Aaron Murray: what do we know that they don’t?

I know there are plenty in Dawgnation who don’t have a problem bashing Aaron Murray, but he sure is getting a lot of offseason love on the outside.

The Sporting News lists him as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation going into the 2012 season.

Why he’s here: A strong arm and a high quarterback IQ. He has terrific leadership skills and a rare toughness. He doesn’t have the same skill set as former Georgia star (and No. 1 overall pick) Matthew Stafford, but who does in the last two decades? Of the group of five, the best pure football player.

And ESPN’s Heisman predictor places him second in an early preview, behind Matt Barkley.

A short reader poll would seem to be in order here.


Filed under Georgia Football

45 responses to “Aaron Murray: what do we know that they don’t?

  1. JasonC

    I voted no, but that was because of the wording of the question. I think AM is a really good QB and will develop into a great QB. Like AM has said, he needs to improve his footwork and accuracy. Then, he needs to cut down on the crucial turnovers in big games. If he does that, then he will be one of the best players in the country. Those who whine about the need to start Mason would whine no matter who is starting.

    • IveyLeaguer

      Yeah, Murray’s good, but not ready to be considered great. He has yet to put it together, and admits that publicly, which I like. Things like footwork and accuracy are fundamentals that are critical enough to turn ballgames one way or the other.

      His tendency to critical turnovers has put an onus on his back that will remain there until he does something to get it off – like something to win a big game or two. And it’s not just turnovers, but unforced errors at critical points of games. Absolute momentum killers. Fair or not, that’s the way it is.

      Simply put, Murray has yet to be consistent enough and has yet to show he’s capable of winning the big games. I like him, and think he can do it. But now’s the time – it’s now or never. His OL will be at least as good as all but one or two we’ve had under Richt – barely good enough. He has the defense and plenty of firepower around him. And bonafide RB’s, for a change.

      I suspect a piece of Murray’s struggle is a mental thing, because that would explain a lot. But that’s something he’s just gonna have to figure out on his own.

      Most important in this conversation, however, is the fact that he’s a 4th year player. So this is it for Murray. After this year, there will be no doubt, one way or the other.

      • Bevo

        I agree with both of these posts. Well said.

      • HK

        To presume the OL will be as good as you seem to, or that the last two lines were ‘good enough,’ is a pretty big stretch.

        • IveyLeaguer

          LOL. I realize that was stretching it. I was trying to avert the idea that Murray can’t be good because of the OL. I do think this OL will be as good as any he’s had, chiefly because it’s hard to get a lot worse. And the performance of the OL hasn’t been the primary problem with Murray, IMHO.
          It’s a factor by definition, of course, and has been somewhat of a factor for Murray. I don’t know how to remove the OL out of the equation. But it hasn’t been THAT bad. Anybody can stand in a nice comfortable pocket and hold the ball and lots of guys can throw it from there. But a lot of Murray misses have come when he;s not under pressure, and so on.
          Murray’s struggles I mentioned above are about as independent of his OL as it can get, I think.
          I’m not expecting a lot out of this line. That’s been true for many years now, I’ve never drank the OL cool-aid, and won’t again this year. I just hope it’ll be somehow good enough till we can get some more pieces, and then do something with them.

  2. ZeroPointZero

    Is there a third option? Like, I just don’t know. He’s a Dawg and you won’t hear me say a bad word about him so that’s not what I mean. But a nationwide comparison in March? How about a third option of “I hope like hell that he is”.

    • I didn’t ask if you think AM is one of the best players in the country; I asked if you think he deserves consideration for that.

      • DawgFaithful

        God yes he deserves consideration for it. He’s tough as nails, a leader, and a great football player. I agree that he needs to improve on the intermediate routes. He’s missed some of those. Gotta get that completion % up. The season can’t get here soon enough. Goooo Dawgs!!!

  3. Joe

    AM is great, a real DGD.

