QB Aaron Murray explains his decision to remain at Georgia

ATHENS – Aaron Murray said he knew he wanted to return to Georgia for his senior season “as soon as the clock hit zero” in the SEC Championship game. The rest of the time he spent validating in his head what was already in his heart.

Murray announced via Twitter this past Sunday night that he was indeed going to complete his eligibility with the Bulldogs. On Tuesday he met with reporters at UGA’s Butts-Mehre football complex to explain his decision.

Aaron Murray hoist the MVP trophy after his four-touchdown passing performance in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Aaron Murray hoist the MVP trophy after his four-touchdown passing performance in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

“I pretty much knew all along deep down inside that I wanted to come back,” Murray said. Obviously I didn’t want to base my decision on emotion. I wanted that SEC game to go by a little bit before I made my decision. After that game, I was like, ‘I’m coming back, I’m coming back.’ So I really needed to let that game go, play another game, clear my head and write down the pros and cons of everything.”

Murray, the first quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, is on track to break SEC records for passing yards, touchdowns and completions. But he said that had little to do with his decision.

The opportunity to return to Georgia and win an SEC championship next season was the strongest incentive.

“I’m excited about our team next year,” he said. “We’ve grown so much over these past two seasons and really put Georgia back on the map. It’s great to be part of that and hopefully we’ll continue to get better. . . . I love Georgia, I love being part of this university, I love being part of this team. I’m just excited to have another year.”

The Bulldogs return 10 starters on offense next season, including the entire offensive line. They will be rebuilding on defense, however.

Murray said previously he received a “second- or third-round grade” from the NFL’s draft advisory board. He said he discussed his situation with former NFL coach Tony Dungy, former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, former UGA quarterbacks David Greene and D.J. Shockley, among others.

“I liked what my grade was,” Murray said. “But obviously I feel like I’ve still got a lot of improvement to make as a quarterback. I’ve got some areas that I need to continue to develop. I’ve talked to Coach (Mike) Bobo and Coach (Mark) Richt about it, too, and they’re really excited about me coming back and continuing to improve. . . .  By the end of the year, I will be as complete a quarterback as I can be heading into the NFL.”

Of course, not everybody is thrilled with Murray’s decision. Junior Hutson Mason, Murray’s backup before redshirting this past season, was quoted in the Marietta Daily Journal as saying he was “frustrated” about having to sit behind Murray another year. Reached by the AJC Tuesday, Mason was decidedly more diplomatic.

“It hasn’t worked out the way I planned,” he said, “but I’m not giving up on my dreams.”

Asked if he was definitely going to be back at Georgia next season, Mason said, “That’s the plan as of right now.”

Meanwhile, Murray spoke of several areas in which he’d like to improve as a senior. Most notably, becoming more of a dual-threat quarterback.

“I think when I got here I tried to stress so much about being a pocket passer, staying in the pocket and making my reads and my progressions,” Murray said. “There’s nothing wrong with that; I still have to work on that and trust my line. I just need to work more on when things do break down or maybe see ahead of time plays I can take off on and get out of the pocket and get as many yards as I can get. Work on my speed a little more. I feel like at my age I’ve gotten a little slower. I’ve got to work on that more and just try to create plays when they aren’t there.”

Asked specifically what he could do to improve his NFL stock, Murray joked, “Hopefully somehow I can grow another two inches, that’d be great. I think we’re incorporating some yoga this offseason, so some stretching may help out a little bit.”

Murray is listed at 6-foot-1 and swears it’s legitimate.

Turning serious, he added: “I’m not worried about where I get drafted next season. I think you can play a dangerous game if you think about that. My No. 1 goal right now is to continue to get better as a quarterback and do whatever I can to make sure this team gets some championships, gets some rings next year.”

Murray’s desire to win a championship at Georgia was driven home as he watched Alabama throttle Notre Dame 42-14 Monday night to claim its third national championship in four years. The Bulldogs lost to Alabama 32-28 after time expired with Georgia on the 5-yard line.

