The Murray mystery

It’s something I’ll chew on in the offseason, but Richt hits on the big puzzle of the 2010 edition of Georgia:

Statistically, Richt believes that Aaron Murray has had a better freshman season than David Greene or Matt Stafford. Given that Murray was the team’s big question mark entering 2010, Richt admitted he “never would’ve dreamed” they’d still be 6-6.

“If we’d have known he’d be as efficient as he was, and like you say, turnovers got in the right direction in a positive way, our penalty situation was much improved, to think that you would be 6-6, I would say no,” Richt said.

The stats tell a strange story, true.  But there’s another part to this.  “If we’d have known he’d be as efficient as he was”, how different would the playcalling have been during the 1-4 start?


UPDATE: Gentry Estes posted a complete transcript of Richt’s presser.  As a big David Greene fan, I can’t help but like this comparison:

“Aaron Murray and David Greene are very similar in their approach to the game. I’d say that’s the thing they are most similar. When Coach (Mike) Bobo and I started meeting with our quarterbacks 10 years ago when David was in the room with the others, he just was very proficient at listening, at writing down all the information, and then you could see him go through the progressions that you teach him. You could see him going exactly the way you say to progress. You could just tell he was creating some very good habits. That was one of the greatest emphasis we had this fall was for these young quarterbacks to create a lot of great habits that would serve them well for their entire careers at Georgia, not just this season. Habits of just the QB-center exchange, the ball-handling, you remember how David was such a good ball-handler and he would do a great job faking the ball. I think Aaron has taken that very seriously. Just your footwork in the pocket, knowing when to move up in the pocket and as you move up in the pocket to keep your focus downfield. Just not feeling like you have to throw the ball into coverage all the time or make some type of fantastic play, just learning to throw the ball away is OK. Very few turnovers Aaron has had this year, and David didn’t have a lot of turnovers either. Just the approach to the game I think is the thing that is the most similar about them. I think another thing is they had the respect of their teammates at a very young age, which is very good to have. I think both of them have that. They have a little bit different style, a little different stature. Sorry David, but Murray is a little more athletic than David was, but David has the 6-4 height advantage and that type of thing. Just great guys, guys that you as a coach have a lot of confidence to allow them to be the leader of your team.”


Filed under Georgia Football

30 responses to “The Murray mystery

  1. Russ

    No big mystery here. The defense still sucked, and that suckitude overshadowed all the improvements elsewhere. Yeah, Bobo could’ve called more bombs (and we might have had more turnovers, who knows?), but the defense is still a giant lead weight right now.

    I think Grantham will get it turned around, and I think for the coaches sakes, he better make huge improvements next year.

    Boy, I sure hope we get that NG from the Juco. We have to have help on the DL.

    • Brandon

      Agree completely, our defense was still pretty bad and our early season schedule turned out to be a lot tougher than anybody thought going into the season or at the time. SC, won the east, had a really good freshman RB who kept the ball away from us. Also had players dropping crucial first downs (Orson Charles) not helping our kid QB out making his first SEC road start. Arkansas, 10-2, going to the Sugar Bowl, lost it by a touchdown in the final minute. Miss State, also turned out to be good, they held Cam Newton to 17 points, what? That was early in the year? You mean offenses start slower than defenses often times? Your kidding me, who’d have thunk it? Mix in our best player being suspended and not surprising. Colorado, that stings bad loss, the kids were no doubt pretty down on themselves by then, defense was bad, true to form, we still would have won had Caleb not fumbled. Who doubts Walsh makes the kick? I don’t. This was a hard luck year, we turned around and went 5-2 from there, we didn’t quit. Every game was close. I don’t blame the coaches at all for this year. I’m still sore at Richt for taking 5 years to fire Martinez, he should have been gone after 2006 at the latest, if we had a decent defense in 2007-2008, we are no worse than 11-2 and 13-1 those years. Last year we actually had a pretty good record considering how bad our defense was and our inconsistency at QB (good QB play being important in all systems but even more important in our system than most). Richt is a good coach but he’s an offensive guy he depends totally on his defensive coordinator to run that side of the ball, we just need to keep looking until we find one. You give David Greene, Fred Gibson, and Co. some of these D’s we’ve had the last couple of years and they wouldn’t be remembered as the fair haired children they are I guarantee you, those seasons wouldn’t have turned out near so well as they did.

      • Macallanlover

        Very solid Brandon, hard for me to take issue with any of that. Specifically I like the observation about what 2007-2008 ( you can add 2010) could have been with our earlier defenses, and how the early teams would have done with this year’s defense. Defens is the difference maker during the CMR era, and we somehow under estimate how good the UGA offenses have been when games are played on equal footing: field position, turnovers, etc.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          You can also add 2009 to that list. 10-11 wins that year with a good D.

          • Macallanlover

            I don’t know how about that, way too many turnovers and penalties. A lot of that was on the offense, especially the INTs when Joe went on a tear 3-4 times. Defense was weak, but the offense could not sustain drives. I don’t see 11 games with that group at all, and it would take some serious mistakes from other teams to get us 10.

