Murray and Mettenberger spring into action

   Athens — As their former classmates complete their final semester of high school, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger are immersed in their first semester as college students — and their first spring as college football quarterbacks.

  By all accounts, they are doing fine in spring practice with Georgia, showing flashes of the skills that earned them prep accolades and college scholarships.

   “Both of those guys have had their moments this spring,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “But most of all with those two young guys, I’m impressed with their composure, coming out to practice and not really being rattled when they should be in high school.”

   They graduated from high school one semester early — Murray from Tampa’s Plant High and Mettenberger from Oconee County High — and enrolled at UGA in January. That made them eligible for spring practice.

   “They may not know what they’re doing yet,” Bobo said, “but they’re stepping in there and taking charge, showing leadership and doing a nice job.”

  Speaking of not-knowing-what-they’re-doing-yet: Senior quarterback Joe Cox didn’t want the young guys to feel bad about that.

   So a few days ago he pulled out a film of a Georgia scrimmage from spring practice 2006.

   “You want to see something funny?” he asked Murray and Mettenberger.

   Then the three of them watched the ‘06 scrimmage in which Matthew Stafford, a  freshman who had been on campus all of two months, and Cox, a redshirt freshman who had never played in a college game, struggled colossally.

   “We … got a good laugh out of it,” Cox said.

   Cox and Stafford, Cox recalled, “had no idea what to do” in that scrimmage.

   “Joe knows what those guys are going through,” said Bobo, who walked into the meeting room as Cox was sharing the film with Murray and Mettenberger. “He was telling them, ‘Guys, we all go through this.’”

   That’s one of many things the Georgia coaches appreciate about Cox, who has validated his status as the Bulldogs’ No. 1 quarterback this spring. (For more on that, see this.) Logan Gray – I’ll have a story on him in Sunday’s paper — is No. 2 on the QB depth chart, followed by the two freshmen.

   The more time Murray and Mettenberger spend with Cox, the better, as far as Bobo is concerned. “He knows exactly how it’s done, and he’s a master technician,” Bobo said of Cox. “I think that’s why he’s going to be successful, because he’s fundamentally sound. He’s a good guy for those guys to watch.”

  And Bobo, of course, is closely watching Murray and Mettenberger – pushing them to improve their footwork and everything else; putting constant pressure on them and gauging their responses.

   “Right now, I’m not really judging them on, ‘Will this guy be ready to help us in the fall or not?’” Bobo said. “Right now, I know their heads are spinning, and I just want them out there with a good attitude every day, competing. And they’ve done it.”

   So how do you feel about Georgia’s quarterbacks, present and future?

 

59 comments Add your comment

Columbus Dawg

April 2nd, 2009
6:57 am

After reading T.B.’s article, I can only hope that our coaching staff has learned something about teaching toughness, both mental and physical, but it seems that every time you read about the previous day’s practice it is about “shorts and shells.” If a coach is not happy with a scrimmage, that they would be back out there at first opportunity banging heads and correcting the mistakes. I would agree with the blogger on Tony’s blog that Mark Richt could learn a lot about coaching toughness from the likes of CUM and CNS. Those two are not in it to be friends with the players, or anything other than getting everything they can out of the players. Bama was not very deep last year, but the number 1’s knew this and until they lost Smith, the OL played very, very well even though they knew they did not have the backups. It seems that the only coach we have with this position on coaching is Searels, who played for Dye, and was coached in this manner. Richt stated before spring drills began that he and CWM were going to have to be honest with themselves about where the pressure was going to come from given the problems at DE. That and whether or not Sturdivant and Owens return to form will be BIG. Softness can not win the SEC. Dye questioned the toughness of our 2002 team, and our team responded. That has to return to the UGA football team if we are to be successful going forward.

Jeff

April 2nd, 2009
7:07 am

Presently, I am very comfortable with Joe Cox. Very close to the same situation as the 05 Dawgs with Shockley. The only difference is that Shockley had a lot more game experience in subbing with Greene through his career. It will be nice to have a senior under center though. If Cox goes down we are in some trouble. He will have a lot of weapons at his disposal, and hopefully he will have a healthy line in front of him.

