Talking with the QBs: ‘I believe in my heart I can win the job,’ Logan Gray says

(Third in a series.)

It’s been an interesting year for Logan Gray. The 2009 season started with many Georgia football fans calling for him to play more in relief of -– or in place of –- senior quarterback Joe Cox. And the season ended with rumors swirling that Gray would switch positions before spring practice, leaving quarterback for perhaps wide receiver.

Turned out, the calls for more playing time were unheeded and the rumors were overblown.

So after a 2009 season that saw him rarely on the field, Gray, who will be a redshirt junior in the fall, looks forward to a spring competition with Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger, both of whom will be redshirt freshmen, to succeed Cox as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback. (Note: Recent signee Hutson Mason, the record-setting Lassiter quarterback, won’t arrive in Athens until the summer.)

Gray, Mettenberger and Murray met last week with beat reporters who cover the Bulldogs. I’ve previously posted  transcripts of the sessions with Murray (click here if you missed it) and Mettenberger (click here if you missed it). Now, here’s the interview with Gray, a dual-threat quarterback who signed with the Bulldogs out of Rock Ridge High School in Columbia, Mo., and, it should be recalled, was rated the nation’s seventh best QB prospect by ESPN as a high school senior.

There’s been so much talk about a position switch. Did you think a lot about that, or were you a quarterback in your mind all along?

Gray: I’ve thought about it some. I think ultimately I just want to try to do what’s best for me and what’s best for our team and helping out the team. I’ve thought about it, and nothing has really changed, dating back to anytime really. I’m planning on playing quarterback. If it doesn’t work, I’m not, like, opposed to playing receiver or trying to play defense or whatever it may be. Ultimately I just want to try to help the team win and, you know, contribute.

Did the coaches leave a decision on a possible position switch up to you?

Gray: The coaches never really even confronted me about the whole issue. It was kind of interesting that all this whirlwind talk started brewing up and everything because it seemed to me like Coach [Mike] Bobo was planning on me playing quarterback through the spring. . . . This spring I am planning on playing quarterback.

So how do you view the quarterback competition going into the spring?

Gray: I feel like obviously we’re looking for a starting quarterback, and I feel like I can compete for it. And after 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’s going to happen. Obviously we get caught up so much in these individual battles and stuff that we forget sometimes that we’re still Georgia and the whole goal is to win games and get better as a team. Obviously I want the best player at quarterback to play who’s going to help us. If it’s not me, I’m going to try to contribute any other way I can.

How did you cope  with all the will-he-switch-positions talk?

Gray: There’s always going to be stories coming up about something. That just kind of got brought up somehow. It didn’t really bother me. I stopped talking to the media for a little bit at the end of last year, just to let it all clear over and not be a distraction from the team or anything like that. Like I said, I’ve just let it all smooth over . . . and we’ll see what happens on the field before everybody starts talking about this or that.

Do you see the quarterback competition as all three candidates being on an even keel, or inside the program do people view someone as the favorite to win the job?

Gray: I would like to hope that everything is on an even keel, but obviously the coaches have in mind what they think is going to be best for the team. So we’ll see what happens. Really, there’s nothing that me or Zach or Aaron can do besides give it our best shot and do everything we can to prove to the coaches we should be the No. 1 guy. I guess all you can really worry about is yourself. I’m just trying to focus on what I can do and not worry about what other people are doing.

How did you stay positive after not playing as much as you thought you would last season?

Gray: I think everybody on our team has just got to keep a straight-ahead mindset going, especially after a tough year last year. There were a lot of things, besides me maybe not getting as much playing time as I would have liked, that just didn’t go our way. But obviously dwelling on anything that happened in the past is not going to get me anywhere, so I’ve just been trying to work hard this offseason and do what I can to get better and get stronger and get faster and make sure there’s no way they can keep me off the field, even if it’s not quarterback.

How much pressure did you feel last season when you’d get on the field for such short stints [i.e., one play]?

Gray: That was one of the toughest parts actually. You’d come in for a play, and maybe that play didn’t work. Maybe you got a zero-yard gain on a run play or something. You’d try not to, but you’d be stressing because you’d want to make something happen so bad so that you could get more plays or get more opportunities. . . . We’ve all got a clean slate coming into this year. And we’re 0-0, so get back to work. And spring practice will just ultimately be big in deciding what’s going to happen in the future.

