ATHENS — Georgia’s football team opened preseason camp Monday with its most experienced quarterback a redshirt freshman who has never played a snap in a college game.
“That quarterback room has got to be the youngest maybe in the history of college football,” coach Mark Richt said. “It’s a little bit scary in there.”
There are four quarterbacks in the room: Aaron Murray, who won the starting job in spring practice, and three backups who were still in high school in the spring.
The young quarterbacks moved from the meeting room to the practice field on an overcast Monday afternoon, with the redshirt freshman Murray taking the first snaps, followed by true freshmen Hutson Mason, Parker Welch and Greg Bingham. Mason, from Marietta’s Lassiter High, is on scholarship, while Welch and Bingham are walk-ons from Wayne County and Columbus, respectively.
Four quarterbacks. Zero college experience.
“Coach Bobo is really going to earn his pay,” said Richt, referring to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo.
“I feel a little bad for Coach Bobo,” Murray said. “But he has, like, five kids under the age of 5, so he’s a little experienced dealing with [youth]. Hopefully he can keep his hair.”
“I told him I’m probably going to be bald after this camp,” Bobo said.
“But I’ll tell you what,” Bobo added after Monday’s practice, “those young guys did a nice job and a lot of credit goes to Aaron and how he prepared those guys this summer.”
The thinness at quarterback results from attrition that occurred after spring practice. Zach Mettenberger was kicked off the team shortly before pleading guilty to misdemeanor sexual battery, and Logan Gray was granted his request to play wide receiver after being slotted No. 2 behind Murray on the QB depth chart and briefly c”
Gray, a junior, opened preseason camp Monday as a full-fledged receiver, although Richt told him to stay mentally prepared to return to quarterback if needed later in camp.
“Once we get into this thing a little bit further, we’ll know,” Richt said. A lot will depend, he indicated, on how Mason progresses as Murray’s potential backup.
In practice No. 1, Bobo said he was impressed with Mason’s “command in the huddle . . . and the way he carried himself out there.”
The dearth of experience at quarterback might be inconsequential –- provided Murray stays healthy, avoids the triceps tendinitis that bothered him last fall, and plays well.
Although he has never played in a college game, Murray has been in the Georgia program since January 2009, going through two years of spring practice and a redshirt season and earning the confidence of his teammates and coaches along the way.
“Aaron is really doing a very good job,” Richt said, “and he knows the deal extremely well.”
“I’ve never seen anyone who watches as much film, especially at an early age,” tight end Aron White said. “He picks things up pretty fast. . . . He’s always at the front of the pack, being vocal and making sure guys are working. He’s going to do just fine.”
Still, Murray understands if Bulldog Nation finds the absence of experience in the quarterback room a bit scary.
“I mean, I’m not scared,” said Murray, who trusts his veteran offensive line to keep him healthy and on the field. “I don’t think I’ll be hit too much this year. Just from the guys we have up front, I think they’ll do a tremendous job of keeping my jersey clean.
“From an outsider’s point of view, it’s probably kind of scary knowing it’s just three younger guys and me. But those three younger guys are working their tails off right now, doing a tremendous job of making sure they’re prepared.”