The long and short of Aaron Murray

For a number of reasons, I have zero use for Mel Kiper.  Listen to him turn his keen insight towards Aaron Murray’s potential draft status:

“The thing working against Murray is in some of the big games he had some struggles. Obviously against Alabama he didn’t get the win, but he was right there with them the whole way. And of course you think about the height, what’s he gonna measure out at: Is he gonna be six feet, a little over it, what exactly is he gonna be? He’s not gonna be 6-2, 6-3. And of course this quarterback year is pretty wide open.”

“I’d say if you’re Aaron Murray and you come out, then there’s gonna be those potential Drew Brees comparisons,” Kiper said. “Brees was the first pick in the second round. So I’d say potential second, third-round area right now. But the height thing is gonna be the big factor in evaluating how he’s viewed by the NFL.”

Kiper then returned to Murray later in the teleconference.

“It’s a tough call. For him it really boils down to where is he?” Kiper said. “He’s played a lot of football at Georgia, it seems like he’s been there forever. He’s an accurate passer. He’s won a lot of games. He didn’t win the big one. Obviously he had a chance against Alabama, but it got away from him late – you’ve gotta spike the ball in that situation. He didn’t, and they ran out of time. He’s thrown a lot of touchdown passes, made a lot of plays. He’s obviously had some good receivers to throw to in his career. … The size issue, I mean how tall is he gonna be? He’s a fourth-year junior, he’s got a decision to make. …”

That’s three references to Murray’s height in a short interview – four if you count the Drew Brees reference.  The man’s a little obsessed with that.  And yet he advises Murray to stay in college another year!  Mel, it’s not like he’s in the ninth grade and will grow another four inches over the summer.

And I love the casual “He’s thrown a lot of touchdown passes, made a lot of plays” toss in there.  I’m not telling you Murray’s the greatest to ever play the position, but there’s more to that than Kiper’s letting on.  I’ve got no idea whether Murray is turning pro after this season, but selfishly speaking, I hope he comes back for more.  With one game left in his third year, he’s already become the first quarterback in SEC history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in each of three seasons.  He’s on pace to throw for close to 13,000 career yards and 120 career touchdown passes, both of which would obliterate the current conference records.  That’s not exactly chopped liver.

Yes, I get the big game critique.  But it takes a village to win a big game.  This season, Murray is the nation’s second-rated passer, despite playing behind a green offensive line (you think McCarron’s numbers would be as pretty if he and Murray swapped blockers?), playing without his best receiver early due to suspensions that forced the coaches to juggle personnel and then losing two starters during the year to season ending injuries, playing with a defense that’s had its share of ups and downs and special teams play that hasn’t always been consistent.  Besides that, there’s this:

I’d say moving the ball 75 yards for the clinching score in a game that put his team in the SECCG and knocked Florida out of national title consideration – finally, some revenge for 2002 – qualifies as coming through in a big game.

He continues to improve and with what’s coming back on offense next year could really have a season for the ages.  If he wasn’t so short, that is.

63 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

63 responses to “The long and short of Aaron Murray

  1. NC Dawg

    I hope he comes back, too. He deserves to leave with the respect due a winner (which he is) and a consummate team player (which he also is). Plus, another season in Athen would give him a chance to wipe out any doubt of his value and ability. Plus, plus, we’re gonna really need him.

  2. gastr1

    The problem with the Florida game is that other than yes, coming through huge at the end, he was pretty bad the rest of the game. Anyway you cut it, until Alabama he had been pretty average against the best defenses, and QBs get the credit for these things, win or lose.

    Kiper’s critique sounds like he hasn’t paid enough attention, which makes sense when you consider that he probably thinks Murray is not likely to make an impact. I don’t love Mel or his style either, but I do recall how vehemently he defended Stafford as a number 1 pick when the rest of the world didn’t get it, and he turned out to be fantastically vindicated because the competition in that draft was Sanchez and Tebow.