How much have Aaron and Zach grown as quarterbacks [since enrolling at UGA in January 2009]?

Gray: They’ve definitely grown a ton. I think coming in early helped both of them a lot. They’ve been through spring practice before. Just maturing from from a knowing-what-to-do standpoint and a comfort standpoint is probably the biggest thing. I think that’s with any young quarterback; it takes a little while to get the comfort behind center that it takes to be successful with the game speed that goes on.

The three of you bring different things to the table. Will that make the competition potentially harder to judge?

Gray: Possibly. Maybe you’d see exactly where everybody stood if they all had the tall, strong arm or [were a] fast guy like maybe me. I think ultimately the coaches are looking for who is going to be the most consistent, who’s going to be a leader of this team, who’s going to be able to provide playmaking skills that will help us win ballgames. Whether they get it done one way or the other way, whoever is getting it done best is going to be the guy.

Just to be clear, you expect to play quarterback exclusively this spring?

Gray: Yes. Yes.

You expect to win the starting job?

Gray: Yeah, I think you’ve got to have that mindset. If you’re not expecting to win the battle, then there’s really not a reason to compete, you know what I mean? So I’m trying to do everything I can to win the job, and I believe in my heart that I can win the job. So we’ll just see what happens when it comes time to compete.

What do you think about sports fans’ tendency to focus on the newer guys [in this case, freshmen Murray and Mettenberger]?

Gray: It’s definitely something that [happens in] all sports. ‘What have you done for me lately?’ Or, ‘who is the new up-and-coming guy?’ There’s always going to be excitement about the young guy. It’s crazy that even people were saying stuff when Matthew Stafford was playing here or other great players [were playing here] at different positions: ‘We got this other guy coming in; he’s going to be really good.’ But that’s just a part of it. You can’t worry about it. . . .  If you’re worried about other things beside yourself, you’re going to be focusing on the wrong thing.

Thanks for reading these interviews, folks.

Earlier:

Zach Mettenberger sees key as ‘who can . . . take us to a national title’

Aaron Murray sees improved passing accuracy as key to winning job

Please follow me on Twitter for the latest UGA news and notes.

250 comments Add your comment

Really?

February 15th, 2010
3:36 pm

First! Great article Tim!

Buckhead Dawg

February 15th, 2010
3:47 pm

We’ll just have to let this QB situation play out. Out of the 3 someone’s got to be good enough to start.

How2fish

February 15th, 2010
3:47 pm

This will be fun to watch!

Bryan G.

February 15th, 2010
3:49 pm

“Gray: I would like to hope that everything is on an even keel, but obviously the coaches have in mind what they think is going to be best for the team”

Um…makes me think that HE thinks there is someone the coaches already like.

JaxDawg

February 15th, 2010
3:50 pm

So you are saying that there is a chance that Gray will be throwing the ball to Green, White, and Brown next season?

About Logan Gray

February 15th, 2010
3:56 pm

Logan is a tremendous athlete. Fastest QB, best mobility, biggest run threat. Better size than Murray, 6′ 2”, 200 lbs. Good decision maker, accurate short to mid-range, strong arm.

Logan was ranked #12 QB by Scout.

He also has the advantage of being the most familiar with the system, and being loyal to the program and a team player.

He completed 58% of passes, 25 td’s, 10 int’s.

DawgInDC

February 15th, 2010
4:14 pm

if gray was good he would have un beaten joe cox last year. He is not SEC QB material. I was at the spring game last year, and he does have scrambling abilities, but he can’t pass..has a weak arm…I think Murray is our best shot at getting to the top….

About Logan Gray

February 15th, 2010
4:16 pm

Logan had the best G-Day last spring, going 9 for 13. He did also take 5 sacks. But it must not have been good enough to impress Bobo and Richt.

Murray went 3 for 5 and had the longest pass of the game, 43 yards. O int’s, 0 sacks.

Zack struggled horribly in scrimmages last Spring, went 2 for 20, 2 int’s.

The 5 sacks Gray gave up in the Spring game are surprising, considering he’s supposed to be the most mobile.

About Logan Gray

February 15th, 2010
4:21 pm

Logan Gray is also an Elite 11 QB.

He makes 3 Elite 11 QB’s for UGA: Zach, Murray & Logan.

