Quarterbacks: Offense appears to be in good hands with Aaron Murray`

Fifth in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 football team by position groups. . . .

In Aaron Murray the Georgia Bulldogs trust, and for good reason after a phenomenal freshman season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

In Aaron Murray the Georgia Bulldogs trust, and for good reason after a phenomenal freshman season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin/bsanderlin@ajc.com)

THE QUARTERBACKS

  • Returning starter: Aaron Murray (So., 6-1, 211).
  • Others to watch: The competition to become Murray’s chief backup should be a good one between sophomore Hutson Mason, a lightly-recruited player who earned a scholarship offer with a record-breaking season as a high school senior, and true freshman Christian LeMay, an elite prospect of national renown who enrolled early in order to get into the mix.
  • Key fact: Rarely is it that a sophomore quarterback is so roundly regarded as is Murray, but he appears to be gaining momentum as a consensus pick for preseason first-team All-SEC. His freshman season coupled with a blue-collar work ethic have excited the masses about the possibilities for improvement. As the meticulous researcher Phil Steele pointed out, Murray as a freshman had a higher higher pass efficiency rating (154.5) than Matthew Stafford did as a junior at Georgia, and Stafford ended up being the No. 1 overall pick in the subsequent NFL draft. Murray completed 61 percent of his passes for 3,049 yards passing — second all-time for an SEC freshamn — had a 24 to 8 TD to interception ratio and tied D.J. Shockley for UGA’s all-time record for TD responsibility with 28. Meanwhile, Murray did his best work at the end of the regular season, passing for 544 yards and 6 TDs with no interceptions against Auburn and Georgia Tech.
  • Key fact II: The battle for backup duties is going to be interesting. Mason (6-3, 196) was solid in very limited as a true freshman, appearing in four games and completing 9-of-17 passes, including a TD pass on the very first attempt of his career (only the third QB in college football history to do that, joining Georgia Tech’s Taylor Bennett and Southern Cal’s Matt Leinart). LeMay (6-2, 195) put up some eye-popping passing numbers as a high school junior — 68.5 completion percentage, 3,296 yards, 48 TDs, 2 INTs — while leading Butler High to a 16-0 record and state championship. But he missed his entire senior season while protesting a controversial disciplinary suspension and the effect of the season off is unknown.
  • Key questions: How will Murray perform without A.J. Green as a main target? Murray often joked that all he had to do was throw the ball high in the 6-4 Green’s general direction to complete a pass. He won’t have that luxury after Green was plucked away with the No. 4 pick in the NFL draft. But while Green caught 57 balls in nine games, Murray did manage to complete 152 passes to 18 other receivers.
  • Recent developments: Murray was named to the Maxwell Award watch list for 2011.
  • Outlook: Outstanding. What a difference a year makes. Coming into the 2010 season the Bulldogs had no quarterbacks with any experience. A year later they are relying on a 13-game starter and Freshman All-SEC selection in Murray, a tested backup in Mason and a bluechip prospect in LeMay. Freshman walkons Parker Welch and Greg Bingham provide additional depth.
  • Your turn: What’s your take on Georgia’s quarterbacks?

PREVIOUS POSITION BREAKDOWNS:

July 6 — Running backs

July 5 — Tight ends

July 2 — Wide receivers

July 1 — Offensive line

494 comments Add your comment

Destin Dawg

July 7th, 2011
5:51 am

Destin Dawg

July 7th, 2011
5:56 am

give Hutson Mason some experience this Year !! Murray plays aggressive… may get injured… hope not… Mason is a great passer… good leader… 6′ 3″…. Lemay could be a red shirt.. if not needed.. Go Dawgs.. this is Our YEAR !!

Rusty

July 7th, 2011
6:26 am

Randy

July 7th, 2011
6:30 am

Georgia has never had a problem with play makers and they always recruited well. Georgia’s problem is above that level.

DawgFan11

July 7th, 2011
6:31 am

I agree totally. Without Green,Murray will spread the ball around more this year than last. We will also see alot of Murray to Charles,the best TE in the SEC. 2011 the year of the Dawgs!!

Rusty

July 7th, 2011
6:32 am

If Murray continues to thrive, we will see him two more seasons and he will bolt to the NFL. Lemay has already redshirted and is the key to the future. YouTube Lemay. I would not be surprised to see Lemay unseat Mason as #2 and Mason transfer…Parker Welch doesn’t get enough praise and enough coverage. He is solid.