    The only real concern is that 4 ints went for pick 6, and 3 killer fumbles – all in the 4 games that we lost if I am not mistaken.

    IF we can cut those out, the sky’s the limit!

  4. governormilledge

    Lord, even the coaching staff at Mizzou is delusional before a game has been played. I’m really hoping that Grantham & Co. have a proper introduction to Southern football prepared.

    “Missouri offensive coordinator David Yost told Sporting News earlier this spring that he’d be shocked if [James] Franklin weren’t the best quarterback in the SEC in 2012.”

  5. Jim

    NO! He is a turnover machine and does not show up in big games. He is a good qb, but not a Great one. His two turnovers caused the LSU game to become a rout and directly contributed to the MSU bow loss.

    • Jeff Sanchez


    • Cojones

      Perhaps you missed the two dropped passes by open receivers, one that was a sure TD. All plays directly contribute to wins or losses, not just the ones by Murray. Causing the LSU game to become a rout lies at the feet of the D, don’t you think? Murray nor any other player needs an over-the-top assessment of their mistakes, much less in those two games.

  6. Skeptic Dawg

    AM continues to have far too many critical turnovers at the worst possible time. That alone is enough to keep his name off of this list. Add to that the fact that after 3 years on campus he still is not fundamentally rock solid (not my opinion, but from his coaches), then there is no way AM deserves consideration as one of the best in college football. He is a tough kid, a great leader and he has a solid arm. If he improves his fundamentals and decision making, then and only then could he be in consideration. He is no Joe Cox, nor is he David Green. He is somewhere in between the two.

    • 69Dawg

      I think he has had quit a few “Joe Cox” moments. He like Joe has a good touch on the long ball. He like Joe has trouble with the screen pass. He like Joe has had those “what the F was that” moments, and he like Joe has thrown back breaking pick 6’s. Unlike Joe he has never won a shoot out with a quality team and unlike Joe he is much more of an athlete.

      Aaron is like the little girl with the little curl, when she is good she is very very good but when she is bad she is a stinker.

  7. Cojones

    While I voted “yes”, I understood the “no” votes. Zere Point Zero had a good point.

    Murray describes his passing in practice when comparing to another QB as “Over the wall” and I inferred that nervousness contributes to that in games as well. Placing a condition on his passing abilities doesn’t usually appear in questions, but I think they should. Proven and known ability-yes. Does he have nervous moments and series that affect his ability negatively-yes. When he is laser-on in games is he in the best category-yes, most times at the top. It isn’t inconsistent play ability that accounts for the small downside to his game, it’s the inconsistent deportment and psyche. While I think that the O line play from game to game accounts for that, it doesn’t take away from his proven skill.

    • 69Dawg

      I agree completely. Aaron presses when he feels that things are going bad. When he does this he makes questionable decisions. He is his toughest critic and that can be an additional pressure that he puts on himself. Great athletes live in the now if they screw up they move on quickly, Aaron seems to try to do more when he should just do his job.

  8. Mayor of Dawgtown

    The only criticism the Sporting News has of AM is his pass completion percentage. To get that higher you have to have receivers actually catch the ball. All the QB can do is throw it. AM was bouncing balls off receivers’ heads, shoulder pads and backs in the SECCG. Whose fault was it that those were not completions? Not AM’s–that’s for sure.

  9. HK

    Does anyone think Matt Barkley deserves it any more than Murray?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      If you moved Murray to USC and Barkley to UGA, Murray would be Barkley and Barkley would be Murray. It’s all about the surrounding players. You know, Murray is a smart guy. This past year was his junior year academically. It occurred to me last year that he could take overloads and graduate early, opening the door to transferring to another program a la Russell Wilson. I’m just glad he didn’t.


    I want to see Aaron with a offensive line that consists of tackles instead of all guards before I pass judgement. I do agree that the turnovers in bad times killed us in big games last year. Love his leadership and competitiveness . Senator, long time reader first time commenting love your blog. GATA

  11. Hill dawg

    funny how he seems to have bad games on the same days the O line had a bad day.