In the future, who knows? It looks good, but who knows. It is a very good sign that both of these guys enrolled early. They will be way ahead in 2010 after a red-shirt year. I would say that we are in good hands.

David

April 2nd, 2009
7:12 am

And DJ had a lot better arm and was a much better runner.

JB

April 2nd, 2009
7:48 am

9-3 this year…..The 9 wins will be the natural athletic talent of the players, the 3 loses will be coaching.
We are going to have to learn to go to Jacksonville to win, not hope we win. We need some WWF slobber knocking SOB’s on defense who people fear. Scheme will not beat the Gators.

GeoffDawg

April 2nd, 2009
8:15 am

And when DJ subbed for Greene, he usually stunk it up. It wasn’t until his senior season that he really came into his own. From the limited playing time we’ve seen with Cox, we already know he can be successful in real game speed situations.

Mikey

April 2nd, 2009
8:36 am

We need to get someone in the backfield that can consistently block or Joe Cox WILL get hurt.

Anthony Grant fan

April 2nd, 2009
8:54 am

Damon Evans has messed up the basketball coach search. The college basketball world is laughing at him. He is incompetent. We all know why no one in the media will take him to task about it.

dap01

April 2nd, 2009
9:11 am

That search firm fiasco told me alot about the leadership ability of Evans.

MiltonDawg

April 2nd, 2009
9:14 am

I’m enjoying our QB situation now. I think Cox will be fine, but for safety purposes, Gray needs to be able to jump in if something were to happen. I think the next few years, we will be great at QB. Not to mention that if Stafford goes 1rst in the draft, all the attention for QBs coming out of high school, they’ll look at Georgia. We should have a steady pipeline for years to come.

Voice of Reason

April 2nd, 2009
9:51 am

Columbus dawg- I am sure that Richt and staff are right back out there banging heads and correcting mistakes the first chance they get. They can not practice everyday due to NCAA rules allowing only 15 spring practices and only 5 of those in full pads. Don’t forget the fact that every player who has ever played for Richt has said that the one thing he does NOT lack is intensity although you don’t see it on the sidelines they see it everyday in the locker room and in practice. I am sure they learned from the mistake last year of not playing to full intensity in practice to avoid more injuries. They will correct it. Remember, no coach will be happy with spring practice. It is only spring. They are all rusty and that is why they have spring ball.

Voice of Reason

April 2nd, 2009
9:52 am

I also think that is there is any comparison to former qb’s it should be the leadership and knowledge of the game that compares Cox to Greene and the mobility and athleticism of Gray to compare to Shockley. Just a thought.

Zdawg

April 2nd, 2009
9:53 am

Shockley stunk it up??? Where? When? You gotta be kiddin me? Why don’t u try sittin for a whole half to be brought in the game completely cold for one series once each half. Heck, if CMR had started Shockley in Greene in ‘04 (the most talent ladened team during the Richt era) UGA probably would have that all elusive Nat’l Championship by now. Instead, Rich was “loyal” to Greene (whose notorious stinker vs. Tenn wrecked the ‘04 season) even despite the fact that the one series that Shockley played in the first half he led a scoring drive culmintaing on a 60 yd. bomb to Fred Gibson…and what did CMR and the boys immdeitaely do? You guessed it…snatch Shockley right back out of the game and put Greene back in totally killing the momentum and cementing Richts most dissapointing season (save maybe last year, although I still think the ‘04 squad had more talent and experience top to bottom).

Suffice it to say, when given a real chance Shockley was THE MAN!!!!!

JustMyOpinion

April 2nd, 2009
9:55 am

GeoffDawg, DJ usually stunk it up? That’s not totally true. Besides the int. versus Fla., help me remember the other ’stanks’. Oh, And don’t forget the games that saved our tails. Clemson in Athens comes to mind.

athensdawg

April 2nd, 2009
9:56 am

joe cox being called a master technician by bobo gives me a good feeling. bobo was quite the technician when he played qb.

That tells me that we have someone who is willing to work at qb…not just show up and expect to have everyone bow down to his NFL skills.

columbus dawg, that is what I have been saying for a long long time.
we are missing that toughness that all georgia teams used to have in the “good ole days. ”

these days, we want to be “balanced” and bend but dont break.