“Oh, it was painful to watch. It was,” Murray said. “I’m happy the SEC won, of course. It definitely showed the nation how good we were, to play Alabama the way we did and were four or five yards away from being in that game. It helped us showed that Georgia is back.”

And now Murray is, too.

341 comments Add your comment

Indydawg

January 8th, 2013
4:28 pm

First,

Does it matter?

Indydawg

January 8th, 2013
4:30 pm

Aaron, just cut down on the slow starts and turnovers….

Give us that for starters….

Dawgboy

January 8th, 2013
4:32 pm

Enter your comments here

Goldenrod

January 8th, 2013
4:32 pm

Erin,

Please increase your number of Interceptions vs. Georgia Tech. And please keep posting photographs of yourself in compromising positions throughout the offseason.

Sincerely,
The team that knocked off Preseason #1 USC

Dawg_Mike

January 8th, 2013
4:36 pm

Finish the drill.

bubba4dawgs

January 8th, 2013
4:39 pm

Goldenrod, if you want to knock off something, start with your big mouth! Your nerd team can’t beat Murray, so you ridicule him……what an idiot!!

Dawgboy

January 8th, 2013
4:39 pm

Must let Mason play more. A lot more. He might be a David Greene type of quarterback (one you can count on in the fourth quarter to take control, make no mistakes, and win the big games for you). Give him a chance to gain experience and let’s see.

Uncle Tom

January 8th, 2013
4:41 pm

Before it’s all over, we might even forget that there was ever a discouraging word uttered about Murray. He’s done what a bunch of others didn’t——come back for the 4th year. He’s looking much better in my estimation already.

Fire Somebody

January 8th, 2013
4:41 pm

Goldenrod, I heard Tech is having rings made commemorating that momentous achievement.

Al Groh called Johnson and Tech the most “unprofessional, devisive, and negative” football program he’s ever been around. You all must be proud.

Yellow Jacket football just went from being a laughingstock before to an utter disgrace, now.

BigDawg

January 8th, 2013
4:44 pm

Glad to have Aaron back! This offense will be great(er) next year; who can score more points than UGA in a game next year even with a rebuilding defense?!

Max Sizemore

January 8th, 2013
4:44 pm

Grantham needs to step up for UGA to be a champion next season.

Really doesn't matter...

January 8th, 2013
4:46 pm

…as AJ McCarron said about Murray and his girlfriend goes for UGA, too “you don’t win enough, bud”…

Plus, we all saw how 2008 ended for UGA with Stafford and company when UGA was picked high in the pre-season polls…

Buckeye

January 8th, 2013
4:47 pm

Hmmm,

Because he has to improve in his Murray being Murray in big game Murray and he wants to score a girlfriend like McCarron’s.

lololol

January 8th, 2013
4:49 pm

Goldenrod can’t be serious. Murray and co THRASHED Trech this past year… and the last two years.

BTW… lots of teams beat the preseason #1 team this year. USC was 7-6… congrats.

Buckeye

January 8th, 2013
4:49 pm

If the dogs are “back”, why did they lose the two of the three biggest games of the year and, some would argue, the only legit games on their schedule?

And, as Bradley pointed out, the dogs lost to South Carolina as badly as Notre Dame lost to Alabama.

Aldo Raine

January 8th, 2013
4:50 pm

The defense scares me next year!

Should Earn It

January 8th, 2013
4:51 pm

Will he get any taller???

beebee

January 8th, 2013
4:53 pm

Georgia, you all need a team leader on the defensive side.
Somebody that won’t be some troublemaker but who will keep the whole team cohesive.
The offense will be just fine as long as they don’t just sit and relax acting like they’ve arrived!

I won’t rile you Dog fans for now.
I’ll leave that up to GTBob.

bee

bill arp

January 8th, 2013
4:54 pm

Mason will play, and before the end of next season, we’ll have ourselves a good ole QB controversy!
4:55 1/8/13.

kool$kat

January 8th, 2013
4:54 pm

Maybe Aaron will learn to spike the ball in year 4.

Aaron Murray

January 8th, 2013
4:57 pm

I’ve lost to LSU and Bama so I thought I would come back and lose to Johnny Football.