  12. section Z alum

    i am forever puzzled by the bitchitude towards murray.

    • sUGArdaddy

      It’s quite simple. They don’t know much about football. I’ve decided to stop being nice. I’m tired of Dawg fans complaining that simply dont know much about the sport. We are blessed to have Murray. Blessed, blessed, blessed.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        +1. Any problems with the Dawgs aren’t at QB.

        • Skeptic Dawg

          Most posts today are not dumping on Murray. The comments are stating why AM would not be considered as one of the top CFB players. Everyone agrees he is a solid QB, but he does have shortcomings.

          • IveyLeaguer

            Thanks. It’s not about bashing Murray. If sUGArdaddy is accusing me and others of not knowing football, then I question him.
            Is Murray lying to the media when he talks about his weaknesses? Why would he do that?
            Not that it matters, because the film speaks for itself. What’s been intelligently discussed here today, without emotion or prejudice, doesn’t require Murray, Richt, Bobo, or anybody else. Only the film.
            And it sure as heck doesn’t require sUGArdaddy.

            • sUGArdaddy

              Oh, he’s not perfect. But he’s as good is there is in college football today. And if he stays 2 more years, he might be the best to ever wear silver britches. Do I want him to stop turning the ball over? Sure. But I just believe the criticism of him is nitpicking compared to othe problems we’ve got.

              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                +1. Murray’s problems with turnovers are OL related and his problem with completion percentage is receiver related. I won’t even go into the playcalling which sure as hell isn’t Aaron’s fault.

                • IveyLeaguer

                  Well, there’s obviously 2 different views of what’s going on with Murray, lol. We think you’re seeing it wrong, and you guys think we are.
                  I guess we can all agree we’d like Murray to have a great year, and be considered the best QB in the country next spring.

                  • Mayor of Dawgtown

                    +1 on that. My concern is that he is getting programmed to lose, gunshy–whatever you want to call it–by the shortcomings of others like the OL, receivers and, yes, the offensive coaches. It is tough to stand in there and take a hit from a 285 pound DL, throw it on the money and have the receiver drop the ball or run the wrong route or not look for the ball, time after time. Or for your coach to start playing conservatively before the game is won. And have no running game. It works on your brain after a while.

  13. CharlotteDawg

    I voted no but I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think he can turn into one this year. In fact I’d argue Murray taking the next step will be one of the “must happens” for Georgia to re-emerge as a national power in 2012.

    the criticism that he makes turnovers at the worst possible times in the worst possible way is completely valid. However, I’ve got to bring up 2 points in Murray’s defense.

    1) for the folks who say he can’t win a big game against a ranked opponent, I don’t understand how Auburn this year didn’t count as a big game against a ranked opponent. We knew at kickoff, it was a must win game, USC had just finished their SEC schedule with a win and Auburn was the biggest hurdle between us and the dome. I don’t think I’ve seen a better half from a UGA QB than Murray had in the first half.

    2) It’s well documented his troubles in big games but i think it’s completely ignored that Murray for all his turnovers has also had stretches against good defenses where he looks unstoppable. 42 points against Carolina, two dropped passes from throwing 3 tis against the #1 team in the nation in a first half. heck after Georgia went up 16-0 against MSU i thought the game was over. Point being, it’s not like we’ve never seen Murray play well against good competition, so I don’t think it’s unrealistic to believe that he can take the next step, learn to trust his teammates a little more, and achieve the level of consistency needed to be that QB that goes down in UGA folklore.

    • IveyLeaguer

      Well said.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      I don’t want to be negative but “to learn to trust his teammates,” those teammates have to earn that trust. Would you trust last year’s OL? Would you stand in there and take a bone-crushing hit to deliver a pass on the money to last year’s group of receivers? It’s a two way street, brother. AM did the best he could do last season with what he had to work with.

