Let’s talk football: Murray on arm, Samuel on LB move, Mettenberger on improvement

Athens — Let’s talk some football this afternoon.

I’m at the Butts-Mehre building, planning to talk with a number of UGA football players. Hoping to chat with Richard Samuel about his move from tailback to linebacker, with Logan Gray about whether he intends to remain at quarterback for the duration, with Aaron Murray about whether his arm is 100 percent after last fall’s tendinitis, and others.

I’ll post updates through the afternoon. Please check back.

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UPDATE 1:

Richard Samuel seems very happy about the move to linebacker.  ”I feel like I’ll be more comfortable, be able to play more freely at linebacker,” he said.  He said coaches pretty much left the decision up to him about whether to remain at tailback or move to linebacker.

He said his biggest problem at tailback was blocking. “I couldn’t block correctly and keep a good pocket for the quarterback,” he said. With the play of Caleb King and Washaun Ealey at the end of last season, “my future wasn’t looking too good at running back.”

He said he’s gaining weight for the move to linebacker. He’s up to 230 now.  His goal is to start at linebacker in the season opener.

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UPDATE 2:

For those wondering about the health of Aaron Murray’s arm: He says it’s 100 percent fine, thank you.

Limited by triceps and forearm tendinitis for a big chunk of his redshirt season last fall, Murray said he is not worried at all about his arm now.

Recounting last fall’s problem, he said: “I just tried to push through. It inflamed up and spread throughout the arm. I didn’t give it the proper rest I should have. If I had, I would have been out a week instead of going four-five weeks without throwing. I learned from that. This off-season I’m doing a lot more shoulder maintenance, making my arm strong, building the endurance.”

He said the arm didn’t bother him at all the final month or so of last season and through bowl practices.  He said extensive medical tests revealed no problem beyond tendinitis.  He said he’s currently throwing three or four times a week. He said he doesn’t expect any setbacks with the arm this spring.

But he did say the missed practice reps last fall “set me back a good bit.”

As for the upcoming quarterback competition with Zach Mettenberger and Logan Gray, Murray said: “I view it is pretty much anybody’s job to take right now. I’m looking forward to spring, going out there and working as hard as I can. It’s my goal to get that position. . . . It should be fun. It’s going to be interesting. Off the field, we are not enemies; we hang out,  go out to eat. It’s not [a competition] where we will go out there in hatred. We’re just going out there to win a position. . . . Two days ago, Zach and I went throwing with Marlon [Brown], helping each other with footwork and mechanics. . . . It’s going to be a friendly competition, and in the end the best guy will win.”

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UPDATE 3:

OK, about all those rumors of a possible position switch for quarterback Logan Gray.

Gray said he expects to play quarterback exclusively in spring practice, and although he acknowledged giving some thought to a position switch, he said the rumors were overblown.

“I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t think about what my options were, but I just think it’s too early to make any decisions,” Gray said. “I’m just going to keep on playing quarterback. If there comes a time where I’m not going to be playing or contributing and I  think I’d be better off somewhere else, then maybe I’ll make a decision.”

He said the coaches never approached him about a possible position switch for spring practice.

“It was kind of interesting [when] all this whirlwind talk started brewing up and everything,” Gray said, “because it seemed to me like Coach [Mike] Bobo was planning on me playing quarterback through the spring.

“I feel like obviously we’re looking for a starting quarterback, and I feel like I can compete for it. Last year, I didn’t get quite as much experience as I would have liked. But I feel like I’m ready to go this spring, and I’m excited about spring practice and what is going to happen.”

If there comes a time when it’s clear he has no future at quarterback, Gray said, “I’m not, like, opposed to playing receiver or trying to play defense.”

——————–

UPDATE 4:

Still no official word on whether newly hired linebackers coach Warren Belin will coach the inside or outside ‘backers, although LB Chase Vasser said today, “I want to believe it’s inside, but not 100 percent on that.”  Whichever group of linebackers Belin coaches, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will coach the other.

