ATHENS –- One thing Georgia’s football team absolutely cannot afford is an injury to quarterback Aaron Murray. And yet Murray’s competitive instinct is to squeeze every yard from every play – an instinct that sometimes puts him on the receiving end of ferocious hits at the end of runs.
“Yeah, they’re alarming when you hear them on the sideline,” said Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. “In the booth, you don’t hear those collisions.
“He’s just got to be a smarter runner. We definitely like what’s doing, making plays out of the pocket, but when you’re scrambling on first and second down get what you can and get down. I can understand a guy going for it on third down or when he’s in the red zone trying to get in the end zone. . . . He’s just got to be smarter and pick his spots.”
And how does a young quarterback learn to pick his spots?
“He just keeps getting hit,” Bobo said. “He’s a competitive guy and thinks he can make something happen every play. He’ll learn. Hopefully he’ll learn before he gets knocked out of a game.”
In theory, at least, Murray agrees with Bobo. In a game, though, his competitive spirit tends to take over. And, hey, he sort of likes the contact.
“I mean, I grew up playing defense,” said Murray, a safety on his high school team in 10th grade. “So I kind of miss the contact a little bit, I guess.
“I know I should be a little bit smarter. I’ve talked to Coach [Mark] Richt and Coach Bobo about getting down and getting out of bounds.”
He’s even worked on his slide technique.
“This year is the first time I’ve ever slid in my life,” Murray said. “I did it two times at Colorado. It’s definitely something I need to continue doing, something I need to have ingrained in my mind.”
So far, Murray has been able to quickly jump up from all of the hits, including, in Richt’s words, “some pretty brutal licks.”
“You never want to lay down on the ground and give [the defense] the satisfaction,” Murray said. “You pop back up and you get back in the huddle, and it reassures everyone that you’re fine.”