What we need to do is take off the lace panties and smack the other guy in the mouth until they quit. That’s how you win in the sec. Balance is for when you have a lead, or want to sink the final nail in the coffin.

[...] has claimed the starting quarterback job in Athens.  Clearly.UGA:  That doesn’t mean that freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger are doing well.UGA:  Logan Gray, formerly a special teams contributor, wants to show that [...]

Mark Richt will get fired

April 2nd, 2009
10:01 am

Who will Cox spoon with this year now that Fat Stafford and No Show Moreno are gone?

Chief Nock A Homa

April 2nd, 2009
10:08 am

“Mark Richt will get fired” – 10:01 post:

Nick?? Nick Saban?? Is that you??

What are you doing on this blog??

Blindog

April 2nd, 2009
10:08 am

Joe Cox will be a super QB!The freshmen are really going to be exciting in the future.The QB posttion is going to be fine for the next few tears.I read a few weeks ago at a Nike camp, T. Martin of Tennessee’s national championship team in 1998 said Mettenburg was the only QB he ever saw that when he threw the ball it whould whistle.

GeoffDawg

April 2nd, 2009
10:16 am

Shockley in his senior season was fantastic but in his given opportunities up until that point, he did not perform well. I find it difficult to believe that anyone can forget the collective groaning from Dawg fans when Greene would be pulled to give Shockley his periodic series. Everyone was convinced that he would either throw an interception or lead us to a three and out which usually turned out to be the case. Give someone enough opportunities and of course they’ll have some success as well but this was the exception rather than the rule. Do you not remember how nervous we all were after Greene graduated knowing that mistake prone Shockley was going to be the starter? Fortunately, it worked out and good for him that he was able to put it together but to say otherwise at this point is purely revisionist history. Also, how anyone could knock the decision to start Greene who is not only the winningest QB in college football but also played with ice water in his veins producing some of the most memorable wins in program history is beyond me.

Brock D

April 2nd, 2009
10:22 am

Amen Geoff! But that’s the case with too many fans. If the Dawgs don’t win a NC every year. Then CMR must be fired, Stafford sucks, Moreno sucks, and so on. Unfortunately there is no filter on here for simple minded people.

dawgfan1911

April 2nd, 2009
10:26 am

I have feeling that we will have to throw the ball more this year because of the lack of a running game that will exist with this team. I think Cox can throw the short to intermediate passes with soke screens to keep defenses honest. someone will have to emerge as a suitable backup. Murray is going to be the guy that leads this team to national prominence. Mettenberge will be a greatbackup and spot player.

AltamahaDawg

April 2nd, 2009
10:29 am

JB, so what you are saying is that this team should go undeafeated? There is not one team on the schedule that can defeat the 2009 Bulldogs player wise? The only reason any losses will occur is improper coaching?

gdawginkalamazoo

April 2nd, 2009
10:53 am

Didn’t know that Mettenberger and Murray were going to be on campus. That’s great get them learning everything early. Will they redshirt one of these guys? Or have them both go next fall if needed? Joe Cox will be a great leader from the sound of it and probably a good future coach.

murfdawg

April 2nd, 2009
11:06 am

Hopefully, Logan Gray will be the #2 and both Murray and Mettenberger will redshirt. Imagine how nice it would be to be a qb behind that ol in two years. I hope Joe Cox will be another DJ and not a Joe T. Can’t wait till Halloween!!!

jaxdawg

April 2nd, 2009
12:05 pm

I’m really excited to see what Joe Cox can do. I watched him in an interview the other day on CSS with Matt Stewart and he seemed really composed and confident in himself and his abilities. He’s definitely ready to lead this tem. He might not be very flashy, but I think he’s going to get it done for us this year! We might lose one or two games, but I don’t think it’s going to be because of Joe C.