———————–

UPDATE 5:

Zach Mettenberger, whose shaky completion statistics in preseason scrimmages last summer caused some concerns in Bulldog Nation, said he is “10 times better than when I came in.”

The 6-foot-5 Mettenberger said he has lost 18 pounds in the past year, from 255 to 237, and has improved his footwork to the point that it is “as good as the other guys’, if not better.”

All three quarterbacks said they expect a highly competitive battle for the position in spring practice, which will run from March 4 through April 10.

“It’s definitely a big spring for us three quarterbacks,” Mettenberger said. “It’s pretty much going to determine who’s going to be the quarterback for possibly the next couple of years. We’re all excited about the competition, and we’re pushing each other to be the best we can. Whatever happens happens. We’re still going to be friends at the end. And it’s whatever Coach Bobo decides.”

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UPDATE 6:

Here’s wide receiver Marlon Brown summarizing the different styles of the three quarterbacks:

“Zach can throw the ball 100 yards. Zach has a cannon. And Logan, he’s been here three years and is real smart and so he knows the offense better. And Aaron, he’s just an all-around guy [who] can make a tough throw and he can run. They’re all pretty good.”

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530 comments Add your comment

JacketFan

February 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

bkbroila4224

February 10th, 2010
1:32 pm

Monroe

February 10th, 2010
1:34 pm

patrick

February 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

UNDER Richt

Vs. SEC foes: 43-22
.
Vs. Top 25 foes: 29-18
.
Vs. Top 25 foes away from home: 18-12
.
Vs. Top 10 foes: 8-6
.
In postseason games (bowls and championships): 9-3
.
In games decided by a touchdown or less: 34-14
.
Record at home: 47-9
.
Record on the road: 27-6
.
Losses to unranked teams: 6
.
Top 25 finishes: 8
.
Top 10 finishes: 6
.
Fact:………UGA was 12-1 in 2002 (prior to bowl selections)
.
Fact ………Fla was 12-1 in 2006 (prior to bowl selections)
.
Fact ………Not UGAs fault there were 2 unbeatens that year. “unlucky”
.
Fact……….Not Flas credit that there was only one unbeaten in 2006. “Lucky”
.
Fact:………Luck not merit had more to do with Fla getting invited to the BCS than whether Fla was more deserving to go to a NC with identical records.
.
Fact:………No SEC team has ever lost a NC game and if UGA would have been invited nothing indicates that it would have been different
.
Fact……….UGA has 2 SEC titles..same as Fla in last 9 years and equal amount of total wins over all.
.
Fact……….UGA has been ranked more times top ten in last 9 years than any SEC team.
.
Fact……….UGA 90 wins in 9 years no other SEC team has more.
.
Fact………..UGA has 2 SEC titles…same as Fla
.
Fact………..UGA has won 4 str8 bowls….more than any other SEC team.
.
Fact……..UGA has won 11 of last 13 bowls…more than any team tied with LSU and more than FLA
.
Fact…… UGA has won 8 or more games in last 13 years…more than any other team.
.
Fact…… UGA has been ranked more times in top ten than any SEC team over last 9 years.
.
Fact…….UGA is clearly as good or better than any SEC team over last 9 years. Only a fool or a fan of the mythical BCSNC selection process (non playoff) would think otherwise.
.
Fact…….Coach Mark Richt in 9 seasons at UGA:
.
Fact…….UGA had same record when they won the SEC title in 2002 as Fla did in 2006/8 when they won the SEC title. But UGA had the misfortune (luck) to have that record in a year that had 2 other teams with undefeated records.
Hardly an indictment on UGA but rather on the NC selection process.
6 times finished in the top 10
2 times finished in the top 3
3 SEC Championship Appearances
2 SEC Titles
3 BCS Bowls
2 Sugar Bowl wins
90-27 record over 8 seasons – 79% winning percentage (one of only 7 in the history of college ball to have ever accomplished this)
4 str8 bowl wins
7-2 in bowls (big games)
Mark Richt coached QB coach for Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke = 2 Heismans; Head Coach for David Greene = all time winningest college QB until Colt McCoy this year); and coached Matthew Stafford = very rich #1 draft pick)
No Probations
He has my respect.
Period.

