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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

QB Quotes (Part I)

I'm going to be out of town all day tomorrow driving to Gainesville to cover UGA-Florida, so I probably won't have any new posts. Instead, I'm going to break this post up into a couple parts, and post some tonight and some tomorrow (and maybe some more Thursday).

In any case, we met with Joe Cox, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger on Tuesday evening after Georgia's first seven-on-seven drills of the offseason. Both freshmen earned high marks from Cox for their early performances, but as Cox said, "you can tell they're freshmen."

He can tell because they are constantly asking questions. I could tell because both look obscenely young. Or maybe I'm just getting really old. I'm choosing to believe the former.

Both kids were really forthcoming and seemed pretty comfortable surrounded by media though, which I suppose should be expected for two guys who were so successful at the high school level. I spent about 10 minutes with each player, and got some interesting quotes from each of them. Here's what they had to say...

(NOTE: My story on the two freshmen will be available at Macon.com beginning Tuesday evening.)

(NOTE #2: For those of you who are on the "We're better off with guys who aren't overly concerned with their NFL futures" bandwagon, pay close attention to the last quote from Mettenberger. It's extremely telling. And so you know the context, Mettenberger said he was on campus at least 25 times last season, showing up as early as 5 a.m. to be around for practices, etc.)


(NOTE #3: If you aren't already excited about Murray, I'm sure you will be after you read about how he chose to commit to Georgia.)

Murray on his broken leg...
"It feels great. We have great trainers here. Ron (Courson) and his staff are just unbelievable. We're not going to push it. We're taking it slow, making sure we do everything right and be really smart with it so hopefully by springtime I'll be 100 percent."

Murray on returning to action ahead of schedule for his team's run to a state championship...
"I came probably a little too fast, but my goal was to win a state championship, so I had to do whatever I could to get out there and win that. It was a little bit of a risk, but it ended up paying off in the end. We won a state championship and now I'm here healthy. I'm definitely blessed that nothing bad happened, so now I can compete for a national championship."

Murray on other schools continuing to pursue him after he chose Georgia...
"It was huge just because the perception is that if you're in Florida, you're going to go to one of those three schools Miami, Florida or Florida State. It wasn't tough for me because I knew where I wanted to go, but for the people down there, everyone's a Florida fan, so they were all like, 'You need to go to Florida, blah, blah, blah, this and that.' In the end, I was going to go where I felt more comfortable. I fell in love with Georgia. I loved the coaching staff. That's what sold me right away was the coaching staff is unbelievable."

Murray on why he chose to come to Georgia...
"I went to the spring game at Georgia and I loved it. Usually, I would go to one place and fall in love, then go to the next place the next week and say, 'OK, I want to go here.' So I went to Georgia, and the next week I went to Florida. I left there and I called my mom and I'm like, 'I'm ready to commit.' She was like, 'Oh, so you're ready to commit to Florida?' I was like, 'No, I'm ready to commit to Georgia.' Right then, when I left Florida with Georgia on my mind, I knew that it was the place for me. The coaching staff is what sold me. I wanted to go to a place that I felt more comfortable. All the coaches in the nation were like, you get all these promises and pressure to commit now, and Coach Richt and Coach Bobo just sat me down and were like, 'Hey, this is who we are, we want you, and if you want to come here, that would be great. Really just get to know us, we'll get to know you, and if you want to come here, we would love it.' They didn't pressure me, they were just real down to earth."

Cox on how good the two freshmen looked in seven-on-sevens...
"Today we were out there throwing, and I'd call a play, and Aaron wouldn't exactly know what the play was, but once I started explaining it to him, he knew the concept. He knew who he was supposed to be reading or where the ball is supposed to go against a certain coverage. They're both really smart kids and they've been in their playbooks a lot. They're definitely picking up on it faster than I would have expected, and I think they're going to be in good shape once spring ball rolls around."

Cox on the two freshmen handling their competition...

"That's going to be a tough situation for both of them whenever it comes because they're both really good friends. But I don't talk to them about that situation much, but they know they can talk to me about anything."

Mettenberger on whether he sized up Murray's game at some of the camps they both attended during the past year...

"I know he was looking at me and seeing what my strengths and weaknesses were, and I was sizing him up, and now we're just trying to learn from each other and get better."

Mettenberger on being recruited after he committed to Georgia...
"Aaron was telling me about all these calls he got, and I was like, 'Well, dang. I guess nobody really liked me that much.' I got offers from Florida State and Boston College, and I didn't really hear from anybody once I committed to Georgia. Tennessee called me one time, and that's it."

Mettenberger on why he enrolled early...
"Especially for a quarterback, you want to come in and learn the playbook as fast as you can, and when I heard Aaron was going to enroll early, I was like, 'Shoot, I can't wait another semester and let him get ahead of me.' So we both enrolled early looking to just be closer knit with the team when all the other freshmen come in and just learn the playbook."

Mettenberger on what has surprised him so far...

"Last year I was around a lot, and the leadership wasn't too great last year. I've been here three weeks and I can already tell that the leadership and the seniors, they want to win a championship again. They want an SEC championship. They want a spot to play for the national title. So far, the leadership has been outstanding in my opinion."

5 comments:

BulldogBry said...

Leadership. Was it really missing last year? So far, no one's said otherwise.

Bernie said...

left Gainesville with Georgia on his mind...classic!

I'm looking forward to these kids competing.

Anonymous said...

I'm really excited for the upcoming era of Bulldog football.

bamadog said...

My roommate and I had the privilege of working out in the Ramsey Center on campus while Murray was there. He wasn't pumping ridiculous amounts of weights, but he was in there on his own, self-motivated and all. Great to see that and excited to see more soon.

Brett Aquila said...

Although Cox will surely start this year, the next several years are going to be a battle between Gray, Murray, and Mettenberger. I'm even questioning whether all 3 will remain with the Bulldogs throughout their careers, or if you won't see a transfer at some point. There just isn't room for that many (potentially) high-caliber quarterbacks within a year or two of each other. None of them is going to want to sit - and with the way smaller schools (like my Buffalo Bulls) are willing to start underclassmen and are sending guys to the NFL on a regular basis (we sent 3 last year), it wouldn't make sense for two of these three guys to sit for years and waste their talents.

And that doesn't even take into account the quarterbacks UGA will pick up in the next couple of years.

I'm kind of surprised that both Murray and Mettenberger committed to the same school. Great for UGA! Not sure how long that will last though.