Making Mason

One good thing to take away from spring practice is Mike Bobo’s unequivocal support for Hutson Mason’s work.

“I thought Hutson had an outstanding spring,” Bobo said after Georgia’s final practice on Thursday. “Really stepped up in the leadership department. Had great command of the offense. Was extremely accurate. Came every day prepared to get better. Even today was one of his better days, on the last days. He was extremely focused. I expect him to take that confident that he gained this spring and his leadership abilities and apply it to the summer.”

No, he doesn’t have Aaron Murray’s arm strength. But he’s worked on his mechanics, with good results.

Mason’s main goal for the offseason was to improve his footwork in the pocket, watching film of Tom Brady’s drop-backs and pocket presence. The verdict? Success, according to Bobo.

“From the first day to the last day you could tell there was more zip on the ball,” Bobo said. “I think he was using his lower body a lot better, and his throwing motion. He stayed more settled in the pocket, and kept his feet beneath him. And he still made plays with his feet running out of the pocket.”

And he got through spring scrimmage without turning the ball over.  If all of that carries over into the season, with his surrounding cast (assuming all the happy health news plays out), he’s got a decent chance to have a successful year.

If Mason needs any extra motivation, he can always pin this list from Athlon, which ranks him below a former FSU backup who Athlon admits may not even be Alabama’s opening day starter, on the wall.  Low praise, indeed.

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50 Comments

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50 responses to “Making Mason

  1. Gurley needs to stay healthy. If he does, UGA has a legit shot at 10+ wins. If he doesn’t…

  2. 81Dog

    if I recall correctly, the last (allegedly) rag armed backup who followed a beloved, multiyear starter with a history of success was a guy named John Lastinger. He turned out pretty good. If Mason understands the offense, keeps his cool on the field, and keeps grinding away at improving, he’s going to be fine. If Mason’s fine, the offense will be fine. If the offense if fine, UGA will be a tough out.

    Coach Richt did a pretty good job at FSU of taking guys who’d been sitting for two or three years and getting them to produce when their turn came. Who knows how it all turns out, of course, but I see no reason for panic at this point. I’m not making reservations for Dallas at this point, but I’m not out on a ledge, either.

      • In the list of things that that worry me about this upcoming season, I’m not sure if Mason is in the top 10. But people (myself included) do have questions about him. But for me the secondary (every single member), OL and WR health far outweigh any worries about Mason.

        • Totally agree – I think Mason is going to be fine as long as he has a solid line in front of him. A fully healthy #3, #4, #26, #86, and #87 wouldn’t hurt either.

        • I agree, too. I don’t know what else we could have asked from Mason this Spring. He absolutely maxed out. Now, he can carry that momentum through the summer.

          I couldn’t be happier with Mason.
          ~~~

    • Chitown dawg

      The last rag armed qb was joe cox and the time before that was JTIII – I fully expect a repeat of the Cox season with noodle arm Mason at the helm.

      • 81Dog

        JTIII was never more than a placeholder until Stafford was ready to go.

        Pretty sure Joe Cox’s biggest problem was a defense that gave up points by the boatload, but you’re certainly correct that I overlooked him.

      • Ginny

        Joe Cox also didn’t near the surrounding cast that Mason will.

      • Nate Dawg

        Help me out here – without the AJ/LSU debacle & sleep-walking against Kentucky, isn’t that a 10 win season w Cox at the helm?

        • RocketDawg

          Joe made some dumb throws for sure but he wasn’t nearly as bad a QB as some of you with selective memory make him out to be. He played behind one of the worst OL’s we have ever had (and that is saying something as bad as they have been the last 6-8 years) and had virtually no help from the RB position with the exception of the NERD game at the end of the year. No he wasn’t the best QB we have had in recent memory but he takes entirely too much of the blame for the 2009 season.

  3. Nate Dawg

    Wait, whut? Shudnt Mizzu & Scar be at the top of that list – then Mason, Driskel & the Bammer jumbled in the middle then the rest in the next, lower tier? I mean doesn’t Marshall have a more elongated wind up than Tebow on a deep ball? Or I guess jumble him in the ‘middling-still unsure’ category but the best in the league? Maybe I’ve got my Dawg colored glasses on but that’s how it breaks down in my head.

  4. Cousin Eddie

    Biggest worries on Mason:
    1. After throwing no ints. in spring practice, how is he going to react when/if he does in a game?
    2. Why is he watching film on a sixth round draft pick to study footwork?
    3.. Why is he practicing throwing when all he really needs to practice is handing off to Gurley and any of the other 5 RBs on the team?

    • Ubiquitous GA Alum

      , 2. Why is he watching film on a sixth round draft pick to study footwork?

      You think he should have looked at the film of a first rounder like – Ryan Leaf or JaMarcus Russell instead of a QB that has been to 5 super-bowls in 11 seasons?

  5. CannonDawg

    I’m not worried about Mason’s arm strength. Matt Stafford had NFL-level arm strength as a true freshman, yet he never won a Div or SEC championship. The real question concerning Mason will be how well he can direct needed TD or FG drives to win a game in the late stages. If he can do that, and then have the defense hold the lead, we’ll be back in the GA Dome (at a minimum).

