First thoughts on Aaron Murray

It wasn’t the greatest opening day début by a Georgia quarterback – that honor still belongs to D.J. Shockley and his start against Boise State – but Aaron Murray’s certainly was one of the most entertaining.  I’m not sure his final stats do complete justice to what we saw.  That’s not to say they weren’t solid for the most part – 17 for 26 passing, with three touchdowns, along with another 42 yards rushing and a gutsy (almost to the point of don’t-do-that-again-son) touchdown run as the clock expired at the end of the first half.

But there’s an element to his game that’s hard to quantify:  the kid’s a born playmaker.  Take, for example, that busted play on Georgia’s first scoring drive.  Murray was flushed out of the pocket, rolled to the right sideline chased by the ULL rush and just before going out of bounds threw a forty yard pass on the run that Logan Gray missed taking in for a touchdown.  There simply haven’t been a lot of Georgia quarterbacks capable of making that kind of play.

The flip side of that is that Murray took more than a few chances against a Sun Belt Conference team that wasn’t physically capable of making him pay.  That’s not going to be the case this week.

Mark Richt summed up the highs and lows adequately with this comment:

“I thought he played well,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I thought he certainly made some freshman mistakes. … I thought a couple of times when he was out of the pocket he could have thrown the ball out of bounds. He would turn up and try to dodge people, and he’s going to get splattered if he does that.”

He also got caught making freshman mistakes like locking on to receivers, especially Orson Charles (understandable, that, considering how long they’ve played together), that, again, ULL didn’t capitalize on, but for which a team like South Carolina will exact a price.

And there’s the challenge for Mark Richt and Mike Bobo.

“Aaron moves well. We’ve known he was that kind of an athlete,” Richt said. “I don’t want to turn him into a robot. I don’t think he does. He’s doing his thing. He’s doing what comes natural to him. … I think as the season goes on I think they’ll be bigger, faster guys chasing him. I think when you look at our depth chart at quarterback, we don’t have very many of them.”

Murray is going to have to think about what Ellis Johnson will throw at him, but it’s not as if he didn’t give Johnson a few things to think about from yesterday’s game, either.  He’s got a live arm, even if it isn’t Staffordesque, and he’s mobile enough that South Carolina is going to have to stay focused on containment with its pass rush – something that wasn’t a concern last season.

It’ll be a wild ride at times, but there looks to be some significant upside as Murray figures out his game on the college level.  There was a lot to like yesterday.  And take heart in this, Dawg fans:  even if his first game wasn’t as great as Shockley’s, it was certainly better than the much more heralded John Brantley’s.

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “First thoughts on Aaron Murray

  1. baltimore dawg

    i’ll have to watch again, but i don’t remember murray forcing any throws into coverage, which is part of what i was expecting to see (sure, part of that, though, was ula’s heavy commitment to stop the run). i found that encouraging. he certainly threw a few bad balls, but i don’t really remember him trying to force one in on a well-covered receiver.

    in spite of the mistakes, he just seemed to have command of things to a degree you don’t really expect from a guy who hasn’t played before, even against inferior competition.

    he’s going to need to be successful early throwing the ball against sc. and bobo needs to get him to the plays that put the primary receiver in the space vacated by sc defenders committed to stopping the run first. our tight ends have to step up.

    • The play I recall was one when Thomas was the sole back and sprinted wide to the right at the snap. The defense didn’t pick him up and there was an easy ten yard gain if Murray had thrown to him in the flat. Instead, he locked into Charles and threw a pass that the defender easily broke up. A better secondary might have done more damage on the play.

      • Hogbody Spradlin

        Soon after, Murray did a nice job of looking off defenders before throwing the TD pass to Chapas.

      • baltimore dawg

        yeah, i think i remember that now. the ball was kind of behind charles, too, wasn’t it?

        murray’s going to throw some picks over the season, but maybe now we have a defense that can minimize the damage of offensive turnovers instead of amplifying them.

  2. Prov

    Does this mean Brantley isn’t the Greatest Player of the Post Tebow Era?

  3. Moggs

    So much for Murray not trying to be a hero. I don’t really blame him and it is kind of a welcomed sight. Now back to the game plan for the chickens.

  4. 69Dawg

    His greatest Oh Shat moment was the heave ho into the endzone that should have been intercepted. I actually felt bad for the kid that dropped it. He is going to have what we seniors call brain farts but his upside is very high. Mason is going to be in the battle for playing time for sure.

    • baltimore dawg

      yeah. proper procedure for throwing the ball away is: 1) turn 45 degrees to your right or left; 2) throw ball as far as possible into the stands.

  5. W Cobb Dawg

    I counted 5 dropped passes, one Durham bobbled into an INT. Despite opening game jitters and that lousy throw-away into the endzone that should have been an INT, Murray looked pretty darn good. Couple tweeks here and there, and you’d think he was a 3 year vet.

  6. Reptillicide

    The thing that most impressed me about Murray was his accuracy. Every one of his throws were right on the money. A few were dropped, but not because of where he put them. Unusual for a freshman to have that kind of accuracy.

  7. 12-2

    Aaron Murray is better than Matthew Stafford.

    Better than David Greene.

    Better than Joe Cox, even.

  8. 12-2

    I see Josh Nesbitt’s Heisman Trophy push by Georgia tek, is off to a great start…

    for him

    1 completion out of 6 pass attemps

    1 interception

    He still averages 4 yards per carry for his entire 4 years now at Georgia tek.

    He does NOT even have more touchdown passes than he has Interceptions.

  9. Keese

    Anyone know where you can get the full game replay online? Or when a televised replay is scheduled?

    Last year SEC Digital Network had the full game replays available online the next day, but haven’t found anything on there yet.

  10. Puffdawg

    I bet AM was thinking he did a good job on that bootleg he kept for a first down… until he got to the sideline. Marlon probably won’t be that wide open again… oof!

    That said, I was thrilled with how he played though. He has great zip on the ball and definitely seems to have a good feel for the game.

  11. Rocketdawg

    I thought he played extremely well for his first game. I was impressed by his accuracy and by the fact he was willing to make a play. That all being said he had the “happy feet” in the pocket a few times and looked to run before pass. I also don’t think that he did that great a job on his ball fakes (but then again after Greene, DJ and Stafford who does?)

    Overall I am a little less worried about the QB position than I was 48 hours ago.

    Defense was SOLID!