Should Bulldogs play QB Hutson Mason on regular basis?

Quarterbacks Aaron Murray (L) and Hutson Mason look on at the end of last year's loss at Auburn. (AP photo)

Quarterbacks Aaron Murray (11) and Hutson Mason (14) look on at the end of last year's loss at Auburn. (AP photo)

Hope you saw the football notebook I filed late yesterday that included an item on Georgia’s coaches being pleased with the play of Hutson Mason to the point of considering playing the sophomore quarterback from Marietta on a more regular basis.

Does Georgia need to try to play quarterback Hutson Mason on a regular basis?

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To be clear, the comments of head coach Mark Richt, which you’ve read, and those of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo, which you’ll find below, were responses to questions directed to them by reporters. So it’s not like they came out this week and volunteered that they’d like to get Mason more playing time.

But the whole point of the line of questioning is that coaches and players have spoken so glowingly of Mason since the beginning of camp in August that it merited more exploration. And, as you’ll see, there is very little retreat to be found in the coaches’ replies.

So here’s what Bobo had to say last night after the Bulldogs’ “Bloody Tuesday” practice at Woodruff Practice Fields:

On Mason’s performance to date . . .

“Hutson’s done just a fantastic job all camp of continuing to make plays. We told him we were going to put him in no matter what this last game as an opportunity to show what he could do and there could be some things in the future for him. You’d like to play a guy a series a game or so. You never know but he’s a guy we’d like to get in there. He’s played well. I have no doubts he can go in there and play well. He had an outstanding practice [Tuesday] and that’s going to help his cause.”

On the Shockley-Greene comparison . . .

“Hutson is a little bit different than Aaron. He’s more of a — I don’t want to say spread-type quarterback because Aaron ran spread in high school, too — but Hutson, he’s likes to spread it out and dink it around. He has a really quick release, throws with a nice touch and has really, really good vision of what’s going on. He probably couldn’t tell me everything Aaron can if I graded them on saying it the way I say it or things like that. But when the ball is snapped the kid can see it and puts it on the money.”

On whether more playing time awaits Mason . . .

“I’m always talking to him about opportunities. You’re always practicing and playing for an opportunity. He had a chance to play for the opportunity to play again last week and that’s what he’s trying to prove, that he deserves to play in a ballgame. He’s helping himself with the way he practices.”

Just for comparison sake, here’s what Richt had to say about the quarterback rotation when asked about it at his weekly press conference Tuesday afternoon:

“Right this second I wouldn’t want to make a comment on that. We haven’t really gone any further with that discussion, not to say we won’t before the week is over. I’m talking about Mike Bobo and myself. But Hutson is practicing well, he’s playing well. He really runs our system well, and he’s earned playing time in my mind. How we’ll manage that, I’m not ready to make any promises I can’t keep.”

Here’s a quick statistical comparison. Obviously Murray has played much more and faced much stiffer competition to date:

  • Murray — 16 games, 262-426 (61.5%), 3,721 yards, 33 TDs, 9 INTs,
  • Mason — 5 games, 15-26 (57.7%), 170 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

Also, Murray is 6-foot-1, 211 pounds; Mason is 6-3 and told me recently he’s now over 200 pounds. No sense in getting into rushing stats — Murray’s are skewed by all the sacks this season — other than to say that Murray (87 yards, 5 TDs) is more mobile and a better overall runner than Mason (0 yards, 1 TD).

So, today I’d like to hear from you. Is playing Mason more something you’d like to see prioritized? Or does the circumstances of his appearances skew his abilities? Should the Bulldogs leave well enough alone and be satisfied that they have a backup in which they have great confidence? Or do they need to be sure to keep Mason happy and well-oiled by finding a way to play him regularly a la D.J. Shockley-David Greene?

Please take a minute to vote on the poll above as well as providing your comments.

– Chip Towers

405 comments Add your comment

JaxDawg05

September 21st, 2011
1:30 pm

I want the QB that will take care of the football under center for the University of Georgia football team, period.

11Dawg

September 21st, 2011
1:31 pm

Other than garbage time, I really can’t see a scenario where it would be better to play Hutson over Aaron.

gdawginkalamazoo

September 21st, 2011
1:32 pm

If Murray keeps making the big mistakes in big games at crucial times I don’t see how you can keep him in the game 100% of the time.

Zebulon Dawg

September 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

Make a “SMART” hire Dawgs !!!!!!

Midget Murray

September 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

Murray is to short to play in the SEC. He cant see over the line. That is why he never thorws over the middle. Or if he does it is incomplete, batted, or intercepted. He makes terrible choices. Constantly he throws in to double coverage. He needs to learn how to check down and look at all of his options. Kick him to the curb. And start Lemay. He is our future. Let him learn. I cant stand watching this kid play as our QB. I have NO faith in him.