Andy

February 10th, 2010
1:39 pm

Andy

February 10th, 2010
1:40 pm

Why is it that everyone does that? Who cares what number you are? You people need to get a life.

DallasDawg

February 10th, 2010
1:40 pm

It would be great to hear how the new defensive staff is settling in. What are their initial thoughts on the state of the defensive unit / life in the SEC?

patrick

February 10th, 2010
1:51 pm

Admittedly the Fla/UGA head to head is a problem. But thats merely one factor…..strange how people COMPLETELY overlook the other OVERWHELMING evidence that points to a great and successful coach.

Achilles was the ultimate warrior…but he had one weakness. Still considered the greatest warrior of antiquity.

Fla is UGAs Achilles heel. Cant have an Achilles heel without being an “Achilles” now can he.

99Dawg

February 10th, 2010
1:51 pm

Tim,
Would love to find out progress of Trinton Sturdivant. Also, what ever happened to Akeem Hebron. He was supposed to be big time and we haven’t seen much of him on the field.
Thanks!

toph

February 10th, 2010
1:52 pm

Any updates on some of the DB’s from last year, Pugh, Commings, Cuff, those guys?

Motivations, attitudes and team goals

February 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

Really like to know who the current and emerging team leaders are. Frankly, if R Samules can be an impact player at L backer, his bio at UGA ought to really motivate new kids and the same is true with Logan Grey, who is one of my favorite players.

Has Brandon Smith been able to gain ANY weight? he swas far too little and skinny to do anything beyons the TD sprint vs SC and one or two other plays on O. We NEED him to be stellar on D.

I sure hope that Bacarri Rambo is feeeling much better.

Go Dogs.

Look forward to your report.

chipperdawg

February 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

Samuel is gonna be a STUD at linebacker!! I truly believe had Washawn not gotten injured early on last year, this move would’ve already taken place. Richard was recruited as an athlete (5 star, I think) and could’ve played either position out of high school. I think he’s better suited for linebacker and I also believe the new scheme will better suit his speed at the position.
As for Murray, hope he lives up to the billing and becomes the leader our offense has been lacking (for all his talent, I don’t think Stafford was a great leader)for several years (since DJ).
Its my opinion if Logan was gonna be our QB we’d already know it. He too is a good athlete, however, and should be on the field doing something besides faircatching punts (WR or FS maybe?). Just sayin’…

BMDPD

February 10th, 2010
1:59 pm

Hopefully the new LB coaches will instill some great fundamentals and Samuel will blossom.

SeanDawg

February 10th, 2010
2:01 pm

Glad to finally see some articles about football. Feels like it’s been weeks!!

Will

February 10th, 2010
2:01 pm

Looking forward to April 10! Let’s fill up the stands and show our young dawgs we are behind them 100%! Screw all the UGA haters, jealousy is one of seven sins.

Fact

February 10th, 2010
2:03 pm

Most of Patrick’s post made no sense. Poorly thought out and poorly edited.

I don’t even know what this means: “Luck not merit had more to do with Fla getting invited to the BCS than whether Fla was more deserving to go to a NC with identical records.”

I think merit has the most reason. If they weren’t good enough to only have one loss, they certainly wouldn’t have made the BCS game. Florida was ranked ahead of three one loss schools. Plus, while Florida beat a top 10 team in the SEC championship game, uga beat a team that was barely ranked. Those are facts. Luck is not a fact. Both Ohio State and Miami would have been ranked ahead of uga with one loss. Even one loss Iowa was ranked ahead of uga in the AP poll.

