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.)
- 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:
Monday: Defensive line.
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