Bernie Matt

January 8th, 2013
4:58 pm

@ BigDawg- Remind us again? What’s the name of the trophy UGA gets for putting up lots of yards on Offense? That’s why our program (UGA) will never get to where bama is right now. TOO MANY people satisfied with fluff over substance (winning big games).

Bernie Matt

January 8th, 2013
5:02 pm

I guarantee CMR will be in some kids living room in the near future bragging about finishing in the top 5 and “coming up short to bama by only 5 yards”. Just Sad!

Elliot Garcia

January 8th, 2013
5:10 pm

I think he is coming back because he realized he hasn’t won a darn thing! almost doesn’t count Murray…..

Pitbull

January 8th, 2013
5:11 pm

Very glad that Aaron decided to come back for his 4th year. The Dogs will be excellent next year. Know we are losing some defensive starters, but I believe in the work of Coach Grantham.

Our offense is strong and our special team play has improved immensely. If we do the off season work in the weight room and the track and have the conditioning to finish strong in the 4th quarter, we can have another special year.

No we didn’t win the SEC or NC, but we went 12-2 and this is only the 3rd Georgia team to ever accomplish that feat. I am so proud of the Dogs.

So let the little Tech girls that are haters come on the site with their bile and envy.

Just remember: EL Paso is the new Boise. Say it with me.

And we look forward to another outstanding and successful year in 2013.

Oh and BTW, great job on whipping up on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Wolfman

January 8th, 2013
5:15 pm

The best team at the end of the year was Texas A&M. UGA had a cake schedule then lost to a good but not great ‘Bama team in the SEC. They may get a wake up call at the beginning of the season next year.

Smackerel

January 8th, 2013
5:16 pm

Starting with the second half against Florida, Murray was excellent in big games.

dawgs25

January 8th, 2013
5:18 pm

all the haters………….finish in top five and still complaining……………Really excited about next year……..hope to make another run at the ship and hopefully bring it back to Athens!

Go DAWGS!

dawgs25

January 8th, 2013
5:21 pm

wolfman it seems we beat a florida team that beat your A&M team………….kills me all these guys that acknowledge that we have several good teams in SEC…………that on any given Saturday can kick your tail………….that is why it is the SEC……..no other conference has that!! Just Sayin!

Tonya Harding

January 8th, 2013
5:25 pm

I just got a call from a guy using the alias Mutson Hason. He asked if I could get together with Jeff and pull off a Nancy Kerrigan-like hit on someone named Erin Murray. Is she a gymnast or something??

Bernie Matt

January 8th, 2013
5:25 pm

On second thought, It’s all Dooley’s fault! he should have hired Saban first!

@ole dawg – get some sleep, you’re age is showing.

#chickenlittle

January 8th, 2013
5:25 pm

Some people will always believe the backup is better than the starter no matter the evidence to the contrary.

Alex

January 8th, 2013
5:26 pm

Goldenrod,
USC was playing with a backup QB and Middle Tenn State beat you 49-28

For Sure

January 8th, 2013
5:28 pm

The man loves UGA and wants to return for his final year. ‘Nuff said.

percy

January 8th, 2013
5:28 pm

I swear I told my wife that Tech fans like Goldenrude would be boasting about having beaten a team that was ranked highly until it played any games. Face it, dude, your team was a loser with a losing record and their presence in any bowl game is an embarrassment.

hop

January 8th, 2013
5:29 pm

the problem with uga this year3 is going to be defense,who it will be lacking in inexperience and youth. the offense should be better and uga will have to outscore with large numbers to be competitive.

our new schedule will be another issue, as we add Clemson and Lsu.

this combination will have a negative impact and it will be reflected with worse results in 2013.

