Quarterbacks: Dogs need a solid (and injury-free) season from Aaron Murray

(Fifth in a summertime series looking at Georgia’s football team by position.)

TODAY: QUARTERBACKS

  • Returning starter: Nope.
  • Depth chart: Redshirt freshman Aaron Murray is No. 1, would-be wide receiver Logan Gray No. 2 and true freshman Hutson Mason No. 3.
  • Attrition: Joe Cox (24 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions as last season’s starter) graduated, and redshirt freshman Zach Mettenberger was dismissed from the team.
  • Key fact: The three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster have thrown a total of 12 collegiate passes (all by Gray, a junior).
  • Key fact II: Murray was rated the No. 3 quarterback prospect in the nation coming out of high school and was named MVP of the prestigious Elite 11 quarterbacks camp.
  • Key questions: How smoothly will Murray make the transition to No. 1 QB? Will he be able to heed his coach’s don’t-try-to-be-a-hero refrain and protect the football as Georgia tries to dramatically reduce last season’s turnovers (28)?  And after being sidelined from throwing in practice for four weeks last season because of triceps and forearm tendinitis, will he be able to stay healthy? (As for the latter, Murray has said he’s more focused on “shoulder maintenance” this year to keep the arm strong and fresh.)
  • Recent developments: It was no surprise that Murray emerged from a three-way competition in spring practice as the No. 1 quarterback, but his grip on the job was unexpectedly tightened by two post-spring developments. First, Mettenberger was kicked off the team shortly before pleading guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery. Next, Gray considered transferring before electing to remain with the Dogs and divide his time between quarterback and wide receiver. (It remains unclear, even to the coaches, exactly how that QB/WR juggling act is going to play out.)
  • Outlook: Murray is a smart, hard-working and very talented player for whom Georgia won a recruiting battle against Florida and many other schools. He passed for 4,013 yards and 51 touchdowns as a junior at Tampa’s Plant High School and returned early from a broken fibula and dislocated ankle to guide the team to a state championship as a senior.  So his credentials are strong. The only thing is, he’ll be a (redshirt) freshman starting at quarterback in the SEC, no easy task. The key to his season –- and perhaps Georgia’s — is whether he can minimize mistakes while growing into the job.  With returning starters at all other positions on offense, Georgia needs Murray to be solid, not necessarily spectacular.
  • Your turn: What say you about the quarterbacks?

———-

Links to previous entries in this series:

Running backs.

Tight ends.

Wide receivers.

Offensive line.

Monday: Defensive line.


Please follow @ajcuga on Twitter for the latest on the Bulldogs.

361 comments Add your comment

St. Clarkston

June 18th, 2010
6:18 am

Don’t forget to buy Tim Tucker’s new book “Stating the Obvious”.

Buzz Kill

June 18th, 2010
6:33 am

How is it that Mett get’s caught with someone in So. Ga. and LaMey get’s caught with someone in No. Car. while Murray goes to #1??? Is he related to Gotti? Just Asking.

Real Dawg

June 18th, 2010
6:36 am

As Dawg fans lets give Murray a chance to make his mark b4 “kicking” him out of Athens. I think he’ll be fine.

DMR

June 18th, 2010
6:38 am

Other schools, even those in the SEC have been able to work around the youth and inexperience of a quarterback. That said, the schools that have done it successfully have done it with great line play, a solid running game, good special teams, and a dominating defense. If all other aspects of Georgia’s game improve from last season; especially the kicking game (kickoff team in particular) and Georgia’s give away/take away (the defense creating turnovers) then Murray will not feel “forced” to play hero. He can be the game “manager” Georgia needs until his comfort level really grows being an SEC QB.

Palm City Dawg

June 18th, 2010
6:38 am

The Bulldog Nation and the sportswriters need to relax concerning Aaron Murray’s ability to take the Dawgs to Atlanta. He is an exceptional leader with great vision and a hell of an arm with a quick release.

Dawgbreath

June 18th, 2010
6:39 am

He’s not Matthew Stafford. Lower your expectations.

ForsythDawg

June 18th, 2010
6:41 am

Hopefully the opener will be enough for Murray to feel comfortable. Spurrier and Co. are chomping at the bit for some payback.

chazzo

June 18th, 2010
6:45 am

Murray will do fine. He will be an excellent QB.

