Aaron Murray is going to be the guy for the Georgia Bulldogs this season.
For better or for worse, Mark Richt has hitched his wagon to the young phenom from South Florida and has made it clear that he’s got a ton of faith in his ability to lead the team back from the disappointment that plagued them last year.
Now the fans know towards whom to direct their concern, and have commenced the worrying about all the reasons why Murray might not be able to get the job done. After all, isn’t that what fans do?
In most cases, it’s not meant to be mean-spirited, but it’s the nature of the beast to question a kid who has never taken an SEC snap.
I’d be concerned if you didn’t wonder a little bit. After all, this isn’t Brown University (as much as President Adams would love for others to think as much)—this is the University of Georgia, where football is king and everything else is a distant second.
With that in mind, I felt the need to address a few of the most common gripes that I have heard lately and address them with what information I do have at my disposal.
I won’t be able to quiet the doubting beasts within all those who read this, but perhaps I can cool a few frayed nerves.
He’s injury prone; how do we know he won’t get hit hard in Game One and then—bam—there goes our season?
Aaron Murray is not injury prone. His leg was broken during a game in October 2008. He recovered quickly enough from that to lead his team to a State Championship in December of his senior season.
As for the shoulder issues he endured last season, chalk that up to fatigue from not having thrown as much between December 2008 (the last game of his high school career) and March 2009.
Tendinitis can appear as a result of overuse and Murray made his worse by trying to continue throwing instead of resting the injury for a week or so as he should have done. His arm was not strong enough to withstand the workload that he was introduced to once he arrived at Georgia—plain and simple.
His decision to play through the pain cost him valuable practice time and was a major part of the reason why he was not seen on the field last season—despite the trouble Joe Cox suffered on the field.
He’s completely recovered from it now and will attest to his arm being stronger than it has ever been, thanks to the strength and conditioning program at Georgia. It should not be a recurring issue for him at this stage of his development, and he hasn’t had any troubles since that time.
He’s going to wilt under the pressure of playing in the SEC. Look how poorly he played at G-Day—what will he do once he really gets in front of a big crowd?
No doubt everyone has heard the reason behind Murray’s poor G-Day performance: He was nervous.
There is no way to guarantee that Murray won’t suffer any game day jitters when he plays his first home game in front of 92,000-plus spectators. No one can say for certain that he won’t buckle a little bit under the pressure of an SEC road game. There is no way to know what will happen until he’s in the situation.
Here’s what can be said: 1) he knows the playbook, 2) he’s got two stellar backs running behind him, 3) he, potentially, has one of the best offensive lines in the nation to throw behind, and 4) he’s got A.J. Green and Orson Charles to catch his passes.
Will he make mistakes? Yes. Will he make a bad decision here and there? Maybe. Do either one of those things mean he won’t be a good quarterback in 2010? Absolutely not.
Save the worry for the time it matters: game time. Otherwise, it’s just a negative assumption based on very little evidence.
He’s only starting by default. Won’t the lack of competition make him less likely to be effective on the field?
Hutson Mason will be on campus Monday, May 31, and Christian LeMay (2011) has named Georgia his leader and is currently out recruiting skill position players as we speak.
So anyone who believes that Aaron Murray is about to rest on his laurels because he assumes his quarterback job is “secure” has the wrong idea.
Georgia may be a bit undermanned at the QB spot this season, but that ends in 2011. Murray will have to be lights out this season in order to start next spring at the top of the depth chart. The last thing he’s expected to be is complacent where job security is concerned.
He’s ready to prove that he’s worth that “it” factor label with which he has been tagged so far by both Coach Richt and Coach Bobo. He’s not looking to take advantage of this opportunity at all.
The Georgia Bulldogs are ready to blaze a more fortuitous path with Aaron Murray at the top and, like him or not, he’s the man in whom fans need to place their hopes.
I, for one, like his chances of making it happen and can easily say that I am excited to see what he can bring in 2010.
(This article and more can be found at The Lady Sportswriter—Talkin' Georgia Bulldogs and Football 24/7.)