Bruce Weeks

September 21st, 2011
1:38 pm

You always need players. Get him in a series or two per game. Injuries, like the weather, cannot be planned.

DawgFan

September 21st, 2011
1:40 pm

I really like Mason, I think he sees the field better than Murray.

funny...

September 21st, 2011
1:40 pm

I’ve been getting killed for this lately. I’ve been saying play Hutson since last year.

PEOPLE AARON MURRY IS 7-9.

funny...

September 21st, 2011
1:41 pm

Hutson also set the Georgia state records for passing, TD’s etc.

and he’s like 10th nationally ALL TIME in all major QB stats.

hinesville Dawg

September 21st, 2011
1:47 pm

play when the oppertunity arises….weather in mop up role or Aaron is struggling. you have to get the back up ready….he is 1 missed block away from being the man

KBP

September 21st, 2011
1:47 pm

Let him play in blowouts! No need to question Murray’s ability because that’s exactly the message that will be sent to him if Mason gets some of his snaps.

I am a Shockley fan, but he did not deserve to take snaps from David Greene. I think Shockley was more talented overall but Greene balled his tail off every year he was there. Greatly surprised Greene could not make it as a backup in the league.

Shockley should have transferred and been a 3 year starter somewhere else and that would have increased his chances to stick in the NFL. Being drafted in the 2nd or 3rd round would have bought him more time to develop. 1 year as a fulltime starter for him was not enough.

jarvis

September 21st, 2011
1:48 pm

How does Kirby Smart compare to every other D Coordinator that Nick Saban has ever had?
Unless you are getting Saban with him, Kirby is hardly a sure thing.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

September 21st, 2011
1:48 pm

11Dawg,

I agree with you. Unless we’re either way up or way down later in the game, I don’t see why we should play Mason over Murray. Don’t get me wrong, I like Mason, but Murray’s THE QB right now.

gdawginkalamazoo,

I’ll grant you the fumble against SC (Murray needs to learn when to take a sack and when not to), but I don’t think there are a ton of times where you can outright say that a big mistake was all Murray’s fault. Our O-Line is (again) massively underperforming. Hard to put the ball in the right place when you’re running for your life.

I always adhere to the old adage “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have a quarterback.” Besides, you don’t want a guy looking over his shoulder, wondering when the coach might yank him because they tends to lead to bad plays.

Greene and Shockley were different. If Mettenberger had stayed outta the bars, I probably woulda recommended a similar dynamic with the two of them last year and this year, but things didn’t turn out that way.

jarvis

September 21st, 2011
1:49 pm

@funny, who else is on the list you provided? Just curious as to who is in front of Hutson.

Abnerish

September 21st, 2011
1:49 pm

Hard to say. I’d say that the coaches should consider it if Murray struggles or makes ill-advised throws in the next couple of games. Sure Murray’s had good stats and I love his toughness and attitude, but in the end it’s about making plays that will win ballgames. Mason looks like a world-beater against inferior opponents. But how will he perform against SEC defenses? I guess you don’t really know until you try.

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

September 21st, 2011
1:49 pm

When I say “two of them,” I meant Murray and Mettenberger, if it wasn’t apparent.

jarvis

September 21st, 2011
1:50 pm

Also @ funny,
•Murray — 16 games, 262-426 (61.5%), 3,721 yards, 33 TDs, 9 INTs,

What part of that would point to the losing record being his fault?

funny...

September 21st, 2011
1:50 pm

Richt was always quick to pull Greene for Shockley and Stafford for Cox.

Why the heck he sticks with the loser Aaron Murray is beyond me.

ATLDawg, ya dig?

September 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

I’m sticking with Murray. Still think this kid has the guts and talent to win a bunch of games. Richt should tell Mason what he should tell every other kid on this team – keep chopping that wood, maybe you’ll get your break, maybe you won’t. If it comes, never let go. If it doesn’t, keep chopping that wood.

RiffRaff

September 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

It doesn’t seem to make sense to call Murray out after a 3 touchdown performance, but remember, this was Coastal Carolina we’re talking about here. Aaron Murray has the tools to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country, but he consistently makes incredibly poor decisions and shows poor form. He stared down his receivers on at least 40% of his passes Saturday, and a good defense would certainly take advantage of that mistake. In addition, he also regularly throws the ball into double and triple coverage, and threw at least one ball that would have been a pick-6 against Alabama or LSU.

You know who else looked really good, and certainly better than Murray? Hutson Mason. His numbers were also impressive, especially since he was doing mop-up duty, which doesn’t typically involve much passing. He also didn’t make a single questionable throw that I saw. If I were the QB coach and offensive coordinator (who is that, anyway?), I would seriously consider starting Mason if Murray falters again in a big game.

funny...