Plus I’m not sure how you can claim that because “[n]o SEC team has ever lost a NC game” that uga wouldn’t have lost the 2002 game even had they made it. How is it a fact that “nothing indicates that it would have been different.” First, Ohio State didn’t lose that year. Second, Ohio State beat a very good Miami team, who also hadn’t lost that year until they lost to Ohio State. In fact, even after Miami lost to Ohio State, they were still ranked higher than uga. If anything, that tells you that it is far from a fact that “nothing indicates” that uga would have lost the championship game to Ohio State. Moreover, Miami absolutely crushed the only team that uga lost to that year, Florida. If anything, “nothing indicates” that uga would have been competitive against either Miami or Ohio State, much less win the national championship had they gotten there.

You said “Fact………..UGA has 2 SEC titles…same as Fla.” FACT – I think you poorly proofread your post.

You said “UGA has won 4 str8 bowls.” Fact – a lot of teams would have won the independence bowl and beating Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl was like beating a four year old in a spelling bee.

You said: “Fact…… UGA has been ranked more times in top ten than any SEC team over last 9 years.” FACT – you already said that once.

You said “Fact…….UGA is clearly as good or better than any SEC team over last 9 years. Only a fool or a fan of the mythical BCSNC selection process (non playoff) would think otherwise.” Fact – only a fool would think something based on subjective reasoning is a fact

You said “Fact…….Coach Mark Richt in 9 seasons at UGA:” Fact – You didn’t proofread your post.

You said “Fact…….UGA had same record when they won the SEC title in 2002 as Fla did in 2006/8 when they won the SEC title. But UGA had the misfortune (luck) to have that record in a year that had 2 other teams with undefeated records.”

Again, both Miami and Ohio State would have been ranked ahead of uga with one loss. For example, look at the final standings. Despite uga winning their bowl game, Miami was still ranked #2. Both had one loss.

Moreover, I don’t see how you can say having one loss is “misfortune.” uga had the chance to go undefeated, same as any other team. In fact Florida, the team uga lost to that year, lost to Miami, the team that clearly deserved to go there over uga.

It’s not “luck” that gets you championships or “misfortune” that keeps you from them.

Bremen Dawg

February 10th, 2010
2:05 pm

Richard will be awesome at linebacker, just let him use his size a speed and just hit somebody.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

February 10th, 2010
2:11 pm

patrick and fact, keep it shorter. No one wants to read a book here

sky high

February 10th, 2010
2:12 pm

Samuel is the most competitive player on the team. He’s a beast. He plays big in big games. I pity the guys who have to go up against him, he’s going to dominate and be an All-SEC LB.

He was a great RB too, amazing athlete.

Really?

February 10th, 2010
2:14 pm

As much as patrick hates florida, you think he would’ve corrected his statement of “no SEC team has lost in a NC”. We did in ‘95 to Nebraska.

“Jealousy is not very becoming”

GO GATORS!

toph

February 10th, 2010
2:15 pm

How fast is Richard Samuel?

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:17 pm

Luck….. Sorry to disappoint you…but nothing you said changed anything that I posted.

All of the FACTS i posted are still facts.

You try to counter them with your opinion that Miami would have finished ahead of UGA with one lose prior to the BCSNC.

We dont know that.

Miami finished second over a 3rd place UGA (after the bcsnc) due to its SOS. Part of that SOS was playing Ohio St. in the BCSNC which placed them (by points) over UGA. ………FAIL.

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:17 pm

“Luck”…………

And lets stop with the badmouthing of Georgia. Richt has put them in a position to be in the SEC title hunt every year (2009 the exception). How many other programs in the SEC can say that? That’s the problem with a lot of UGA fans (and you), you only see what UGA hasn’t done. You don’t see what they HAVE done.
.
All Richt needs is one lucky year.
.
Its interesting to note that UF and LSU have won national titles with the same record UGA had when it won its two SEC titles.
.
Its not that UGA is not as good of a program as either of the two, they have just been luckier than UGA.
.
And that’s the truth.