I will forecast a record of 9-3 if not worse!

truedawg881

January 8th, 2013
5:31 pm

Its great that Murray can come back we will be unstopable on offence.And all of us know we wasnt that good on D this year.I think we will be better on D next year than we was this year total yards we got alot of talent that will be hungry to fill spots on D and were i come from tou give it all to get those spots should be interesting spring and summer this year.NOTE TO SELF HE SAID RINGS AND MURRAY IS HUNGRY.GO DAWGS

truedawg881

January 8th, 2013
5:35 pm

also we got juco talent do you people follow recruiting

War Eagle

January 8th, 2013
5:42 pm

That dude is legit. Would’ve looked good in blue/orange.

carbon

January 8th, 2013
5:45 pm

Hooray for Murray. Lotal Dawg. And his presence gives UGA a very good chance at beating Clemson, LSU and SC in September. without him, with an untested QB, there are lots of doubts. Of course there are no guarantees — but I like a kid who has his heart in the right place and who we hope sets even more records in leading Dawgs to SEC title game against whoever.

Bloggers

January 8th, 2013
5:48 pm

Is GT even a rival?
Not for my generation …..and I’m 36

Sad bc it would be fun, oh well maybe they’ll get better soon..?

Old Dawg

January 8th, 2013
5:49 pm

I love all these pre-season predictions. Recruiting isn’t over, so we don’t know which freshman can play right away; we don’t know how many JUCO prospects will be signed, adding more college experience/talent; we don’t know how players will improve during off-season workouts/spring training; we don’t know if a player who has previously been an underachiever returns for fall camp and a major contributor; we don’t know who may get injured and miss significant playing time or an entire season; we don’t know if Grantham will alter his current defensive scheme to reflect the players’ talents; we don’t know if the offense will change its blocking schemes to adequately block that monster defensive end from South Carolina; we don’t know how the offense will expand the role of Keith Marshall in the passing game; we don’t know if the offense will use sets with Gurshall in the game at the same time; and we don’t know if the kicking game will improve.

The same goes for other programs. Indeed, everything is an unknown until teams line up and play.

The only thing we know for certain is that football will be played during the fall of 2013 (unless, of course, the Mayan calendar was off by a month or so).

So let’s give it a rest. Now’s the time to try and trick the IRS out $$$$$$ so we can buy season tickets!

GTBob

January 8th, 2013
5:50 pm

Ill give the more accurate reason for why he came back. He was rated as the number 10 QB on the board and might not have gone that high.

Newspapers are dying

January 8th, 2013
5:50 pm

Mason get on board like Shockley did or find a school for your final two yrs

If so…enjoy

Glory Between the Hedges

January 8th, 2013
5:52 pm

Seriously guys…Clemson will not beat us next season. They wont be able to score enough points to keep up.we should only have to punt like twice the whole game. Lsu is at home and the way miles is coaching lately, that game will be given to us on a silver platter.

Glory Between the Hedges

January 8th, 2013
5:54 pm

Good point old Dawg. A few jucos will end up starting on defense next season.

Honey Badger Has the Munchies

January 8th, 2013
5:55 pm

AM was a little bit of a dual threat QB his first season and for which ever reason he got away from running and/or scrambling as much over the last two years. He is fast or at least he used to be. I remember him scrambling a few times his first years for some touchdowns. Another great year ahead I’m sure. GO DAWGS!

GTBob

January 8th, 2013
5:57 pm

Mason get on board like Shockley did or find a school for your final two yrs

Mason will stay on board, he is just frustrated that he ruined his football career by coming to UGA. Hopefully he isn’t majoring in Magazines or Leisure Studies.

VCGA

January 8th, 2013
5:57 pm

Great we’ll get to see Aaron pumping his fist after every play, retreat to the sidelines to put on his cap like he’s a pro and if anyone thinks Richt is going to play Mason or Lemay they are really in left field….did he ever play Shockley? Hardly, only after everyone else was gone. Murray will be a senior and he’ll sit only if he’s hurt. Mason and Lemay might as well get used to the view from the rear.

Snoop Dawg

January 8th, 2013
5:59 pm

Murray’s our best chance for a championship next year.

The weak link has become Grantham and his defense. He either mans up next year and the D improves or else we need to fire him. The buck stops with Richt so if he can’t get his D to wrap up instead of NFL style throw downs while trying to steal the ball we should fire him too. Absolutely zero discipline on defense.