Jeremy

July 7th, 2011
6:59 am

I think Aaron will be improved but with the O line being shaky this season and no AJ, I get a little worried. Some of these fresmen coming in will have to step up. Caleb and Isaiah are going to have to be solid also for Aaron to do well.

GATA.

East Repeat

July 7th, 2011
7:00 am

Where is my post?

SugarHillDawg

July 7th, 2011
7:01 am

This article should be taken with a grain of salt. With the O-line situation as it is, all bets are off.We got five decent O-lineman but NONE of them can get hurt or we are in HUGE trouble.Hey Rusty, I’m sorry but I guess I missed the game where Welch played. What are you basing that on??

Paddy

July 7th, 2011
7:03 am

Rusty…How did LeMay redshirt. Didn’t he enroll at UGA in Jan, 2011? Or am confusing him with another player? Too early to think straight before my first cup of joe.

East Repeat

July 7th, 2011
7:04 am

Huh, only post benign comments? Any post about football does not get listed?

East Repeat

July 7th, 2011
7:06 am

UGA is great and Murray is the best QB in SEC.

tndawg

July 7th, 2011
7:07 am

Murry will be solid. Plenty of great back-ups. But, I am not feeling good about this year. I have been a dawg fan since Dooley`s second year as coach. I have always felt good about an up coming season no matter what the talent I no longer feel good about the dawgs. There is a problem in Athens that goes beyond the players. This will just be another heart breaking season. It hurts to say it but it is true.

East Repeat

July 7th, 2011
7:07 am

What if I have a negative about UGA? No posts allowed that are negative to UGA?

FL dawg

July 7th, 2011
7:09 am

No Athens, Saban means Satan in Tuscaloosa. Go there and look it up on campus. Sorry I forgot, thry decided to run plumbing to “Satan’s” RV. I.E.no library.

mgdawg

July 7th, 2011
7:17 am

Murray had an outstanding season last year; however, he had the best group of WR that UGA has seen in the richt era imo. Not only could he throw it in aj’s general direction and have him snag it, he could do the same thing with durham. I do believe he will have a very strong year and prove that he is the best qb in the sec though. One thing good about him I think also is we don’t have to worry about him leaving early, mainly because he doesn’t have nfl height or that strong of an arm. I’m not saying he won’t be a nfl quarterback, but the qb’s that leave early and get drafted high usually have atleast one of those two things.

Larry

July 7th, 2011
7:21 am

If Aaron Murray is 6′1″ he was measured in Cowboy Boots, LOL!

Regardless, this hard working, intelligent QB could turn out to be like another highly successful, shorter QB, Drew Brees or he could be an Eric Zier…time will tell.

For sure, we can be proud of this kid representting a Georgia University unlike the thief and cheater who was just drafted #1 by the Carolina Panthers. Only the goobers and bubbas with little or no standards or values living just west of Columbus, Georgia could be proud of this dolt!

complacency

July 7th, 2011
7:25 am

Now if only there was a decent coach to run it all.

RomeDawg

July 7th, 2011
7:25 am

I hope LeMay has a “Shockley” attitude because I see a lot of similarities between Murray/LeMay as there was to Green/Shockley. It is a case of can a super athletic athelete beat out a winner.

dawgerbrown

July 7th, 2011
7:29 am

Really hope everything goes well and we don’t have to put LeMay in. Would love to see him redshirt so we can get two solid years out of him as a starter.

old time dog

July 7th, 2011
7:29 am

Should be okay with Murray. Did pretty good as a freshman. eYe felt the OL did a fair job of protecting him but in some cases his reads were slow causing problems. Youth and he’s still young with an awful lot left to learn. Seems to go about the position with good work ethic. Mason hopefully is given opportunities to play often as it would be smart to have a backup who isn’t totally green.

FL dawg

July 7th, 2011
7:32 am

I’m happy with Murray as our QB. He knows how to play and his compettitive nature will effect that entire offense. I don’t know and don’t care ’bout his NFL qualifications. Maybe that’s why the past couple of yrs were all hope and no heart.

trupert

July 7th, 2011
7:35 am

Aaron Murray, the best in the SEC. Go dawgs!!!

Rod

July 7th, 2011
7:37 am

mgdawg

Murray doesn’t have a strong arm???? Guess you didn’t see him throw the ball 70 yards down the field on the last play vs. Arkansas.

[...] Georgia offense appears to be in good hands with Aaron Murray [...]