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:18 pm

Ummm there was no NC game in 1995

Atticus

February 10th, 2010
2:18 pm

Here’s the deal Patrick, if you look at the program WITHOUT Van Gorder the last 4 years, those numbers change significantly. The boat isn’t sunk but it is leaking and hopefully the new defensive coaches, Aaron Murray (or Mett), an easier schedule, a deep and talented offensive line, more experienced WRs and RBs and Richt paying more attention to discipline, special teams and fundamentals will translate to getting the ship right again.

elmer Fud

February 10th, 2010
2:19 pm

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:20 pm

there have been 12 NCG’s. Each time a SEC team played in one…they won it.

Fact

February 10th, 2010
2:22 pm

Wasn’t knocking uga, just knocking your incredibly loose interpretation of a “fact,” and your incredibly poorly written & rambling post.

Daffy

February 10th, 2010
2:23 pm

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:24 pm

Atticus. I agree that Willie’s defense was the problem. but lets take an even closer look at the last 2 years. (by the way UGA finished 2nd in the nation in 2007 and Willie was there UGA never finished that high with Van Gorder.)

Several factors came into play over the last two years that made the end result undesirable.

1. In 2008 UGA lost 18 scholly players to season ending injury PRIOR to game 3 of the season. I cant think of another program hit that hard with injuries and yet Richt had them at 10-3, ranked top ten and won a bowl game. THATS ALL CAOCHING.

2. In 2009 Richt could not control Matt Stafford and Moreno leaving early for the draft. He was stuck with a horrible QB in Cox and he wanted to give his college room mate Willie M. another shot to show his abilities. That backfired on him. I guess he should have thrown Murray into the fire but UGA would have been 8-5 with a true frosh that suffered from tendinitis anyway so why not give a fifth year senior his shot.

But then you already knew all of this

Really?

February 10th, 2010
2:24 pm

Patrick there was a national title game played, just not a BCS Title Game. It was put on by the bowl alliance I believe. Also, if only BCS games count then UGA hasn’t won a national title ever. C’mon really?

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:25 pm

Fact……. this is a sports blog…..not an english paper. I am not asking for a grade.

Willie Martinez

February 10th, 2010
2:27 pm

Why is no one giving Mettenberger a shot here. I’m not comparing him to Mallett, but boy would it be nice to have a big 6′5″ QB sitting back there throwing missiles to AJ, Woot, & Marlon!

DAWGS BETTER IN 2010

February 10th, 2010
2:27 pm

Patrick you da man !!

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:28 pm

UGA has never “won” an NC. They were awarded one by the AP. I my opinion it was merely an opinion poll.

Div1a football is the only NCAA team sport without a playoff. The NCAA does not even recognize a NC in Div1a football. It recognizes what ever a school claims and relies on self policing. It will not list as a NC the “readers digest” poll as a NC even if a school claims it. It will list the AP or Coaches poll or the BCS.

Eaasssyy

February 10th, 2010
2:29 pm

well said atticus

BURN NOTICE

February 10th, 2010
2:29 pm

not only a new DC, but a new linebacker and new quarterback and new receiver. Gonna be a fun first half of the season.

I think Mr. Spurrier may have a few schemes that will isolate Mr. Samuel should he enter the game. Good luck dawggies!

Contrarian

February 10th, 2010
2:30 pm

But Patrick, what happened in 2009?

CUNK ROGERS

February 10th, 2010
2:31 pm

Who gives a rats a– about what FACT has to say. Sick and tired of Gator bloggers on OUR site. Seems as if maybe the Gators are not quite bright enough to have their own site to spin their little stories on. Crawl back to the swamp FACT, u little lizard.

SimpleDawg

February 10th, 2010
2:33 pm

In the new 3 – 4 scheme, we’ll need lots of talented players at LB. Hopefully Samuel will be as good at LB as he was touted to have been at RB.

A strong front 7, getting pressure on the passer, will make whoever is in the secondary look better.

Offense needs to control the clock, move the chains, and score TDs when they’re in the Red Zone.

Sounds so simple.

Contrarian

February 10th, 2010
2:33 pm

It’s a public site CUNK. If you don’t want to hear opposing views join a pay site…I wasn’t aware that the AJC was YOUR site.