I’d say it’s going to be between Logan & Murray. Zach will have to do something REALLY special to make up for last Spring’s 2 for 20, 2 int performance.

I think UGA is looking for a dual-threat running QB this year to take pressure off the passing game.

Logan can make plays with his legs, was ranked a top 5 dual-threat QB by everybody.

Meyer's Heisman Trophy Winners & #1 NFL Draft Picks?

February 15th, 2010
4:25 pm

If Brantley was good, he would have won the starting position last year.

If Meyer was a good QB coach, he’d have more than 1 Heisman trophy winner, and a #1 NFL Draft pick.

Richt has coached 2 QB Heisman trophy winners, 2 different styles, dual-threat, and pro style, and he helped Stafford become the #1 draft pick in the NFL.

About Logan Gray

February 15th, 2010
4:32 pm

I like what Logan said about what’s needed is:
Consistency, leadership, and play-making abilities.

He certainly has leadership and play-making abilities. He’s the least accurate passer of the 4 UGA QB’s at 58% competion rate. So I’m sure that’s where he’ll work, consistency/accuracy.

But, he was 9 for 13 in thew G-Day game last spring, that’s a 70% accuracy, so look out for this guy.

I’d say he has the best shot. Somebody’s gonna have to be great to knock him out because he’s been there the longest, and Richt doesn’t like change.

Corch Myers

February 15th, 2010
4:35 pm

If you don’t have a quarterback that can light up an All SEC safety helmet on helmet, you can’t win in the SEC.

Dawg Tired

February 15th, 2010
4:37 pm

I’m leaving the decision up to BuLLdawg and/or Correction. They are obviously both smarter than Coach Richt and Coach Bobo, not to mention the rest of us. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. I am disappointed that neither one has applied for the job as Head Football Coach at the University of Georgia (I know neither one has applied because after reading their posts it is clear that they would obviously be hired – their genius is so obvious).

Coach Richt, Coach Bobo, and everyone else in The Dawg Nation needs to chill until BuLLdawg and Correction make this decision. Of course, as both BuLLdawg and Correction can, and no doubt will, tell us, the decision is irrelevant because Coaches Richt and Bobo have already screwed the whole process up by not burning the red shirt off at least one of the two freshmen last year. Isn’t it so excruciatingly painful to know that the solution to all our problems is simply hiring BuLLdawg and Correction to be Co-Head Coaches. Obviously we should fire everybody in the entire athletic department. How could they not know about these two great football minds right here in our mists?

Buckhead Bulldog

February 15th, 2010
4:42 pm

I watched Logan in the G-Day game, and I thought he was the best QB on the field that day. Long strikes on the numbers….not sure what happened in camp over the Summer. I thought he was going to give Cox a run for the money. Oh well……

SouthGa Dawg

February 15th, 2010
4:43 pm

Everyone knows that he can run, but can he stand in pocket and complete downfield throws???? Thats more important that his running times.

Ryno

February 15th, 2010
4:44 pm

I have to believe that if the UGA coaching staff really valued his arm and leadership as a quarterback – they would have never, ever let him return punts. Too much could go wrong, despite his bevy of athletic talent.

Charles Grant

February 15th, 2010
4:44 pm

Yes, I do like boiled peanuts.

Buckhead Bulldog

February 15th, 2010
4:45 pm

Dawg Tired : I have read BuLLdawg, but who is “correction”….I must have missed?

hammerhead

February 15th, 2010
4:46 pm

“right here in our mists” way to finish strong Dawg Tired… I hear you on BuLLdawg and Correction, though. With geniuses like that in our midsts, why should the rest of us even bother to post?

Dawg Tired

February 15th, 2010
4:57 pm

Buckhead Bulldog – Correction posted today and called Coach Richt “stupid” for not taking the red shirt off either Murray or Mettenberger. He sounded a lot like BuLLdawg under a new handle.

blackout_dawg

February 15th, 2010
5:06 pm

I was at G-day last year as well. Logan was by far the most impressive. Zach was talking about the drops his receivers had but really Gray had the more telling drops. Troupe droped a touchdown (much like the pass at GT) and there was another long pass that fell through the hands, not a bullet, more of a Manning pass. I am sure they will all get a fair shot, but I am pulling for Gray.

