’t the same? Or if Garcia goes down? Or if Alabama’s 2 QB’s go down to season ending injuries. Or Florida has 2 season ending injuries at QB. Or if Newton goes down at Auburn, what if LSU loses 2 QB’s to season ending injuries?

LOOKING TO 2010...

May 10th, 2010
3:30 pm

Always someone int he wings ready to step up. Enough preparation and those two could contribute if needed. Gray needs to do what’s best for him and the sooner he decides the better.

EW

May 10th, 2010
3:38 pm

Smitty, QB’s are measured by their on the field performance…IN COLLEGE, not in HIGH SCHOOL….

Is it nice to have highly recruited people on the roster? sure it is…does it translate to on the field success..not always…and if you watched the spring game, Gray looks like a lost, scrambling puppy…and that won’t cut it in the SEC…he needs to play some WR to give Murray more weapons and more depth at WR

Big Dog

May 10th, 2010
3:38 pm

UGA is coming on strong! Give me a break the O-LINE sucks.A 500 team at best!

Ran

May 10th, 2010
3:38 pm

Coach Richt has a back up plan if Logan transfers. He has a huge pile of guys waiting to be next in line to transfer to Georgia and Logan will be replaced with a transfer in less than 24 hours if that happens.

1eyedJack

May 10th, 2010
3:39 pm

It is absolutely amazing how the foibles of one drunken octopus can put one population of adults into panic mode and another population of adults into euphoria. All we can do is trust in divine providence….and hold our mouths right.

EW

May 10th, 2010
3:41 pm

Smitty, those hits that Tebow took would have knocked out just about any QB in the country…and he’s built like a linebacker…

Sadly I feel like I’ve let you (Smitty) drag me down to your level of idiocy and beat me with experience…not that you even know what that meant…

WTF

May 10th, 2010
3:41 pm

Steve Rogers played for UGA in ‘77? CAPTAIN AMERICA WAS A BULLDOG?

30-24 Dawgs - WE RUN THIS STATE!

May 10th, 2010
3:42 pm

Looking forward to beating tech AGAIN, making it 9 out of 10. Whether it’s Aaron Murray (the player Colt McCoy describes as the best QB he has ever seen), Mason, or a walk-on the Dawgs will run it down straight tech’s throat as they did last season for 330+ yards in the convincing 30-24 victory by UGA!

Smitty

May 10th, 2010
3:42 pm

Anyone know how many passes Florida’s new starting QB has in 3 years of college at Florida? And how many of those were against SEC teams? Has Brantley ever started a game at Florida in 3 years?

CONFEDERATE DAWG

May 10th, 2010
3:43 pm

I MISS DJ SHOCK!

PUT THEM GAYTORS IN THE DIRT!

Smitty

May 10th, 2010
3:44 pm

Aaron Murray is in terrific game ready shape. So is Logan. If Tebow could take a hit, they’ll be able to.

gdawginkalamazoo

May 10th, 2010
3:48 pm

I remember that 77′ season. Went through more QB’s than Spinal Tap went through drummers.

Ran

May 10th, 2010
3:49 pm

The 2 walk-ons must be pretty solid if Richt and Bobo invited them. looking forward to a great season.

Stinger

May 10th, 2010
4:01 pm

Long Long season for you mutts.

gdawginkalamazoo

May 10th, 2010
4:12 pm

Stinger, yes we will have a big target on our back being ACC Champs and all.

animal

May 10th, 2010
4:15 pm

If Tebow can take a lick, we will win the NC. Dawgs are great. Who needs a QB, anyway? We always said Tebow wasn’t really one, and UF didn’t do too bad with him. We are so loaded. We will win every game.

midtown

May 10th, 2010
4:17 pm

Smitty,
If you think Georgia has the best trio of QB in SEC, you my friend are smoking something.
And before you start you answer, just look to Tuscaloosa.

midtown

May 10th, 2010
4:21 pm

Looking to 2010,
If there is always someone in the wings waiting for their chance, why did they not go to
them last year. QB play last year, BAD.

dog guy

May 10th, 2010
4:22 pm

I am beginning to feel like General Custer knowing there is not a lot of good ways out of this.

LHardingDawg

May 10th, 2010
4:27 pm

Greg is 6′-4″ and wieghts 230 lbs. He also has over a 4.0 GPA. If anyone can learn the play book, he can. He is also a great kid and a fierce competitor. He’ll do well at Georgia, whether he is playing QB or holding for the FG kicker.

like a Fox

May 10th, 2010
4:36 pm

italian_29

May 10th, 2010
4:38 pm

I am a HUGE Dawg Fan, but some of you guys are delusional! I don’t know what you are smoking, when you say that the Dawgs will win the NC, but I would like some, it must be BAD AZZ!!!!! No wonder fans from other teams make fun of us as kool-aid drinkers. I predict a 10-3 record, without major injuries, and 8-5 with a major injury and that is only because we have a pretty easy schedule.

UGA Haters make me proud...

May 10th, 2010
4:38 pm

to a Georgia Bulldog Fan!!!!

Pope UGA XXIII

May 10th, 2010
4:41 pm

Somebody needs to tie “Whatever” to the back of a MARTA
bus, then drag him up & down Peachtree Road.
Not a very funny post

Georgia Tech For Like

May 10th, 2010
4:43 pm

GEORGIA TECH WILL RUB GEORGIAS NOSE IN THE GROUND THIS YEAR…..BANK ON IT!!!

Georgia Tech For Like

May 10th, 2010
4:45 pm

ITALIAN=THE ONLY REALISTIC UGA FAN IN GEORGIA….NICE POST

AceDawg

May 10th, 2010
4:52 pm

You never know, but let’s hope Murray can stay healthy. The O-line better know what’s at stake if they don’t do their job blocking.

Chip Towers

May 10th, 2010
4:53 pm

Let’s keep it clean and civil, folks.