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Monday, August 2, 2010

Media day: Richt, vets praise Murray

Media day is in the books, and we have a slight break here before the first football practice. As you’d expect, the quarterback situation dominated Mark Richt’s news conference, and Aaron Murray also spoke.

My own impression:

Murray seemed very grounded, knowing not a lot was expected of him, and being up front that he hasn’t slept much the past month. That’s actually a good sign if you’re a Georgia fan: I’d prefer honesty, rather than a redshirt freshman who pretends it’s not a big deal, when everyone knows he must be nerve-wracked.

Richt is also keeping expectations level for Murray, but is pretty set on him being the guy. I just came from covering Steve Spurrier at South Carolina, and I was struck at how different each coach is in their public comments. Spurrier is famously hard on his quarterbacks, while Richt is just analytical.

“Long-term on this kid, he’s gonna be very, very good,” Richt said of Murray. “Whether it’s gonna happen this season … we’re gonna watch him grow up. “

And while Murray obviously hasn’t taken a college snap yet, it is fascinating (at least to me) that Richt takes a positive approach with his redshirt freshman, while Spurrier is loathe to say anything nice about a fourth-year guy who started every game last year.

But I think I know why: Murray has engendered a lot of confidence in not only Richt, but his veteran teammates, in how much preparation he’s put in during the offseason. Murray has even sat in on some offensive line meetings, according to senior tackle Clint Boling.

“Just a series of things he’s done to earn our respect,” Boling said.

Murray, when you talk to him, still has that aw-shucks kind of demeanor. He handled the media pretty well, like David Greene and Matt Stafford did as freshmen.

Yeah, we’re going to hear a lot of the Greene-Stafford comparisons, two recent freshmen this same staff molded into successful players. In fact, Murray has consulted with both ex-Bulldog quarterbacks this past offseason.

“My goal is just to go out there and be me,” Murray said. “I won’t be David Greene. I won’t be Matt Stafford.”

But then he added: “I can take some pointers from them.”

Some other things that stood out:

- Senior inside linebacker Akeem Dent has a chance to return for the season opener, according to Richt.

- When it comes to the 3-4, all the defensive players seem really pumped up about the increased aggressiveness they will have. (Not that I’d expect them to be publicly down on the switch.)

But without coming out and saying it, it does seem a lot of the defensive guys think they will have more freedom now. Justin Houston said he expects to be rushing the passer “more than 50 percent” of the time.

“It’s just a new beginning,” defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said.

- Finally, tailback Washaun Ealey said he and Caleb King aren’t in a heated competition for the job. Not surprising, considering practically everybody seems to be going to running back by committee.

Meantime, Richt kind of laid down the gauntlet as far as the running game goes.

“I’d be disappointed if we don’t run the ball well,” the coach said, adding: I’d be very disappointed if we don’t run the ball well. And if we do run well, it’ll help Aaron.”

5 comments:

papadawg said...

Nice work, Seth.
It's a good start.

I've had the opportunity to meet Aaron Murray on campus a few times and I've always been impressed with his positive attitude and apparent humility. I also noticed that he tended to carry the playbook with him to class. That's a good sign that he's a hard-worker and very serious about success at this level.

Rob said...

I like your insight regarding the comparison between Spurrier/Garcia and Richt/Murray. Sure, Richt is never going to behave the way Spurrier does with his quarterbacks, as that sort of behavior is completely opposite of Richt's personality. However, I think you're onto something with the maturity/hard work aspect regarding Murray. He's a highly touted guy (just like Garcia), but the main difference is that Murray has already shown more maturity, responsibility, and decision-making skills than Garcia ever has, simply by prioritizing, staying out of trouble, and putting in the extra effort to demonstrate leadership and hard work to his teammates.

Anonymous said...

Is Murray Jewish?

JJH4 said...

The one thing I can see that might hurt Murray is that he might care too much. By that I mean his nerves and mentality of trying so hard might backfire. A guy that is more relaxed and has a "whatever happens, happens" mentality might actually perform better early on by not getting wrapped up in the moment.

Having said that, I think the kid has a bright and successful future ahead of him. I like his make up and the talent is obviously there. It will be real easy to pull for the kid.

NCT said...

Anonymous: Murray's "half Jewish, half Catholic", according to http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/georgias-aaron-murray-ready-490463.html.