  14. I think the people who have hit on how well the line has played in the big games has determined how well Murray has played. Even truly great qb’s struggle at times without blocking. He is not as good as he can be but that also says something about how great he can be in that he shattered the UGA TD record and yet still has room for improvement. Also as far as the LSU game I think his entire rep would be different right now if the two early drops that would have been TD’s were caught. UGA up 21-0, he has no need to press and we roll against LSU it is a totally different story.

    My guess is that if the OL and RB’s play to their potential Murray will be leading us to many big wins this season and we will win the east and possibly the SEC. If the line doesn’t hold up then there will be a game or two where Murray looks bad at times as he gets knocked around.

  15. Verillion

    Strong arm? I wouldn’t say that, he’s more of a threat with his legs than his arm. High IQ QB? I don’t agree. He seems to misread coverages against good defenses, and also doesn’t throw away enough balls, and throws more interceptions than anyone in the conference as a result. Leadership skills? Havn’t seen him lead his team to a come from behind victory yet, or a win against any team who ended up in the top 25. I’d say Ark & Alabama and LSU and South Carolina’s QB’s will win more games than Murray this year. And I would say those 4 QB’s, because of their leadership, are better. Murray will get his stats, of hi 16 wins so far, only 4 came against winning teams, and there’s 11 unranked teams on the 2012 schedule, but will Murray ever lead the SEC in wins in a season? Long shot.

  16. Verillion

    I would say Crowell should be considered for the Heisman, depending on how he plays in the biggest games like South Carolina, Florida, possible Championship game, and the Bowl game. Murray has never played well in those type of games, Crowell, if he can stay healthy, can contend, but the team needs to go undefeated with this schedule.

  17. Snake Plisskin

    The best test would be to put Barkley behind UGA’s line the past two seasons and have Murray play behind USC’s…before coming to Athens Murray went up against the best QB’s in the nation and always came out ahead and was MVP of the camps (he even beat Barkley’s team at Nike’s Portland’s 7 on 7 by a score of 38-7, or something like that)…he and Barkley were 1 & 2 with Barkley getting a slight nod because of his height, and then Murray broke his leg and he dropped all the way down to #3 in the nation)…is the difference in their success, the OL play, QB coaching, preparation, play calling, talent at the receiver position?????? Who knows, but I think it is a little more complicated than some of the reasons being thrown around…Murray is a nice “problem” to have…BTW, I enjoy the banter on this blog, as it is much more respectful of others opinions…

  18. BazookaJoe

    Even better, put Hutson Mason behind the same line, Mason has yet to throw an interception, and is virtually impossible to sack (only 1 sack per 30 passes vs. Murray’s 1 sack per 13 passes). Maybe it’s not the o-line?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      As much as I like Mason, he only has played as a mop up or in games against walkover teams. Not a fair comparison.

  19. ldsdawg

    Murray will appear to be a much improved quarterback this year. With an improved running attack that he can rely on, he won’t have to be running for his life all the time, and trying to take the load of trying to win the game or force the play by himself. I think he has a tendency to do that when things get tight. I believe our running game will be the key to the dawgs winning it all. Pour up the Kool-aid guys, and set me up several ’cause I believe this is our year, and Brother Murray’s gonna be a key art in all of it!

  20. BazookaJoe

    I thought the same thing last year, that Murray would improve with experience. Unfortunately, in many areas such as accuracy, interceptions, passing efficiency, he got worse.

    Running game as cause of Murray’s ills? Actually, look at how the run game did in South Carolina, almost 200 yards, and Murray struggled. And. against top ranked teams, the running game improved from 10th top 5th in the coinference, yet Murray’s accuracy and interceptions got worse. So we know it’s not the o-line, or the run game that caused Murray’s ills.

    Perhaps Murray is the cause?

  21. Pingback: Georgia Football: Aaron Murray Still Has Plenty Left to Prove in 2012 | The Lady Sportswriter