September 21st, 2011
1:51 pm

Hey jarvis, I’ll give you one game

Pick six
Fumble for a TD
Fumble return to five

Patrick

September 21st, 2011
1:52 pm

What Midget Murray said. Sums it up pretty well. Also Murray has been throwing behind receivers of late. Let Mason play some series!!!

Washon

September 21st, 2011
1:52 pm

No This is a coaching and play calling problem not the players!!!!! Please stop blaming our players. If we can get a coach that can prepare his team adequately and have an OC call creative plays that play to the QB strenghs then we can make a judgement call on how well the player is performing. Swapping playes with incompetent coaches will do nothing. We already have a dream team. How is that working out? CMR loves to blame all of UGAs problems on his players. He has been doing this for years. It is sad

Tommy Myles

September 21st, 2011
1:53 pm

I think a little competition always makes for a better product, however I think Murray right now, looks like he is holding onto the ball too long. He appears to force the ball at times. He also seems too antsy, but with our o-line it is warrented. Maybe playing Hutson could be used to groom Murray a little. I just trust the coaching staff, they see these guys everyday. GO DAWGS !!!!!

yes

September 21st, 2011
1:53 pm

Yes play him over Aaron Murray… Murray has proven he can lose, so now let Mason prove if he can do better… whats it going to hurt?

DawginLex

September 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

Several comments:

1.) List 1 SEC coach that would bench Murray right now and start either Mason or Lemay Saturday.
2.) Murray has played 16 games and is still learning.
3.) Murray is 6′1″. I am 6′4″ and stood next to him for a picture at Fan Day. He is not a midget.
4.) Mason is slightly taller than Murray but may have longer arms

Hopefully we can get ahead 14-0 or 17-0 Saturday and Mason will get into the game.

No way you bench Murray
No way you blow a redshirt for Lemay

Washon

September 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

I am not voting. Please ad another choice that says: Fire coaching staff and let new coach handle the quarter back situation. I would pick that one.

RedandBlack

September 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

Yes, play Hutson Mason now. Look at the last two G-Day games when Murray played. He made the same poor decisions then as he continues to do now. Richt even talked about how much they wanted to control Murray’s decision making at the beginning of the 2010 season. Meaning that Richt knew then that Murray does not make good ball control decisions. That is why losing Mettenberger has really cost the Bulldogs a lot. If only Mettenberger would have stayed out of that bar that night, then the Dogs would be in an entirely different situation.

So, yes, it is time to change it up. Start Mason and play him. Murray has had more than enough time to prove himself. Murray cannot cut the mustard. Play Mason now. Go Dogs!!

ramblingbuzz

September 21st, 2011
1:54 pm

Ain’t it funny that the most popular guy on the bench is the back-up QB until he comes into the game? Not quite sure that Coastal Carolina is a good measuring stick to judge a back-up’s peformance.

duronimo

September 21st, 2011
1:55 pm

I think Murray has regressed. I don’t think he’s been the same since the pounding he took in the Auburn game last year. We’re talking about kids here and he may have lost a bit of confidence. Perhaps he’s expecting something bad to happen …. and it usually does. Mason hasn’t taken that kind of pounding yet. But with our line (and if they play him) he will. I think UGA’s problems are with
the lines. They seem a little portly and a bit slower than the competition. Looks like it’s going to take a coaching change to fix it.

JaxDawg05

September 21st, 2011
1:56 pm

I want Mason in the lineup no question about it. His grasp of X’s and O’s is uncanny. This guy (a Georgia Kid) is what UGA needs to get them to the next level. He likes his tight ends and wideouts, WILL throw to his backs. He is the total package, maybe the best in years between the hedges. With Murray under center we will wonder years from now, what if….

JB

September 21st, 2011
1:58 pm

If Spurrier coached this team and Mason was out playing Murray, Murray would be the one having a hard time getting back in there. I’ll say this about Spurrier vs Richt, Spurrier is going to play who gives him the best chance to win, not what he has told the players Mama and Daddy, just say’n

Vance Duly

September 21st, 2011
1:59 pm

It’s wise to give the 2nd string QB some meaningful playing time, even if only one series per game. At some point, there’s a good chance that Murray might get knocked out of a game, and it’s foolish not to have your backup prepared, with a bit of real game experience against someone like an Ole Miss or Vandy, not just against the Chanticleers after the game is a blowout. We did the same thing to Joe Cox, who mostly sat for 2 years after his brief playing time early in his career.

Washon

September 21st, 2011
2:00 pm

All this talk is a major distraction to the real problem with the Offense. COACHING!!

