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August 8, 2012

Today's Question for Camp

Scrimaging y'all.

What should we expect out of Aaron Murray this season? When you have a guy back that had 35 TDs, over 3000 yards, and hit nearly 60% of his passes, you expect big things, right? Yet we Georgia fans continue to throw out derogatory phrases and backhanded compliments to Aaron Murray like he hasn't done anything well.

(Image: Hipple)
So, should we expect more of the same awful 146 passer rating crap? God, I hope so.

Does Murray have room to improve, especially with his footwork? Yes. Many folks (myself included) attribute his footwork issues to playing behind a line that has allowed him to be sacked nearly 60 times in his career. Does that appear to be a source of continued concern, especially when you see the number of freshmen that will play on the offensive line this season? Oh, yeah. Still, his footwork has been a focus of his this summer.

When you combine that with the unknown quantity of the offensive line, essentially forcing the offensive philosophy to be more short pass focused, at least in the short term, you have to think his footwork will be more important, as that is where he struggles the most. We saw that in 2007, albeit with a much better option (at least from where we sit right now) at running back. Stafford was asked to make throws that were more dependent on his receivers getting open than him putting the ball in a particular spot. We've been doing that with Murray from day one for many reasons, the most important is that Murray's ability to do so is very different from Stafford's. Yet Murray still has trouble with certain touch passes, all too often due to trying to do something with poor mechanics, which yields balls that are more easily defended/intercepted or isn't catch-able by the Georgia receiver.

Murray was 238/403 last season. He threw 35 tds and 14 ints. He had three games (Florida, Mississippi State, and LSU) where he wasn't anywhere close to 'on.' Regretfully, he had two games, one against our biggest rival and one against a team that had far inferior talent, where his play nearly cost Georgia the game. I'd say that is a fair source of the 'lack of big game' play talk.

One other thing, looking over the stats, Georgia threw on third and short far more last year than they had in years past. Now, there are two ways to view that. One is who could Bobo trust to run the ball at least 3 yards in a running situation? The other way to view it is you put the ball in the hands of your play maker when you need plays made.  Murray was 21/26 with 17 first downs on 3rd and short plays. Until we see the team on the field, 'who can run the ball 3 yards into a defense knowing you are going to run?' remains a valid question. So will Bobo keep giving Murray the chance to make those plays? I wouldn't bet against it.

Aaron Murray will have as good a season as Mike Bobo lets him have. I think we have under utilized his running ability, especially the threat of his running ability. If his footwork has improved, using his feet to create time out of the pocket could be huge. You give him plays that allow him to make defenses respect that he could run, you start having match up problems. If you've got man on man with King, Brown, Lynch, Bennett, Conley, and (eventually) Mitchell, you've got someone open enough you can get a pass to.

I think we should expect the same things from Aaron Murray this season as we've seen. How same? 3500 yards isn't out of the question. 60% completion rate. 30 passing TDs again. I'd expect his interceptions to go down, as well.  If we find a way to leverage his running ability or one of the running backs really steps up, those number go up. If offensive line play continues its downward trend, those stats go down.



Slic Ric said...

My only problem with Murray is the interceptions. Obviously a QB never wants to throw INTs but for some reason his seem particularly bad, maybe because it seems like they all get taken back for touchdowns. I've watched the Outback Bowl replay twice in the last couple of weeks on ESPNU and for a player of his caliber some of those mistakes are simply mind boggling.

Sidenote: if I were him I'd have footwork issues too because of the o-line he's been behind the past couple of years.

Tyler Dawgden said...

I agree, especially how damaging they are. 8 of his 14 last year were inside OUR 40 yard line.

He only had 8 in 2010, so getting back to under 10 isn't out of the question. Also, not under throwing a sideline route inside the 35. I can think of that happening at least three times that resulted in TDs or opponent drives starting inside the redzone.

Anonymous said...

For what it is worth, I believe Murray lacks intestinal fortitude. That is why he struggles in big games. You can claim it is the o-line or lack of a running game. Simply put, great players rise above the talent that surrounds them and great players also make those around them better. We have not see either from Murray. In big games, in big situations he is not able to step up. He has above average talent. The kid is not awful. His stats prove this. But his game stats also show he is not a "prime time" QB either. Murray's shortcomings will derail any type of title hopes (SEC or national) that the Dawgs may have. It is sad that at 5'9 or 5'10 he is our best option ( don't care what he is listed as, the kid is not over 6'0 tall). Just ask yourself one question: With the game on the line, do you want Murray under center? LSU, USC 2011, Florida 2010 and 2011, Michigan State 2011

Skeptic Dawg

Anonymous said...

Good assessment of Murray, but missing the key problem which is mentioned above. His interceptions have absolutely killed us because they came in big games at critical times. That's the bottom line on Murray and the limits on his success.

Anonymous said...

Yes I want him under Center. Nobody I'd rather have in the SEC.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Murray gave up 14 points to Carolina (and I can't say most QB's wouldn't lose the ball with Clowney being completely unblocked) but our defense blew far more against USCe and MSU than Murray did. His 1st half against LSU was as good as any QB under CMR. I like his leadership and toughness more so than his ability and he has a good bit of it.

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