Dawgforlife

June 18th, 2010
7:01 am

pound it…pound it…throw it on 3rd and 2 and he’ll be fine…his job should be to not lose the game…let the other 10 returning starters and all that depth help win.

Dawg4life

June 18th, 2010
7:01 am

Some of you dawgs need to get a grip. Just because you read a stat line from a spring scrimmage, you think that Murray isn’t capable of running this team. As Tim states, he was the #3 QB prospect in the nation. What Tim left out was the fact that Murray was the #1 overall recruit until he broke his leg. He comes back early from injury, and has a 333 yd, 3td game in the State Championship. He is a film room junkie, and has a good head on his shoulders. He is legit, period…

Dawgbreath- As Tim mentioned, Murray was voted the MVP of the prestigious Elite 11 camp. A class that included Matt Barkley, Garrett Gilbert, and Mett. Well, the year before, Murray was invited to be a ball boy as a junior at the camp. Murray beat out all of the contestants in the camp in the accuracy challenge. This, of course, is unofficial due to the fact that Murray was a junior. His Elite 11 performance is ranked as the #2 performance in the camp’s history behind one Matthew Stafford, and you can only imagine the QB’s that have attended that camp. You can find this info on rivals. I know there is an enormous difference in competing in a camp vs. the SEC, but at least he deserves a chance before you start making comparisons.

Pi$$onaDawg

June 18th, 2010
7:03 am

Soon, I will be driving past you in traffic in my Lexus!!!! HAHA Thanks Sonny.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

June 18th, 2010
7:17 am

Buzz kill – it’s simple Murray has a girl friend and doesn’t go to bars or partys – sorry but no conspiracy here pal.

Flo-Ri-Duh!

June 18th, 2010
7:19 am

PI$$ – I forgive you for being ignorant and stupid – a bad combination.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

June 18th, 2010
7:23 am

honestly- this is the best option for the Dawgs. We need to get someone in early and get experienced, especially in the SEC. If we started Gray, it would be like Cox all over again- meaning, play 1 year, then done. This way, we have Murray & Mason for awhile, plus LeMay coming next year. I think Murray will have his ups & downs but overall, he should be a solid QB, especially the offensive returning starters.

GaDawg

June 18th, 2010
7:23 am

Just in, Lexus pulled over and Driver arrested for driving on a suspended license,film at eleven

Joe

June 18th, 2010
7:31 am

He will be fine…..key to season: Protect the Football….plain and simple…..

Douglas

June 18th, 2010
7:35 am

The coaches should learn from how they treated Joe Cox in the first few games last year: they played too conservative with him. They need to allow Murray more freedom to open up the game.

turkeycaller

June 18th, 2010
7:39 am

Floriduh, You are squealer form the work detail aren’t you? Remember, you had to call all of us your war daddy.

One, two, free, fo, fi, them der Gator don't take no jive!

June 18th, 2010
7:47 am

“It was no surprise that Murray emerged from a three-way competition in spring practice as the No. 1 quarterback”. That’s somewhat untrue. I think if you are totally honest, most felt that Mettenberger was the No. 1 after the G-day game.
That being said, I think the young man should do fine. He’ll have some “rookie” plays throughout the year. That’s to be expected. If he can limit those and maintain his composure during critical situations he should be an upgrade over last year. Looks to have a bright future. Just don’t expect miracles his first year.
Good luck to ya’ll. Hope to see ya in Jax at 8-0!

georgia87

June 18th, 2010
7:53 am

My concern is that Bobo will sell out to the run. I promise you that defensive coordinators have already decided that they are going to make Murray beat them. In our mania to “protect the football”, we may put the kid in a lot of third and long situations and make him look bad. Obviously, the running game is the strength of this team. But it has to have a passing game threat to be effective.

Coaches Prep

June 18th, 2010
7:58 am

So what’s the difference in starting Murray as a red-shirt freshman and Cox as a 5th year senior, neither one had any game experiance.

DYNAMICBIGBOY

June 18th, 2010
8:03 am

Hey Gator Jive, it really doesn’t matter that most thought Mettenberger was the best. We didn’t see but one real scrimmage, and that’s all the spring game is. From all accounts Murray had been the most consistent all spring. Jim Donnan said last year that Murray was the best QB on the team and should have been starting over Cox. Murray is going to surprise a lot of people and he has been the coaches number one for sometime.
t

destin dawg

June 18th, 2010
8:10 am

Richt is a great QB.. coach….he needs to get back to coaching !! a balanced attack with experience all around… RB’s, TEs, OL… Murray will be fine… help will come from Big DDDDDEEEEEE with new improved coaching crew… we will benefit from turnovers…. Hutson Mason gets on board early for a true freshman just in case !!!

dap01

June 18th, 2010
8:14 am

I think that it is sad that UGA has to pacify Logan Gray and tell him “we will practice you at WR”. Logan needs to concentrate on being a backup QB in the SEC not practicing to be the #7 option at WR.