StingerfromnearLex

September 21st, 2011
2:03 pm

Lex dude, I’m back (fron the Tech side), was it exciting to actually “stand” beside Murray? Did you get a “tingle up your leg” like Chris Mathews did about Obama?

gg

September 21st, 2011
2:03 pm

Absolutely! It’s not about taking snaps from Murray. Every back-up needs experience in honest competition, and Mason is Murray’s immediate back-up. He needs to be ready to go for the good of the team when the time comes, and that time could be the NEXT SNAP! I think it’s negligent to not get him in there from time to time.

dawggie dawg

September 21st, 2011
2:05 pm

Hey Midget Murray the only person you should have faith in is God.

sogadog

September 21st, 2011
2:06 pm

Murray did not take care of the ball against USC which cost them the game and perhaps the SEC East. Therefore, Mason should start and if he plays well, keep him in. If Mason is not productive, put Murray back in and rotate them based on production. If one guy pulls away from the other, then he is the starter.

Buddy

September 21st, 2011
2:07 pm

I think he should play when Coach Richt says he can.

AltamahaDawq

September 21st, 2011
2:08 pm

Weigh down hea in soouth Ga we like Gators, cheerin fer um and huntin um in tha swaps. Dem big ole sath Ga bois make good noles and gaters.

gomdawg

September 21st, 2011
2:09 pm

What a stupid question Murray is our QB . Mason is a great QB but he is # 2 and he knows it so stop trying to start something thats not there

just a fan

September 21st, 2011
2:11 pm

@ funny

Cox had a total of 58 passes from 06-08 as the backup quarterback to stafford seems like he didnt get that much playing time

DTC

September 21st, 2011
2:11 pm

He needs to be given a shot. If nothing else he will put pressure on Murray to perform better. Personally, I think he shows more promise than Murray. I am curious on their height, what is their height? Murray does at times seem to be a bit short on the field.

DawgCop

September 21st, 2011
2:12 pm

Dear Coach Richt and Coach Bobo, Please put Mason into the games so we can watch the team fall apart in front of us all after you bench the unquestioned team leader, Aaron Murray. I would imagine Mason will fall flat on his face (he wows his fans in clean-up duty playing a Div II team and now he’s the enxt Kellen Moore in their eyes) and then all these Benedict Arnold Georgia fans will be screaming for the LeMay or even 4 the stringer Pops McGee to play QB and when they fail they’ll turn back to Murray.

DJ Dawg

September 21st, 2011
2:12 pm

Sogadog- You cant blame that loss on Murray did you forget the chip shot feild goal that was missed and then oh yeah a 280 lineman scoring on a fake punt???

WinderDawg

September 21st, 2011
2:13 pm

Said this same comment yesterday on here…Murray is a QB and plays the position. He understands the game and probably grew up playing QB on every team. That does not make him a great QB. After having the chance to watch Stafford, we all see what caliber QB is needed in the SEC. He was a big-time player with a cannon. Murray is not that quality. Does he play the position well? yes….well enough to chance a big game in SEC play? no.

Mason needs a shot to play. Let him have a chance and his numbers will look like Murray’s. Can Mason win the big game? Let’s find out because I have watch Murray over-throw or scramble when we needed the big play.

Play Mason.

slydog

September 21st, 2011
2:15 pm

Play Hutson Mason more often? Hell no. Play him when you need to or when you have to, like every other football in America. I am not doubting Mason’s talent but here it is:

1. What reason does anyone have to bench Murray at this point? QB’s get too much credit for wins and too much blame for losses. 2 int’s and a fumble in 3 games? What about the 80 points given up by the defense, forcing the team to play catch up? It’s the play calling and the coaching folks, especially when UGA is in the other teams territory or after the other team scores.

2. Hutson Mason was offered late, very late, by the major football schools, even after he went to “all the camps.” I liked what I saw and love his moxie, but this isn’t NCAA 12, where his ratings are good too….lmao (didn’t think I knew that did ya’ll?) But he is no elite level QB. It’s not like we have a QB on the bench we had to battle 50 schools in order to get. Furthermore, who on here has not already claimed Lemay as the heir apparent? You know why? He is more talented and considered elite by EVERYBODY. REAL TALK!!!

04Dawg

September 21st, 2011
2:15 pm

I would love to see Mason get some game time. Like gdawginkalamazoo said if Murray is making mistakes and not moving the ball down the field put Mason in. I think Murray was better last year. He moved around and made plays with his feet. This year he is staying in the pocket and getting sacked. If you watched the game sat. he threw a lot of ducks that would have been pick against an SEC Deffense.

gomdawg

September 21st, 2011
2:16 pm

sogadog , that was not Murray somebody miss a block. But I can not believe Georgia fan are talking bad about Murray. THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE LOW POINT IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Zebulon Dawg

September 21st, 2011
2:16 pm

WWDMD – (what would dan mullen do) with the talent we have at UGA?