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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Does Size Matter For Murray?

Hoping to ease some of the concern, Mark Richt advised fans at last month's Bulldog Club meeting in Macon to go back and watch highlights of Aaron Murray in high school, telling them they would quickly be reminded of why he was such a highly touted recruit.

And it's true. Look at Murray's prep numbers -- 33 TDs and 4 INTs as a senior, despite missing time with a broken leg; 63 TDs and nearly 5,000 total yards passing and rushing as a junior -- and it's not hard to convince yourself he's going to be a stud at Georgia.

But aside from his G-Day performance, there is one number that I think scares UGA fans about Murray the most:

Murray: 6-foot-1, according to the UGA Web site.

Joe Cox: 6-foot-1, according to the UGA Web site.

Truth be told, UGA's official number might be a tiny bit generous for both, although both Mark Richt and I agree that Murray is probably a touch taller than his predecessor.

Still, it's Murray's physical stature that I hear the most about from concerned fans. After all, it's hard to argue with his pedigree. In high school, he was a stud -- big numbers, championship winner, highly recruited.

But other than the red hair -- he looks so much like the much-maligned Joe Cox, right?

Sure, they may be roughly the same height, but really, that's where those physical comparisons should end.

First off, Richt promises that height is more than a bit overrated as a measure of QB potential at the college level.

"Charlie Ward was about 5-11," Richt said. "I’ve had guys that were 6-5. Murray is plenty tall enough to succeed.”

That's not just covering up a weakness though. Instead of offering some concern over Murray's physical attributes, Richt is praising them.

No, he's not that tall. But his quick release makes him a tough target in the pocket.

Yes, he's roughly as tall as Joe Cox. But he's far more mobile, allowing him to move around in the pocket to find better throwing lanes -- an advantage Cox didn't have.

And sure, he's not the most intimidating physical presence. But don't underestimate him, Richt said.

“He’s not super tall, but he’s at about 6-1, and I’ve seen a lot of 6-1 guys have success," Richt said. "He’s got a very strong arm, a quick release, he’s more mobile than most people would want to give him credit for. He’s strong. That kid, if you saw him with his shirt off, you’d be surprised at just how physically strong he is.”

There is one comparison between Murray and Cox that Richt is happy to make, however: Their work ethic.

Murray still has a ways to go in terms of taking the same leadership role that Cox had, but he's already putting in the work this summer to make that happen.

“He knows it’s going to take a lot of work, but he’s willing to do that," Richt said. "He’s willing to put the work in.”

And he's not alone. Richt said he loves the relationship between Murray and his high school teammate, Orson Charles. While the two won't be the veterans of the offense in 2010, Richt said there probably isn't two players who work harder.

“Those guys are great friends," Richt said. "They’ve known each other, they love football, they love the game, they love to practice, they love the meetings and the preparation. Some guys don’t. If no one wants to throw one day, those two will be out there. They’re that type of guys.”

And just as a reference, here's the height and weight of each of the last 10 SEC championship winning QBs. Murray is listed as 6-1/209 on Georgia's Web site.

2009: Greg McElroy -- 6-3/225
2008: Tim Tebow -- 6-3/235
2007: Matt Flynn -- 6-2/225
2006: Chris Leak -- 6-0/195
2005: D.J. Shockley -- 6-0/218
2004: Jason Campbell -- 6-5/230
2003: Matt Mauck -- 6-3/210
2002: David Greene -- 6-3/227
2001: Mauck -- 6-3/210
2000: Rex Grossman -- 6-1/218


Rob said...

I don't know, David...all the work ethic in the world, 6'1"? We're screwed...he can barely see over the line of scrimmage!

...but wait, it seems like there's some NFL quarterback who was knocked for his size. Oh yeah, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, Drew Brees.

People look at size way too much. If you're good, you're good.

Universal Remonster said...

Rob said it right... DJ was shorter than Murray and he made it work pretty well in '05. Height is a luxury, not a necessity. I also have to say that comparing Cox's game to Murrays is pretty pointless, their skill sets are so different.

meansonny said...

I agree that height is a luxury. And lack of height can be overcome through making the right adjustments in ones game.

That said... It is a key component to playing QB. Avoiding batted balls, recognizing where the LBs are instantly during a pass rush, finding open receivers while viewing the whole field are all key elements to the position.

Acomplishing those things at a new level (high school to collegiate level) is an adjustment that a lot of people overlook for these kids. Aaron will be a better finished product than joe cox when he had his 14 starts. The question is how fast can Aaron adjust to those elements of the college game

Ubiquitous GA Alum said...

How tall was Rennie Curran? Thanks and I'll hang up and listen.

meansonny said...


You may want to hold your breath on this one.

Grantham is recruiting body types on defense. He has appeared to emphasize how important this is to the media (or at least he mentioned it enough for Hale to take it and run with it).

My guess is that CTG thinks its important enough to announce publicly a few times over.

That doesn't mean that there won't be Rennies and Tuggles in the world. It just means that we're more likely to have a Brandon Spikes type on our sidelines.

We can reserve judgment if his philosophy works for a few years. Like I said... hold your breath.

meansonny said...

On a counter point... I'm pretty sure that Richt doesn't care either way.

My point is, the 6'1" RS Freshman QB will have a bigger uphill battle to overcome (in terms of adjustments) than the 6'4".

Cox couldn't make those adjustments in 14 starts (and 5 years). I'm positive that Murray will. The question is will we see the development this season?