What is the biggest need of the Dawgs? Option # 7 at WR or Option # 2 at QB?

Logan needs a reality check.

Dawglasville

June 18th, 2010
8:27 am

The South Carolina game is sooooo huge this year. I wish it was the third or fourth game.

Tim

June 18th, 2010
8:28 am

If Murray can do what Cox couldn’t, avoid turnovers, he’ll be fine. He has the luxury of a veteran O-Line (which stafford never had as a freshman, or at all really) , experienced receivers (including the best in the nation AJ Green), and a solid running back tandem. This was said about Cox, and he didn’t do it, but if Murray can just manage the game and avoid the turnovers and dumb mistakes, we’ll be fine. He’s got the talent and the work ethic, let’s hope it translates onto the field.

Tim

June 18th, 2010
8:29 am

destin dawg – you are right. And I think CMR realized this as he has stated he will be more involved in the offense, in particular QB meetings this season than he has lately. He wanted to back off some to focus on the overall program and let Bobo run it more, but I think he realized that wasn’t working and he’s been in the meetings more and working with them more.

JoeFann

June 18th, 2010
8:31 am

georgia87–Agree the DCs will want to make Murray beat them. But I expect Richt and Bobo to pass a LOT in the first (warmup) game. I’d almost guarantee the first play from scrimmage will be a pass. A quick out or screen to get him comfortable and then a long one toward AJ. They’ll stay vanilla and in the second quarter run ‘em back to Louisiana. While they don’t want to show too much, they DO want to show off the arm, if only to make them game plan for it. Expect to see Murray show all the throws in the first game. Once the conference schedule arrives, watch ‘em stay low behind the road graders.

Go Dawgs!

Concrete Pete

June 18th, 2010
8:41 am

And the Techies like to get on here and call UGA players criminals and thugs. You see the headlines this morning? A bunch of Yellow Jackets attacked a police officer.

RxDawg

June 18th, 2010
8:48 am

Too much rests on Aaron. BUT, if the worse happens I still believe in Logan Grey to come in and get the job done. I believe that we have enough talent surrounding him that we could still be a decent football team without Murray.

RxDawg

June 18th, 2010
8:49 am

Pete, a lot of techies live in glass houses.

One, two, free, fo, fi, them der Gator don't take no jive!

June 18th, 2010
8:57 am

RxDawg and Pete,
Was it a K-9 officer? That would explain it. LOL

17 of 20

June 18th, 2010
8:57 am

Murray is GATOR-BAIT.

Dawg '94

June 18th, 2010
9:02 am

Murray would have started by week 5 last year if he was healthy. He will do great.

How2fish

June 18th, 2010
9:03 am

Buzz Kill WTF Lemay is getting ready to (hopefully) start his senior year in H.S…you actually have to be IN college and not still in H.S. to play college football..have Reggie Ball explain that to you.

RxDawg

June 18th, 2010
9:04 am

Douglas

June 18th, 2010
7:35 am

Did you watch last years Arkansas game? Look, Joe had some problems, but a LOT of his problems came from having a horrific running game for the first half of the season.

AltamahaDawg

June 18th, 2010
9:11 am

gator bait in this case means, the lures you guys tried to attract him over with to be the next Qb At FL.

Paddy

June 18th, 2010
9:19 am

Murray will be more than fine in this offense. The key for me is for our players on both sides of the ball to play with discipline and not put Murray in long yardage situations because of stupid penelties. The real good teams still play with recless abandon but don’t let momentum slip away at crucial times in the game with being stupid on rule violations. One last item; keep the directional kicks to the bare minimum, thank you very much!