            • Mayor of Dawgtown

              The Dawgs won 8 that year. A good D wins both the LSU game and the UK game (UK scored 34 points). That’s 10 wins without even looking closely. Did The O screw up, too? Yes, but even then it still scored points. It had to because in order for UGA to win any game it had to be a track meet. The only game that the Dawgs played that year that you could say was reasonably balanced between offense and defense was the Tech game. Bottom-line UGA’s problems have been on D for the last several years. Still are. If UGA had Mississippi State’s D this year the Dawgs would have won 11 games–maybe more.

      • Hackerdog

        Martinez should have been gone by 2006 at the latest? Georgia won the SEC in 2005. Has a team that won the SEC ever fired its DC? And just look at the defensive stats in 2006 for scoring defense (#18 in the country, 3rd in the SEC) and total defense (#14 in the country, 3rd in the SEC). How about 2007, when UGA finished ranked #2? Scoring defense was #22 in the country, 4th in the SEC, and total defense was #8 in the country, 3rd in the SEC.

        I don’t like defending Martinez. I think Richt was correct to replace him. And I think, with hindsight, he should have done it a year earlier (2008 was when the defense fell off the shelf statistically). But let’s not let the narrative influence our memories of Martinez’s early defenses which, until 2008, were pretty good.

        • Brandon

          I disagree all of the warning signs were there in 2005. The Auburn game that year was a god awful game defensively far worse than any game in the Richt era up to that point (with the possible exception of the 2003 SEC Title game but I tip my hat to LSU more than I fault the coaches in that game between us playing them in Baton Rogue that year and Atlanta they became men among boys in college football, they would have mopped the floor with almost anybody). Auburn 2005 was no where near the team LSU 2003 was. Auburn 2005 was also the debut of the failure to adjust to a play that is killing us, we got Kenny Irons on the damn toss sweep over and over again no thought of trying to force them back inside. I also began to notice that year that our back ups didn’t seem to be playing as well as they normally did, from 2001-04, when our backups came in during those years they played very soundly that deteriorated steadily during Martinez’s tenure until finally our starters were playing like s#@t, that’s coaching. Move on to the Sugar Bowl, a complete embarassment against an inferior team, wait a minute I think Steve Slaton just went around the end again and scored a TD, Rich Rod took CWM to the absolute cleaners, it was 28-0 before we could blink our eyes, that was clearly coaching. I told my friend after that game that until we got rid of Willie I was afraid that the “cap” that was knocked off our program at Auburn in 2002 was back on and I was right, sadly. Move on to the Tennessee game in 2006 another complete spanking administered to CWM by David Cutcliffe, who that day authored the book which would be used to dismantle CWM’s defenses from that day on, realizing we would concede 7-8 passes all day long, Cutcliffe, took them all the way down the field riding his way to 51 points in Sanford stadium, that Tennessee team wasn’t even very good. We had a half time lead in that game and the defense completely collapsed, here along with the WVU game the year before began the periods when our defense was “absent” for a long stretch as many bloggers have put it. Add in the fact that we also gave up over 20 points in losses to Vandy and UK squads that had no business scoring that much against our talent and yes it was pretty dang clear we were underperforming. Willie tried to choke again to start the Peach Bowl that year spotting VT a 21-0 lead, luckily thanks to Matt Stafford, a gutsy onside kick call by Richt and the individual efforts of Charles Johnson we managed to pull that one out. Long story short yes I think he should have been fired after 2006 at the latest but if you want to roll on into 2007 how about us not showing up at all again on D in Tennessee, Tennessee scores touchdowns on there first four or five possessions for a 28-0 lead, I don’t hang that loss solely on the D because our O only scored 14 points but damn your not even giving them a chance when you put them in that kind of a hole, it takes an offense completely out of their game plan and forces them to throw every down which in turn allows the opposing D to rip loose on the blitz. I could go on and on. I was saying this stuff all at the time it was occurring but by 2008 a lot more coaches had read Cutcliffe’s book on CWM and our stats really started tanking. Then you get to last year and Stephen Garcia and Jonathan Crompton are looking like Dan Marino against us. It was all a natural progression that was visible much sooner than we made a move and long before the end of 2008. Don’t get me wrong we were still bad on defense this year but at least we stopped the bleeding somewhat. If CWM had been calling the shots SC would have beat us like 38-6 and Arkansas probably 55-24 how would everybody feel then?

          • Hackerdog

            Again, I’m not arguing that your hindsight crystal ball is working perfectly. I’m sure you can even go back to specific calls that Martinez made during those years and correct them with 100% accuracy (should have called a run blitz against that dive play). I’m just saying that DCs whose team wins the SEC, or finishes in the top 3 in the SEC in defense, don’t get fired.