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:33 pm

I explained what happened in 2009 but will repost it.

2. In 2009 Richt could not control Matt Stafford and Moreno leaving early for the draft. He was stuck with a horrible QB in Cox and he wanted to give his college room mate Willie M. another shot to show his abilities. That backfired on him. I guess he should have thrown Murray into the fire but UGA would have been 8-5 with a true frosh that suffered from tendinitis anyway so why not give a fifth year senior his shot.

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:36 pm

please educate yourself prior to writing your propaganda “luck”.

Richt has finished in the top 10 six out of his 9 seasons at Georgia (yes he finished #10 in the USA Today Coaches Poll in 2008, the same poll that hands out the BCS Natl Championship trophy).

You have to be very lucky to win a Natl Championship – Florida would not have been in the Natl Champ game in 2006 without USC inexplicably losing its final game to Karl Dorrell and UCLA a heavy underdog.

Look at LSU in 2007 and the circumstances in which that two loss team made the championship game.

Richt simply has not had that kind of luck bestowed on him yet – matter of fact he should have been playing for the Natl Championship in 2002 and 2007 if not for some luck of the opposite kind.

BigTimeTECHFan

February 10th, 2010
2:36 pm

Seems very odd that you would take a RB who’s issue is blocking and make him a LB. I could see if he was good blocker, and had other issues like fumbles, leg drive, etc. Blocking is about toughness, will power, and technic, All same skills involved at LB.

That said, if I remember correctly he was outstanding LB in HS, so maybe he can be a better LB.

dawgdawgdawg

February 10th, 2010
2:36 pm

Fact: EVERY article/blog on this site turns into some kind of debate between UGA, TN, FL, and GT fans

Why can’t we just talk about the topic discussed in the blog instead of having this “my team is better than your team” debate every day?

DEFENSE

February 10th, 2010
2:36 pm

UGA fans like patrick conveniently ignore the OBVIOUS. the 08-09 UGA defense couldn’t hold anyone out of the endzone. they gave up 35, 40, and 45 points to any decent team they played.

Now the two best players went to the NFL, and you expect a different result? HAHAHAHAHAHA and a new scheme and new DC to install it over the summer? ahahahahaha

you have RB’s STARTING at LB now? AHAHAHAHA whoa man… I can barely type this

I smell another year of giving up 30+ pts per game at least

patrick

February 10th, 2010
2:38 pm

OK I have to go. Been fun educating “luck” and “really?” let me know if I can help in the future.

CUNK ROGERS

February 10th, 2010
2:39 pm

Contrarian: Now you know MOFO. You must be a little fuzzy bee you maggot!

Diamond Dog's Parole Officer

February 10th, 2010
2:39 pm

So, bad personel choices, both on the field and particular coaches.

Who ultimately is held responsible?

And for the SEC teams that have made the NC game and won. Emphasis on the fact those SEC teams made the game, which your school hasn’t done in close to 30 years.

But hey, in your mind, I’m sure that they are one of the top five programs in college.

Fact

February 10th, 2010
2:40 pm

Fact – even in a sports blog you shouldn’t make the same exact point twice or incorrect statements like “UGA has 2 SEC titles…same as Fla.”

Fact – the NCAA recognizes consensus champions. Page 77 of this: http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/DI/2009/2009FBS.pdf

Fact – Richt should have (and did) foresee Moreno and Stafford leaving early. You are allowed to recruit backup QBs and RBs you know.

Fact – you can’t blame luck for the reason uga hasn’t won a national championship under Richt. If he hadn’t lost once in 9 years you’d probably have at least 8 national championships (possibly not the first year). That’s not luck, that’s just not being as good as you need to be.

Any team with at least one loss can’t say that it was “unlucky” to not make the NC game. I can understand a team like Auburn that didn’t make it, because they did everything they could do. Even if uga was “unlucky,” they also weren’t good enough because they didn’t have as good a record as they could have.