My pre-G-day ranking.
Gray
Murry
Zach

Just one DAWGS opinion.

pj

February 15th, 2010
5:06 pm

Maybe its just me, but isn’t having THREE highly touted Super 11 QB’s on our roster a really good thing? Obviously the experience factor isn’t a perfect situation, but they have all studied the system for over a year now and are clearly talented.

Most teams would love to have the “problem” we have.

DJ Shockley only got token snaps until his Senior season and that turned out alright. These guys are ALL more talented than Cox was. Whoever it is, we have weapons galore on that side of the ball – CMR may be taking his lumps, but developing QB’s CANT be one of them. He coached 2 guys who never did a thing in the pros and he helped them win Heismans. Stafford was the #1 pick. Shockley got drafted and won an SEC title.

As far as this position goes, I have absolute faith in our head coach.

blackout_dawg

February 15th, 2010
5:07 pm

Check that, I believe the correct spelling should have been “Murray”.

My bad

puppypoo

February 15th, 2010
5:10 pm

fact of the matter is none of them will be a clear cut #1 in spring or fall. they will all take turns blowing their shot and the pups will be 7-5, mired in mediocrity till CMR hits the road… I mean dadgum, hes the new age Bobby Bowden… w/out rings.

Eat and Tweet

February 15th, 2010
5:12 pm

Sorry Logan…. you might as well grab a clip board because Murray is the man. The interception in the Florida game was the straw bud.

puppypoo

February 15th, 2010
5:13 pm

I know it is impossible to go 7-5 because there would also be a bowl game thrown in there but I am not really good at math.

Tim

February 15th, 2010
5:14 pm

I’d say Logan is a long-shot at best. Realistically, he’s just another “arm” to go through spring practice with. Can’t really have only 2 QB’s going in spring. My guess is that after spring, he’ll move to WR, with the battle for #1 going through summer. If Murray can stay healthy, he’s the most likely to get the starting nod.

He was a great prospect coming out of High School, but he just hasn’t developed. He’s been in the program longer, but couldn’t even earn mop up duty last year for Cox. And that’s saying something. Had Murray not injured himself, I fully believe he would have been the #2 QB and gotten some more playing time. But being a true freshman and missing as much time as he did, it would have been a total waste to put him in.

He’s a heck of an athlete, and I think he can contribute to the team, just not as a QB. I wish him the best….

Sorry Guy!

February 15th, 2010
5:15 pm

Eat and Tweet – How about the kid threw one costly Int and that is the straw huh? Wow talk about a short leash. I hope Murray doesn’t throw any Int’s next season or you would want him to be pulled also huh?

Really?

February 15th, 2010
5:18 pm

Tim – you think Richt should have wasted Murray’s redshirt for some mop up duty? I am glad you aren’t coaching the team.

Eat and Tweet

February 15th, 2010
5:18 pm

sorry guy… I beg to differ, it wasn’t a costly interception it was a stupid one…..

Correction

February 15th, 2010
5:20 pm

I said Richt was stupid for playing Cox, any one of the 3 would have done as well, hard to do worse. The point was we would have an experienced QB this fall, when a much better
team will be on the field. Now QB will be the weakest link.

Tim

February 15th, 2010
5:21 pm

I don’t necessarily agree that the fact he had 2 INT’s last year is the “final straw”, but those were, bad, bad, bad INT’s. And against Tenn Tech? C’mon? Both of those were mental mistakes, things someone in the program for as long as him shouldn’t make.

I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, and competition makes everyone better, but he’s got a lot of ground to make up.

And I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock into G-Day stats, good or bad. That’s against a 2nd string defense (and everyone knows how bad our D was)

Sorry Guy!

February 15th, 2010
5:24 pm

Eat and Tweet – ok so hopefully Murray doesn’t throw a stupid Int next season or he should get pulled huh? I guess if you were coaching Stafford would have never made it more than a couple starts because I think we can all agree that he threw quite a few “stupid Int’s”.

Tim

February 15th, 2010
5:25 pm

Really? – That’s not what I meant. Way to not read what I wrote and jump to conclusions… Let’s try this again…

I said, IF Murray hadn’t gotten hurt, I think he would have been the #2 QB. And I think he would have gotten more than mop up duty. Actually, I think with the way the season went (and Cox went), he would have gotten significant playing time. However, getting hurt when he did as a true freshman, he got way too far behind the curve. At that point, I think Richt made the right decision and kept his redshirt.