Whopper Dawg

April 2nd, 2009
12:19 pm

QB and offense will be OK if not good, assuming the Bobo can quit trying to surprise himself with his play calling and rather focus on executing some basics. The season will come down to D and the special teams. If we are as undisciplined and as poorly coached as last year, then we will be looking at the Outback or worse. Although a very good coach and an even better man, Coach Richt will have to make the tough decisions on staff in post season 2009 if D and special teams remain the same as 2008.

uga_b

April 2nd, 2009
12:57 pm

Z and Just, I am very happy for Shockley, but that interception that wind up costing the game was one of the stupidest I remember. So bad in fact that I remember where I was sitting and how it happened. It goes like this. DJ drops back starts looking right; I start slowly crescendoing my no…no…NO…NOO!. DJ throws ball at four UF defenders and one very well-covered UGA receiver. I turn my head in disgust before the ball even get there knowing it would be intercepted. Ratliff runs it back for touchdown. I curse…loudly.

I also saw the best game he played against WVU, which is one of the most misremembered games of all time. It was close and well fought. Too bad coaches didnt see the obvious fake punt and only sent lump against 4, but I digress.

Dog QBs are in good shape. I am excited about the Grayhound package (TradeMark uga_b 2009). Be nice to see some sprint options.

crs

April 2nd, 2009
1:12 pm

So many experts and yet none of you have a job coaching college football. These are in general 17-22 year old kids. They WILL make mistakes. Quit griping about no national titles. The national titles are comical. Richt has two SEC titles and a third appearence in the conference championship. He’s done a nice job. Relax and enjoy the games on the beautiful fall afternoons and nights rather than stressing out about a game that YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER. Your time would be better spent worrying about the direction Obama the great is taking this country very quickly. UGA doesn’t affect my wallet and my life outside of three or fours hours twelve to fifteen times a year. Obama does.

Gen Neyland

April 2nd, 2009
1:16 pm

Gosh, I dunno. The coaching may be responsible for 4 or 5 wins, too…

SouthGaDawg

April 2nd, 2009
1:44 pm

post of the year goes to “crs”

crs

April 2nd, 2009
1:45 pm

The key to beating the Gators or anyone for that matter from a defensive perspective is getting pressure from the front four without having to bring linebackers or safties or corners. Defensive pressure from the FF makes everyone look better. Our best seasons and best games come when we are getting consistent pressure. Just watch the 2007 and 2008, Gator/Dog games to see this illustrated. Do I think Jennings and Minter were more talented than Asher and Prince, NO, they had much better line in front of them.

AltamahaDawg

April 2nd, 2009
1:50 pm

I think coach Bobo will focus more on basic play calling when he has a line that can consistantly line up and blow somebody back 3 yrds. Last year was all about calling “creative” ways to work around the fact thay they could not. (the the other guys knew it)

AltamahaDawg

April 2nd, 2009
1:57 pm

crs, ALWAYS enjoy your opinions.

Oledawg

April 2nd, 2009
2:06 pm

Tucker- Keep the update info articles coming. I confess that my visions of Joe C have down games intruding…until I read what he is doing to help the new guys calm down and perform as well as they are capable. With a team leader as selfless as this , I don’t care whether he has down games of performance. He is helping to give possible replacements the confidence they need to perform in front of large crowds. What a team-spirit individual!

Logan Gray is my favorite as far as backup since he is so athletic. He will bring the instant excitement of DJ into the game. Not only is he capable of running, but the fearless factor is huge. Like Montana(as QB, not as an individual). To love the game so much that not playing is inconceivable to the point that he was gunner on kickoff speaks volumes. His love of the game translated into a kamikaze QB should be something to see.

What’s not to love with any of these QB’s?

crs

April 2nd, 2009
2:16 pm

If you define seasons by only two numbers in the Mark Richt era, on offense its rushing yards, you want 1300 plus. On defense, its sacks, and you want 40 plus. When you get both of those it spells a championship game appearence or a #2 National finish.

esaun

April 2nd, 2009
3:12 pm

so much fuss ova which recruit uga will get and who will fill in vacated positions but from what i see talent always there, loses come from po coaching forget a top 5 recruiting class need a top 5 coaching staff coordinators not natl title caliber thats why fulmer spurrier and johnson defeat us wit far less talent but give richt credit at least dont have to worry bout other programs snatchin our coaches; unless its a recruitng ploy ps please dont let kiffin with his nfl caliber staff knock uga into that ole miss ark aub best of the rest in the sec class

DawgGirl32

April 2nd, 2009
3:29 pm

Wow esaun. That was painful to read.