    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree. Mason should have a pretty good group of playmakers around him, although the OL needs a lot of work – and a LOT more talent. Frankly, I’ll be interested in the offensive gameplans and playcalling. Over the years we’ve tended to hurt ourselves when we make things too complex. CMB really improved as a coach during AM’s career. It’ll be interesting to see how much of that was AM, and whether CMB has really evolved to the highest echelons of OCs.

  6. Dawgoholic

    Not sure Mason has the arm strength to be a true threat with the deep ball. Not sure how much success the UGA offense will have without a credible threat to throw deep on every play. Also, not sure how well he’ll do with the seam routes that have been an important part of the offense the last few years and require a lot of zip on the ball.

    Hope Mason can get it done. He appears to be a good kid that works hard. Will be interesting to see if Bobo and Richt can create an offense that allows Mason’s strengths to enable similar success to past offenses – I think that’s the number one question on the offensive side of the ball.

    It’s true that you don’t have to have a cannon to have success in college football as a QB; however, it’s very difficult to have success running the offense that UGA has run with Stafford and Murray without a strong arm.

    • Another #14 was pretty good at it from 2001-04 – he didn’t have a Stafford, Murray or Shockley type of arm.

    • Biggus Rickus

      He started two games last year and had success passing in both of them. He wasn’t outstanding in either, but he showed enough to not worry me much. The key to the season is how much the defense improves. If it’s not much, then Georgia will be fortunate to win more than 9 games.

      • Dawgoholic

        The offense averaged 23 points in regulation in the games he played. Both games were against mediocre teams and Gurley was relatively healthy.

        In today’s football, it’s not the defense’s fault if the offense does not score at least 28-30. Our “savior” at DC gave up 31 to Auburn in the championship game. The offense of the David Greene era will not get David Greene era success today. BTW, Greene threw the deep ball better than I’ve seen Mason throw it to date.

        I’m not saying that with the talent we have on O that Bobo can’t find a way to score a lot of points. I’m just saying that I don’t think Mason willl be able to do it in the same way it’s been done while Bobo’s been OC.

        • A “relatively healthy” Gurley scores on his last run of the bowl game.

          • mg4life0331

            He looked worse in the bowl game than the later half of the season. I always wondered if he re-aggravated whatever he was going through.

          • Dawgoholic

            The problem is that if you’re not scoring 40 against the likes of Nebraska (or 30 plus in the rain) and GT your offense is not of the caliber needed to compete for championships. Those were Mason’s first two starts and a lot of guys were hurt. Here’s hoping they can find a way to score a lot next year.

            Look at his stats – Gurley was in the same ballpark against Nebraska as a number of other games, and he did not have the threat of AM throwing the ball to help.

            http://espn.go.com/college-football/player/_/id/534669/todd-gurley

  7. Biggus Rickus

    I can’t argue with the list too much. Marshall probably shouldn’t be number one, but if not him, who? Prescott is the only guy I think is horribly overrated.

  8. Debby Balcer

    It is funny to read all the Mason doubt when so many wanted him to start ahead of Murray a couple of years ago.

    • +1 – the backup QB is always the most popular player on the team

      • Dawgoholic

        I never wanted Mason to start. I was always an AM guy. I guess now’s my time to like the backup – not that I think Mason should not start. I just don’t think the offense will be as successful as we’re used to with Mason unless it is tweaked.

        I support Mason – just pointing out that he brings a different skill set than we are used to at QB for UGA.

        • Well said, and point well taken.

          I, too, never wanted Mason to start, though I thought there were times when we should have put him in. There were a few times when Murray was struggling, and wasn’t getting it done, and Mason could have provided a spark, I thought.

          There wasn’t a whole lot to lose in those situations, plus Mason would have gained valuable experience, and Murray would have been pushed, which I think he needed back then. He would have developed into the guy we know now, much quicker, IMO.

          I love Murray as much as anybody, but the truth is he didn’t get the ‘big game monkey’ off his back until last year. The 2012 SECCG and Bowl Game got it going, but it took those early wins over SC and LSU to get that done.

          Regardless, I agree Mason brings a different skill set. But I suspect, with good reason, that Mason brings a kind of ‘moxie’ that Murray didn’t have, at least for most of his career. And that could benefit us greatly.

          He’ll be different, to be sure, but the overall effect, and the outcome of his play, may end up delighting us all.
          ~~~

          • Dawgoholic

            Hope you’re right on Mason.

            • Yeah, me too. Our season, or at least our offense, kinda depends on it. I think we have the best offense in CF but, even if you have the other pieces, it doesn’t work without high-level QB play.

              It’s a sophisticated offense.
              ~~~

  9. TEXAS DAWG

    Arm strength isn’t every thing but it can help you overcome some deficiencies. Joe Montana certainly did not have the arm strength of Brett Favre, but I think his career turned out OK. In our own backyard, I don’t think anyone would compare David Greene’s arm to Matt Stafford’s. I would much rather have a guy back there who can make the correct read QUICKLY and accurately put the ball on target than a cannon arm gunslinger that thinks he can force the ball into anywhere. Both can be successful, but the gunslinger gives me severe heartburn. I think given the weapons he has surrounding him, if the line does it’s job, I think we will all be pleased with the results.

  10. Mayor of Dawgtown

    FSU is going to rue that Coker left when Winston gets re-indicted for rape and gets suspended from football. Also, aren’t those idiots who voted Winston the Heisman going to have egg on their faces, too?

  11. Bulldog Joe

    I support Mason. I am counting on an improved defense to support him too.