A little bit of history repeating

Most of us have picked up on the rather obvious comparison between Cox and Shockley – two patient kids who’ve waited until their senior seasons to get the chance to start and run the offense – but I’m not sure that I’ve seen anyone pick up on the other similarity looming.  That would be the quarterback picture for 2010 and how it echoes 2006.

Think about it:  2005 and 2009 are the years of the patient backups.  But if things stay true to form in Athens, it’s unlikely that Cox’s backup will see much playing time this season.  Here’s the percentage of total pass attempts that Georgia backup quarterbacks have handled over the last five seasons:

  • 2008:  (15/400) – 3.75%
  • 2007:  (15/365) – 4.11%
  • 2006:  (85/342) – 24.85%
  • 2005:  (52/363) – 14.33%
  • 2004:  (60/363) – 16.53%

The 2006 number can be explained by the fact that Richt didn’t settle on a final starter (Stafford) until the Mississippi State game.  In the last six games of that year, backups were in on exactly zero passing attempts.  2005’s percentage was affected by Shockley’s absence due to injury in the Arkansas and Florida games.

2004 was the only season of the last five where the staff made an effort to involve the backup quarterback in the offense motivated by something other than necessity.  And that was primarily due to Richt’s motivation to make sure Shockley saw the field.  The big question is whether Richt or Bobo will feel the same way about whichever QB candidate winds up in the second string slot in 2009.  (And don’t forget that this year’s schedule isn’t exactly conducive to generating a lot of garbage time for the backups to get a chance to see the field.)

If not, Georgia will waltz into 2010 in about the same situation as it faced in 2006 – a multitude of inexperienced quarterbacks duking it out for the starting slot.  Gray will have the role of JT III (they both even had special teams experience!), while Murray and Mettenberger will play Stafford and Cox (or Cox and Stafford, depending).

The downside for the 2010 group over its 2006 counterparts is that Tereshinski did have the experience of a previous start going into the season, not that it made much difference ultimately; barring injury to Cox this year, it’s unlikely that will be the case in 2010.  On the other hand, the good news is that the job next year won’t be handed to a true freshman, as things evolved in 2006.  Regardless of how the pecking order for next season shakes out, though, it’ll be another green bunch the job will get entrusted to, just like 2006.

It’s just something to be a little nervous about down the road.


UPDATE: Mike Bobo looks ahead.


Filed under Georgia Football

10 responses to “A little bit of history repeating

  1. kckd

    Just my opinion, but I think 2010 will be different from 2006. The problem that year was the coaches had a team favorite who really didn’t have the physical tools to play up to what we needed at the position, a redshirt freshman who may have been able to do it and a true freshman who had all the tools but limited knowledge.

    Murray and Mett should be much further along than Stafford should Gray not be able to cut it.

    I’ll always wonder what would’ve happened had Cox been able to move the offense in that first half against Mississippi.


    • Legatedawg

      Agreed. JT3, God bless him, was a fine, loyal Dawg, but simply not an upper-level SEC quarterback. It is rather telling that had he not been offered at UGA, he would have gone to Harvard, I understand. By contrast, Logan Gray was Mr. Missouri Football the year he graduated from HS. Murray was one of the top 5 ranked recruits last year; Mettenberger was in the top 50 or 100 nationally. And, of course, neither will be a true freshman in 2010. Your hypothetical about Cox being able to move the ball against Ole Miss in 2006 is a thought-provoking one. Rebs were not at all good that year. We actually had a strong start, including the shut-out of Spurrier’s Chickens in Columbia and a 34-0 win over a UAB team that had taken Oklahoma to the wire a couple weeks before. But the near-disaster with Colorado followed by a truly lackluster outing at Ole Miss gave me a strong sense that something was starting to go wrong; to this day I’m not sure what it was but it wasn’t righted till the next-to-last game of the regular season. Also, for whatever reason, Blake Barnes, who signed with us in 2004, was apparently dogged by off-season injuries or just never developed as one would have hoped, so he was one less alternative as it became apparent that JT3 was not going to be the answer at QB.


  2. Richt-Flair

    We’ll be better off than we were in 06. A redshirt junior (and former blue chip QB prospect) and two redshirt freshmen mean lots of competition. I think we’ll see Gray in there a lot this season ala Shockley 02-04. Plus, and this shouldn’t be overlooked, the wide receive play should be much improved from what we saw in 06. Every game we seemed to have at least a half dozen dropped passes.


  3. Ben W

    I wholly agree with the comments that it’s going to be completely different than ’06.

    The thing is, both Mettenburger AND Murray are more highly coveted for their respective QB skills than Barnes, JT3, and even Cox was. Cox had the intangible factor of being a winner coming out of high school, but it seems like coaches and scouts have been more impressed with both of our new guys. Mettenburger has the biggest arm in the QB class of ’09 per many recruiting sources, and Murray’s moxie, elusiveness, and quickest release in the class have had people drooling. That’s not to say that there might not be an inexperience issue to SOME degree, but in ’06 i felt like we were forced to choose between someone who can’t do it vs. someone who MIGHT do it.

    That being said, I still think that the position is going to be Logan Gray’s, and i also think there will be quite a few formations this year where he’ll get in there for some designed runs and/or trick plays. I’d be happy if we’re able to redshirt both young QBs, and then have a battle royal in ’11 for which one takes the reigns for a couple years after Gray is gone.

    The other possibility, although unlikely I think, is that either Mettenburger or Murray win the starting job next year, and we continue to use Gray as a utility QB every few series.


  4. Mike In Valdosta

    Very interesting comparisons, however I believe this biggest difference going into 2009, 10 and beyond, will be the mindset of the coaching staff. I would bet Richt regrets not just taking his lumps with Stafford in 2006, just like he regrets red-shirting Moreno in 2006.

    Furthermore, the comparison between Gray and JT3 ends at special teams experience. A better way to put it, they both have/had an intense desire to get on the field and contribute in whatever way the coaches felt possible. JT3, while a great guy/student, was not a SEC caliber athlete. As noted by a previous poster, Gray was in demand, and Gray has an arm. JT3 was limited in his ability to throw the ball down field or to the sidelines. He couldn’t exactly stretch the defense vertically or horizontally.

    Another large difference I anticipate for ’10 will be a punishing offensive line. We will not have fielded an offensive line with this much talent and experience since the ’02 SEC Championship campaign.

    This was a great think piece!!!!


  5. HVL Dawg

    One of these Frosh QB’s is going to be a three year starter. The battle is on.

    I hope this comment isn’t unfair to Logan, but I saw him make a lot of fair catches backing up on the 10 yard line this year and one 15 yard late hit out of bounds. Not too cerebral.


  6. 69Dawg

    They put Logan in to field the punts when we were backed up because he was smart enough to fair catch the ball. The other return men would either let it be downed inside the 10 or fumble it while trying to make a scary catch. Logan was the smart one.


  7. HVL Dawg

    I’ll take your word for it on the fair catch call coming from the bench. I’m glad to be wrong.

    So then at what point does the coach say not to back up any more and we’ll take our chances that they(punting team) isn’t going to get the ball downed? I’ve always thought that at the 10 yard line you’ve got a pretty good chance the ball is gonna be a touchback.


  8. Coutu stays healthy and the 2006 Georgia Bulldogs, by the skin of their teeth, go 11-2 and play in a NYD bowl. Think about it.