Now, I’m glad you’re not coaching the team either. Having at least a 3rd grade reading comprehension is a pre-requisite.

Eat and Tweet

February 15th, 2010
5:29 pm

Sorry guy… dude give it a rest ! Besides Logan needs to hit the weight room. Too skinny, tooth pick arms and legs…..

Really?

February 15th, 2010
5:30 pm

Correction – this isn’t the NFL buddy. You don’t play a kid one season in hopes to be a better team the following year and basically tell all the seniors on your team we are giving up on this season but hopefully we will be better next season. Sorry all you seniors won’t be around but thanks for all the hard work. You can get away with giving up on a season in the NFL and making moves to make your team better for the next season because each player is making quite a bit of money to show up every day. You play the kids that give you the best chance to win football games and that is why Cox played.

Go Dogs

February 15th, 2010
5:31 pm

Eat and Tweet

“The interception in the Florida game was the straw bud”

Seriously? He was thrown in the UF game cold in the 3rd, DEEP in our own territory. The first throw was into 3 man coverage with a UF/NFL DB salivating back there. Then the Spikes pick6. I blame Bobo for that. (Sorry fellas) Should have just kept it on the ground until he had some breathing room. That was a pretty tough situation….

Again, I remember the 50 yard strike on the numbers in last years G-Day…..it was awesome!

Sorry Guy!

February 15th, 2010
5:32 pm

Eat and Tweet – I apoligize for making sense in my post and “I will give it a rest” just for you.

Correction

February 15th, 2010
5:32 pm

Tim,

I agree Cox played poorly, what was Richt thinking not getting 1 QB some experience for this year?

Tim

February 15th, 2010
5:35 pm

Go Dogs – I agree, that was a lousy situation to be put in against UF and their D. As boneheaded of a throw as that might have been, that was definitely on Bobo. You can’t put a guy with 0 experience, backed up that far against the #1 D in the land.

Correction

February 15th, 2010
5:36 pm

Really?

Do you really think Gray would have lost more than 5 games?

Eat and Tweet

February 15th, 2010
5:36 pm

Go Dawgs…. you forgotten that the 50 yard strike was against you know who’s defense. A lot of QB’s were able to do that against UGA last year. Next !

Eat and Tweet

February 15th, 2010
5:38 pm

Oh come on people…. How about the Texas QB thrown into the National Championship game. Now THATS REAL PRESSURE.

Sorry Guy!

February 15th, 2010
5:39 pm

Eat and Tweet – It is apparent that you never played football.

puppypoo

February 15th, 2010
5:39 pm

did not know you were that interested in my bowl pick as well, thought the regular season predictions would get the point across. But now, by popular demand…

here it is, the official puppy poo 2010 UGA leghumper bowl prediction.

drummrooollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll….

Painting Shreveport Red and Black… again, w/ a L for a 7-6 finish.

So funny you leg humpers actually read this nonsense I write, quit wasting your time… and just keep those panties bunched, noone is going to pick the CMR wedgie anytime soon.

Quality not quantity, 3 average unproven QBs will not equal 1 good QB.

Tim

February 15th, 2010
5:39 pm

Honestly, I truly believe that Cox gave us the best chance to win, as Richt said time and time again last year. This is just my opinion though.

Murray got hurt, and that slowed his progress. Mett has a high ceiling, but was very raw coming out of HS, so he wasn’t going to be ready. Gray just hasn’t progressed in his time here, and a lot of that I put on Richt/Bobo because they kept playing around with him on Special teams, and that took time away from his QB work. Did we really need to waste his time/talent doing all those fair catches?

All that said, he really had no choice other to stick with Cox, as painful as that was to watch…

Go Dogs

February 15th, 2010
5:40 pm

Eat and Tweet : True…..but it was still a long strike and it was beautiful!

puppypoo

February 15th, 2010
5:42 pm

‘what could have been?’ = life as a leghumper.

you guys do realize 1980 was 30 years ago and you havent been nationally relevant since?

Eat and Tweet

February 15th, 2010
5:43 pm

Go dogs… I concur…. it was a pretty strike… I was there….

Really?

February 15th, 2010
5:43 pm

Correction -It is possible, I am pretty sure Cox wasn’t responsible for all 5 losses by himself. He may have lost a couple games for us but he also won a couple games for us. As I am sure you are aware our defense was pretty bad.