        • Russ

          In general I agree that 2008 was the year, but 2006 and 2007 had some pretty bad outliers to the statistics you posted. 2007 was when we got blasted by Tennessee at home, 2006 was pretty bad as well. Hindsight is 20-20, though. It’s easy to see after the fact.

          • Brandon

            It may have been tougher to see if we hadn’t been so darn good the previous seasons under Van Gorder, truthfully we were decent under Donnan’s last DC, Gary Gibbs, as well. The drop off was noticeable at the time.

          • Macallanlover

            Actually think the 2006 UT game is very misunderstood. We didn’t get blasted at all, we were on the verge of totally dominating that game until we went brain dead on turnovers and handed them 27 points. That game, the Kentucky 2nd half meltdown in 2009, and the 3rd quarter GT giveaway are three of the most painful games I can recall in the Richt era. Yes, Colorado, Vandy, WVU, and BC all hurt, and are games we should have won, but those games were just games we were flat in, the massive quantities of turnovers and unearned TDs in the first three bother me more. Those were all games we dominated and lost.

            • Brandon

              Turnovers definately hurt in many games but it is the job of the defense to stop another team or hold them to a FG at least a decent percentage of the time, it seems like everytime we turned the ball over Willie’s D promptly allowed the other team to cash in for 6. No matter, I’m glad he’s gone, hopefully CTG can right the ship. If not we just need to look for another guy. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  2. AthensHomerDawg

    “In today’s complex and competitive SEC world, what we need even more than foresight or hindsight is insight”

  3. Normaltown Mike

    SC hurts the most. I think Bobo didn’t want to throw AM to the wolves and have a bad game get in his head. Hindsight being what it is we know AM is a baller and the meltdown was unlikely.

    Did Colorado really happen?

    • Ausdawg85

      1st half of FL game showed the risk we had with a RSF. It was probably the right coaching decision to go slow at USCe with young AM, and this year, you just weren’t going to beat them with less than a full complement of talent. We would have needed a late season AM and Green to beat the cocks.

      What CU game??

  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    Someone could probably do some decent analysis on that hypothetical. The running game never really broke loose this year like the end of last year, so you could without too much distortion get some meaningful conclusions comparing passing offense and scoring in the first 5 games versus the last 7 games.

    Hindsight judgments are savory, but meaningless. I think a big reason Aaron Murray looked so good is because they brought him along at the right speed.

    • Brandon

      I agree big time with your last paragraph Hogbody. We all saw in the Florida game and G-Day last year that Murray could get over-excited, you can bet Richt and Bobo knew that too, they were right not to put too much on his shoulders at the start of the year, the only thing worse than losing those games would have been destroying Murray’s confidence by asking him to do too much too soon, hello Jarett Lee.

      • Ausdawg85

        Funny how the world works…I’m at a grocery store in Austin and the check-out clerk is a young man who had either Downs, or maybe slight autism…whatever. Very friendly, sees my UGA t-shirt and asks if I attended…and sympathized with our rough year. I complement him for following CFB, and he proceeds to diagnose our problems at running back. “UGA is running back U, and those two guys just didn’t get the job done, did they?!” “Coach Richt better get back to running because that’s how you guys always win…” He goes on more intellegently for 5 minutes than any AJC poster…or writer.

        From the mouth of babes. I walked away shaking my head and smiling.

        • Russ

          Nice story. I wonder how long it would take him to suss out UT’s problems. That would be a long conversation, I imagine.

  5. diving duck

    I know people like to keep races separate when making comparisons but what about a Troy Smith comparison for Murray?

  6. sUGArdaddy

    Murray truly is the mystery of 2010. The bottom line is what many of you have said. We’ve got to get a D to back that kid up. We can’t waste his career with a crappy D the next 3 years. We don’t need Eric Zeier 2.0.

    • Brandon

      Zeier 2.0, I love that, I’ve always said that the 1992 team was the worst waste of an offense I’ve ever seen, Zeier at QB, Hearst at RB, Hastings at WR, defense couldn’t stop a paper sack, still went 10-2.

      • Don’t forget Terrell Davis, second string TB.

        Those two losses were by a total of five points. That’s a team that should have played for a MNC. Defense and turnovers in the UT game did ’em in.

        • Brandon

          Oh yeah, I was 14 when that UT game was played and I went outside and kicked over my basketball goal, it just made me sick, the UF game was just about as bad 28-26 if I remember. If we could have played a little bit of defense we could have one the national championship. I’ve got Alabama friends that always tell me they were glad Florida beat us that year because they didn’t want to play our offense in the SEC championship game, Bama of course went on to win the MNC by smacking the Miami Convicts.

  7. Dave

    “If we’d have known he’d be as efficient as he was”, how different would the playcalling have been during the 1-4 start?

    Your question assumes that Richt responds to external events.

    • Dawgfan Will

      New defensive staff? New strength and conditioning coach? “Dream Team” recruiting concept?

      Exactly what is he going to have to respond to to make you happy?