JMac 01203

June 18th, 2010
9:31 am

you are correct Dawgbreath, Murray is not Stafford, and we all know that Stafford could not get you to Atlanta. And yes, he brings rather impressive stats with him, but those were in HIGH SCHOOL. Not all high schoolers that bring impressive stats to college turn out to be the next Tim Tebow, John Elway, Dan Marino, or Hershel Walker. Some of those impressive high schoolers turn out to be the next Joe Cox. I remember a couple of years ago when all the talk was about Mitch Mustain, now buried on the depth chart at USC. I also remember a highly touted QB that came to Athens with great stats named Blake Barnes. Did he ever get off the bench? My point is that Murray was a great HIGH SCHOOL QB. He has proven absolutely NOTHING in college. Let’s see what he can do against college defenses like S. Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, and others before singing his praises.

Eisendawg

June 18th, 2010
9:37 am

Great article Tim! Thanks!

meh

June 18th, 2010
9:46 am

I think Murray will do just fine. We have a veteran line to protect him and some great running backs to take some of the load off him. As long he stays calm and doesn’t try to do too much Mr. Murray will have a good season. GO DAWGS!!!!

Gatorbait 17-3

June 18th, 2010
9:51 am

Here is yet another example of how Mark Richt can’t make the tough decisions required
of a champion head coach by allowing Gray to get half his reps at QB and half at wide
receiver, and in both positions he is a backup. Richt needed to come clean with Logan and tell him, “we really need you at QB—we have no one if Murray gets hurt.” So work hard at QB and if Murray fails to perform or is hurt, you will be the Man.

Richt is trying to split the baby in half, and that never works out. If Logan decided to transfer, then you could give your new freshman QB all the backup reps, after all he is only a year behind Murray and he too has never thrown a pass in college.

Richt maybe the only coach of a major school that allows a player to dictate what position they will play. Good grief that is sad.

Me

June 18th, 2010
9:55 am

I have no doubt that Murray can lead the Dawgs back to Atlanta…to the Chick-Fil-A Bowl…maybe.

Murray the Midget

June 18th, 2010
9:57 am

Gee, I hope the fan’s patience doesnt run “short”.

gdawginkalamazoo

June 18th, 2010
9:57 am

Good to know Dawg4Life. I though that McElroy did a fine job in his first year starting for the Tide last year. He had a good OL and talent at the WR and TB positions. I think if Murray can manage the games and take care of the rock the O will be fine. I hope Richt helps to game plan a little more and keeps going to the QB meetings. The thing that wonder about is this Mason kid. First we weren’t going to offer a QB, upseting that kid that ended up at UT with the D’ricky. Then we end up offering Mason. I wonder what Richt or Gardner was thinking. Maybe something there as to Mason’s capabilities? Regardless, given some time under center I think Gray will be fine if Murray gets injured.

DawginLex

June 18th, 2010
10:03 am

Richt did pretty well with d greene and I expect the same with murray

Ron Mexico

June 18th, 2010
10:04 am

A lot of the problem last year were the issues with the running game. Once we yanked Samuel, and went with King and Ealey the team played much better.

CPO Dawg

June 18th, 2010
10:06 am

I concur with meh. I believe the same thing that the Coaches are saying. Utilize the talent around him and all he has to do is minimize the mistakes. He has a veteran offensive line to give him time in decision making and he has a great running combo in Ealy and King to help keep the pressure off of him. If the TEAM rallies around him and plays to their potiential he will have excellent results. As long as he can sustain drives so the offensive doen`t go 3 and out every posession and wear out the defense. He will be fine… We`ll find out in 78 days. GO DAWGS!!

DAWGWALKER

June 18th, 2010
10:06 am

Dawg country,it’s time to start getting fired up for a great season,let’s stop the negative bs and comparisons on our qb’s from past to present.From 53 offers,it came down to two schools,Ga and Fla,we just better be thinkful,let’s put the shoe on the other foot,let’s prepare to defend againts our qb,first his mobility,quickness,pockett presence, his ability to find open space, clean air,arm strength,quick release,incredible ability to throw on the run, running left or right. Sounds like a whole bunch of fun doesn’t it. Aaron Murray thank you for becoming a dawg.Dawg nation let’s get behind our qb and be thankfull he’s on our side.

run the ball

June 18th, 2010
10:10 am

The only way we will win a NC is to a power running team. It’s not hard. Just hand the ball off more that you throw it. I would much rather have 3rd and four than 3rd and 10. But…in order to be a power running team you have to believe that you can run the ball. I don’t think Bobo is patient enough with the running game, so…we lead the SEC in ints. Murray can not win us a championship, but the other 10 players on offense can.