JB

July 7th, 2011
7:46 am

If Murray has a good year, I see LeMay rethinking his decision to come to Georgia. someone tells me that the Dawgs have the inside track on some stud for 2012,2013?, but I’m sure a lot of that depends on Richt’s future. I doubt Murray goes early, so that gives him 3 more seasons to QB the Dawgs. Lemay ( and his Daddy) have big plans for him to become a pro, and sitting and watching Murray for 3 three seasons ain’t in those plans IMO. Go Dawgs

RedandBlackDAWG

July 7th, 2011
7:46 am

Mr. Murray will have to run a controlled offense designed to keep the ball, and chip away a little at a time, until his running backs prove they can do the job, and his Ol works a couple of game together and gets cohesive. I would think that the receivers would also have to get some time in actual game situations in order to start feeling comfortable as well. He is a fine young man and can get the job done, but he is going to have to have his team mates step it up. With the first two games probably being the toughest two games on the schedule in my opinion, they are going to have to be ready. The defense is capable of dominating the game but they will need help from the offense. The offense can not afford to put the defense in bad situations, so the offense will have to play ball control and chip away at the opposing teams defense. The TE’s and running game will have to come into the game, ready to step it up. Forget the bombs for the first couple of games and play controlled. This will help your Ol out a lot and prevent over working them and possible injuries. I would think short passes and some solid running will go greatly towards the DAWGS success early on.
The defense, should use it’s size advantage and aggressiveness to keep Boise state off balance and keep the pressure on their excellent QB. They should be able to control Boise’s running game, making them one dimensional. SC presents a terrific runner but if he can’t plow through the middle of the line, he should find it harder to operate as the LB’s can be aggressive and contain him on the outside. SC also has a very good defense so quick controlled passes and runs will have to occupy them.
A well disciplined offense for the DAWGS can make the games both manageable and winnable. Georgia has the athletes but the experience level is the problem. It is up to the Offensive coach to design a game plan to utilize their skills and not use the games as a way to find out what works. He should already know that and use what is working at the present time to move the ball. Once the offensive unit is more seasoned, he can afford to open it up a bit. Murray can run the offense effectively with a solid, game plan and reasonable play calling.

Saban

July 7th, 2011
7:50 am

QB rattles too easy. Maybe 5 wins this season.

No bowl game.

Boise State 66 Dawgs 3

JB

July 7th, 2011
7:51 am

R&BDawg……………….Key words in your write up…” the offense coach must design a game plan”……………………..I was pumped until you brought me back to earth.

JB

July 7th, 2011
7:54 am

Wonder what the Tech folks think about the pre season write up Rival’s gave Tech? 65th with their bowl streak of 14 years doubtful. Ouch.

the dude

July 7th, 2011
7:54 am

ALL I KNOW IS UGA BETTER BEAT BOISE ST OR WERE IN DEEEEEPPPPP TROUBLE. SO LETS GATA. ITS CALLED MENTAL MO.

BirdDog

July 7th, 2011
7:56 am

I think this team has more leaders than it has since Greene and Pollack were here, starting with Murray.

JB

July 7th, 2011
7:57 am

Dawgs will have the better players and athletes on the field against Boise……..We’ll have to see if the coach’s have them prepared and a game plan to win.

bulldogmaniac

July 7th, 2011
7:58 am

Murray is “the man” and will be good this year!
Our running game will be better. We have Charles who is a beast, we just need a couple of wr’s to step up.

jeff w

July 7th, 2011
8:02 am

Clearly, this is Georgia Football’s best time of year: before ANY games have been played. Then, the first game of the season happens, and everything goes south.

old time dog

July 7th, 2011
8:02 am

RandBDawg…Good points and an accurate read on what probably will be reality. One thing though eYe think is that with Richt’s pro style offense and demeanor you won’t see a running game that chips away at an opponent. eYe hated seeing those long throws downfield last year that never developed into anything and those draws up the middle. Granted, there are times and situations where they can and will be effective but we tried to make them work a little too often. You mentioned the SC defense with good reason. That defense is a big reason SC should be a pretty good team over the course of the season. They appear to be pretty strong defensively.

Remarkable

July 7th, 2011
8:04 am

We have a very potent air attack. The wide receivers are good, the tight ends are great, the running backs can really catch and now we even have full backs who can run a route. Should be fun to watch.

the offense was in good hands with.....

July 7th, 2011
8:05 am

Joe T.

