Learning on the job

Many have pointed to Tyler Bray’s big finish down the stretch last season as a reason to expect big things from him this year, but he wasn’t the only SEC freshman quarterback to close the regular season strongly.

… His scrambling all but evaporated after that run, as his final six games produced a net of 9 rushing yards. While that aspect of his game was dwindling, Murray completed more than 70 percent of his passes in three of his last six games, something he had not accomplished once in the first half of the season.

“The comfort level definitely increased as last season went on,” Murray said. “You get up to the line of scrimmage and hike the ball, and there are guys flying around everywhere. The speed and the size of the guys kind of boggles your mind, so you’re getting rid of the ball so you don’t get killed.”

All of Murray’s best passer-rated games came after the loss to Colorado, including that otherworldly 250.86 showing against Georgia Tech.  It’s no coincidence that the Dawgs went 5-2 over that stretch, compared to their 1-4 beginning.  All told, not a bad start.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Learning on the job

  1. TennesseeDawg

    Word I heard a few weeks ago was that Tennessee had to remove all the motion out of the offensive plays because Bray was getting confused at the time. Not a good sign.

  2. Stoopnagle

    All tempered by two letters, right? A.J.

    • Murray still had to figure out how to get the ball to him efficiently.

      • Stoopnagle

        That’s true but I might phrase it as “somewhere in the general vicinity” as opposed to “to” him. /wink A.J. was an exceptional player.

        And Bray had the *ahem* schedule working for him over the same span.

  3. BCDawg97

    But, but he didn’t beat a winning team!!!1!!1!!

    ;)

  4. W Cobb Dawg

    I believe the Dawgs would be well served by using AM’s mobility. Of course, they have to adjust the offense to use his mobility effectively. Yes, he rushed for only 9 yds and threw 70% over the last 6 games – but they went 3-3 in those games. So the reduction in running and higher reception percentage didn’t produce a winning record. Is the goal to produce a polished NFL-ready QB or win games for UGA?

    • Dboy

      “Is the goal to produce a polished NFL-ready QB or win games for UGA?”

      AM is not 6’4″ – 230lbs. Running him consistently in the SEC will end in injury. If AM is injured, he won’t be winning any games for UGA, and chances are UGA will not be winning too many games either.

      • W Cobb Dawg

        I said “use his mobility effectively”. Where do you get “running him consistently”. He could roll out on a pass/run option. He could perform a couple well designed sneaks. We could move the pocket around. Misdirection, etc. Believe it or not, there are plenty of ways to design an offense to use AM’s mobility and talent. No need to be reckless or foolhardy about it.

  5. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Before we go all gaga here, the 5 wins were against one of the worst UT teams in history, Vandy, Kentucky, Idaho State and a 6-7 Georgia Tech team. During that stretch UGA also lost to the worst FLA team in about 15 years and to a C-USA team. Perspective. Let’s not get carried away.

    • Murray had the best passer rating against UT’s defense of any QB they faced.

      He had the second best passer rating against Vandy’s defense.

      Fourth best against Kentucky.

      Best against Georgia Tech.

      I’d say that’s none too shabby a performance.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Not minimizing Murray’s performances–he played really well– but…they came against a bad UT team, Vandy, Kentucky, Idaho State and a Georgia Tech team that went 6-7. You’re doing the same thing with Murray that you criticized the media for doing at the end of last season with Bray, Senator.

        • Mayor, I understand they came against mediocre to crappy teams. I do. But if you look at those performances in context, they’re quite good.

          Bray’s run as the starter doesn’t shine as much by comparison:
          Mississippi: 6th best
          Vanderbilt: 7th best
          Kentucky: 6th best

          It’s worth mentioning again – Murray’s passer rating against Georgia Tech was the third best performance by any QB in the SEC last year. And the two better performances came against Troy and UT-Chattanooga.

          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            Reread my post above, Senator. I clearly said, “he played really well” in those games. Against the 11-3 Champion of C-USA, UCF, not so well. Before we anoint him as the second coming of Joe Namath him let’s see how well he does against higher level competition like Boise State and USCe is all I’m saying.

  6. AthensHomerDawg

    “including that otherworldly 250.86 showing against Georgia Tech. ” …. and wasn’t Murray nursing a bruised sternum and bad wheel post the mugging at Auburn?

  7. AthensHomerDawg

    UT rested and got “Slash” on up the learning curve during the most difficult part of their season. He didn’t see the field until the games got softer.

  8. Cojones

    Dang! Is this urbane and educated blog nit-pickin; the good stuff?

    What you posted was news to me, Senator and I’m in the mood for the good news. Over 70% in passing is great for any game where three things can happen to a football once it is thrown and two of them are bad. Knowing that your QB ended last year with percentage upswings is interesting albeit late news.

    Everyone’s not attuned to their regulor acumen here today. Did I miss something this week or is everyone running on a short thread waiting for the season to start?

  9. Sandra

    Oh my, are we seriously looking at Idaho as a new comparison? How the might have fallen. Senator, normally I agree with you, but on this one, I’d say games like Gamecocks & Gators are the ones to bring it. But I’ll take any good news right now:)

  10. Sandra

    Don’t you think it’s that we played 3 excellent teams early on in S.Carolina, Miss.S, and Ark and only play 1 other ranked team all year except for War Eagles? Just sayin :)