Diamond Dawg

April 2nd, 2009
3:33 pm

“Big Play” Joe will get it done for us this year. Hopefully he’ll stay healthy and the younger guys can get some time in blow outs. Last years team had a lot of talent, but was not a very good team. If the defense holds tight we will be just fine. Go Dawgs!!!

Kenny Powers

April 2nd, 2009
3:46 pm

crs is awesome, just like me and my rocket arm and python man organ. I want a win in jax; other than that, i am fine with 6-6(and of course beating the nerds).

Kenny Powers

April 2nd, 2009
3:47 pm

Esaun, learn how to type.

Jeff

April 2nd, 2009
4:09 pm

I was only comparing Shockley and Cox because they have had similar paths at UGA. There isn’t much of a substitute for a senior QB that will bleed Red and Black. I believe the question was about the QB situtation in the present and future. It looks pretty bright to me.

esaun

April 2nd, 2009
4:47 pm

kp what a fan sacrifice a whole season 4 1 victory, hmm; ps kp im bloggin not writing you a luv letta so pay little att to format and capitalization this sports talk not typing 101

Jimmy

April 2nd, 2009
5:02 pm

Yes, this is sports talk, but it helps when we can understand what the heck youre talking about. What do I know though. I’m just a dumb crackah.

Chris

April 2nd, 2009
5:06 pm

I am uncomfortable with our quarterback situation. I can’t seem to understand why some may compare Joe Cox to D.J. Shockley. Hardly a comparison to me. This almost seems like a Joe Tereshinski situation rather than a D.J. Shockley situation. Though Cox has had a little experience, and I am more comfortable with him than I was with Tereshinski, something tells me that Aaron Murray will need to be our starter at some point this season to give us the best chance to win. Cox however, certainly deserves the starting job at this point. No way do we go into Stillwater with an 18-year-old kid in his first start. I do feel like Cox will not be the answer for us though and we will need to get Murray some valuable experience for his future, much like Stafford had in ‘06. Perhaps the bigger question mark is the defense, if we cannot stop anybody, we’re not gonna beat any quality opponent.

FLDAWG

April 2nd, 2009
5:07 pm

QB present and future looks good to me. Cox will be much like Greene and run a very efficient offense. Logan Gray will be a solid back up this year and will compete with Murray and Mettenberger next year for the starting position. The O line will need to improve and should given the experience that many players have for any of the QB’s to succeed. CMR and CMB need to find a RB that can block and be consistent for our O to be balanced. However, with the receivers we have, the passing game should be fine (if the O line plays to their potential) and will be able to carry the offense.

The entire season comes down to how well we play in the trenches on both the offense and defense.

Jimmy

April 2nd, 2009
5:09 pm

Oh, and I love me some Cox!

esaun

April 2nd, 2009
5:10 pm

blog simple to understand park tractor then wait 10-20 minutes then try readin jimmy boy

Brock D

April 2nd, 2009
5:41 pm

It’ called punctuation, esaun.

LambertDawg

April 2nd, 2009
5:45 pm

Columbus Dawg, by NCAA rules, the players are only allowed 5 days of full pads and contact throughout spring practice.

On another note, I’m very excited about Joe Cox this year and the rest of the team. A few players I will keep my eye on this season are: DE Justin Houston , fifth yr. SR Jeff Owens, OL transplant to DE Kade Weston, Geno Atkins, CB Brandon Smith, Caleb King, Cox, Logan Gray, Sturdivant, A.J. Green, and Marlon Brown.

Go Dawgs

Columbus Dawg

April 2nd, 2009
8:28 pm

Voice Of Reason already scolded me about that LambertDawg, and I wasn’t really thinking about it that way in my ranting, sorry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as excited as anyone about ‘09, I would just hate to see the same mistakes haunt us again. Has anyone heard anything about the special teams unit’s progress this spring? That and the team staying out of trouble this summer are two of the most important factors going in IMO.