The Staff infection.

Joe Cox.

Any SEC titles in that mix.
that’s what I thought.

till they strap it on and the whistle blows….it’s all talk.

DreamComeTrueTeam

July 7th, 2011
8:10 am

Lemay definitely has plans to try and get into the pros. His daddy will worry the crap out of the university until he gets to showcase his boy or else they will try to divide the team with their demands and eventually the kid moves on. Wait and see. Ga. has had too many stars in their own mind.

Greg

July 7th, 2011
8:11 am

LeMay’s situation is going to be interesting. After Murray had the kind of Freshman year he had, you’d think LeMay might have had 2nd thoughts about coming to UGA. After sitting out his SR year in high school, it’s going to be difficult for him to RS this year but that’s what he needs to do. Tyen again, it’s not inconceivable that LeMay could unseat Murray next year, especially if we have another mediocre season in 2011.

Nice to have 2 young qb’s of their quality.

Poopdawg

July 7th, 2011
8:11 am

Redandblackdawg, “forget the bomb the 1st 2 games and play ball control offense.”. I understand your thinking but totally disagree. Like prior years opening games( okla st 09, SC 10 2nd game) Richt and Bobo was thinking the same dam thing. You take what a defense gives you and that can’t be pigeoned holed in a game plan. UGA needs to come out and be ready to compete game 1. Go Dawgs!

PT

July 7th, 2011
8:13 am

The better Georgia can run the ball, the better Murray’s passing numbers will be. Georgia can’t afford to be one dimensional.

FL dawg

July 7th, 2011
8:15 am

I say bring it on, our offense can and will compete. Last yrs games against Fl and that semmi pro team woulda been wins with a DEFENSE.

old time dog

July 7th, 2011
8:23 am

College football by it’s time structures is a revolving door. eYe have noticed that a few, just a few, coaches have a tendency to display pretty fair evidence each year that they know how not only to establish a program but keep it in place. They make sure the shelves are stocked with desirable items anyone would want. They also know how to make sure they get utilized. If a head coach has weaknesses then he must be smart enough and organizational enough to surround himself with assistants who have strengths in those weak areas. Maybe the biggest part is someone who can get all these glorified me’s playing as we’s. We may not have what we need if you look at the big picture. Not saying this to cast doubts but saying what appears to be the truth.

DawginLex

July 7th, 2011
8:23 am

Alabammer is the one with QB issues-BIG TIME

I see Penn state rattling McCarron and sims on the road in a laugher.
Arkansas will destroy Alabammer as well

As far as the Dawgs are concerned:

Murray needs to keep improving, which he will but, he needs to win a big game. He hasn’t finished one yet for us other than Tech and he really didn’t finish that one.

Lead us from behind to a win.
That’s what he needs to do.

If I’m richt, there is no way I redshirt Lemay if he can contribute in the least little bit. Richt doesn’t have the luxury of waiting a year. He must win now. Mason seems capable but I’m betting Lemay beats him out.

sandman053

July 7th, 2011
8:24 am

I think our defense will be fine. With Boise State’s center only weighing in at 280, those two big 345+ NT’s will make sure he has a good view of the roof of the Dome.

Timbodog

July 7th, 2011
8:29 am

Murray is great…unfortunately his head coach and offensive coordinator have no clue.

Timbodog

July 7th, 2011
8:31 am

Dawginlex,
I know you don’t actually believe that, do you? That Penn State will beat down Bama? Penn State is a pretender, and has been for a while. Alabama is for real, and always will be under Saban. I don’t personally like the guy, but he’s a heck of a coach. I think Bear Bryant was a scumbag, but it doesn’t change the fact that he was the greatest of all-time.

Still@theBAR

July 7th, 2011
8:31 am

In GREAT Hands. 6-7 is a perfect record for the BEST QB in the SEC on the tied for 10th best team just ahead of Vandy & Ole Miss. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

JB

July 7th, 2011
8:31 am

Lex, Richt better throw everything on the field including the kitchen sink….and he better turn the coaching and game planning up a notch. I read on here from folks that Richt will be back no matter what. They are naive. Another 6-7 win season, he’s gone. Now, I’m not saying I want him gone, but a 4 year slide is something even a Vandy or Kentucky coach couldn’t survive. If he does only wins 6 or 7 and comes back, the culture of Georgia football will be changed for a long time. Read National stories about us and you’ll see it has already has to some degree. Go Dawgs.