    Professionally it seems to me that Murray needs to go, but as a fan of him and our team I would be overjoyed to have him back. He is one of the best of the DGDs, IMO.

    • Derek

      Mel said stafford would be the first pick while he was still in high school.

    • Will (the other one)

      Eh…I’d say Murray’s 1st and 3rd quarters weren’t that bad. He didn’t come out as overamped as he did in 2010. That second quarter was bad, very bad, but he bounced back.

  3. He compares him to Drew Brees… as a negative? Has he not watched a down of NFL football the past decade? Drew Brees is one of the best QB’s to ever play in the NFL. So, if Murray is anything like Brees, teams would be smart to waste a high draft pick on a short QB.

    Murray already makes all of the throws the NFL wants. He has a nice deep ball. He throws the back shoulder pass better than anyone currently in college. He goes through his progressions and spreads it around to all of his receivers. As far as tools and NFL preparedness go, he is at the top of the class of college QB’s this year. He would still likely go behind hot shot names like Matt Barkley and Geno Smith, but there’s no criticism about either of those guys “not winning the big one” because neither ever put their team in a position to BE IN a big one, much less win it.

  4. Boz

    Mel’s Murray rant is pure trash. What does he have left to prove? That he can throw for another 3000 yards and 35 touchdowns? Coming back isn’t gonna make him taller. I want him back, but I don’t see him improving his draft status by putting up more monster numbers. He’s gonna come back because he loves Athens, will slay the record books, and another 57 coeds, not to prove that he is a talented QB.

  5. Dawgfan Will

    I especially love the part of the article in which Mel says that Aaron should’ve spiked the ball in the SECCG as though it was Aaron’s call to begin with.

    And Senator, you seem to have forgotten that even though we beat the current #3 team in the country, it wasn’t a big game BECAUSE we beat them.

    • I haven’t forgotten. I revel in it. Georgia kept Florida out of the national title hunt with that win. That alone makes it my favorite Cocktail Party victory since 1985.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Yes that was a great game.

      • Dawgfan Will

        Well said.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Sorry to mess up your good time Senator but ND kept FU out of the BCSNCG by beating Southern Cal. If Southern Cal had won then FU was locked into the other spot in the BCSNCG opposite the SEC Champion. If FU had beaten UGA in the WLOCP FU still would have had to play Bama in the SECCG instead of the Dawgs and likely would have lost IMHO, thereby losing that spot in the BCSNCG to Bama.

  6. Turd Ferguson

    I think he was great against Alabama. And if that was any kind of sign that he’s learning to settle down and play to his ability in big games, then absolutely, I want him to come back. In a bad way.

    On an unrelated note, I love watching Malcolm Mitchell score TDs. It’s like his body simply does not know how to handle the excitement, and so he just sort of jumps/convulses/raves.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      I do too but all his trash talking makes me nervous.

    • Merk

      It is funny. AJ McCarron is 2nd sting all-SEC. Yet UGA proved that with a decent pass rush he blows a$$. HIs only saving grace is that he has 2 of the best backs in the nation to hand off too when he cannot throw the ball. What’s that he is really good at throwing a screen to backs that turn screens into 45 yard gains? Oh, yea that means he is an awsome QB.

      • Dawgfan Will

        Yeah, I’m sorry, but anyone who would be McCarron over Murray at this point is not paying attention to reality. Switch the guys’ offensive lines and get back to me.

        • Bevo

          Exactly. I wouldn’t trade Murray for anyone. I think he’s a great college QB. He remains underrated because he has had some terrible performances on the big stage.

          But, as Blutarsky said, it takes a village. Murray’s critics should dial back to his worst performances and take note of our spotty protection and lack of ground game in those games.

          I really hope Murray comes back for one more.

    • fuelk2

      I just wish I could’ve seen him do it once more about 11 days ago. /tear

  7. Uglydawg

    Kiper sounds like a man who seeks to make a lot of overlapping points with a little bit of information. He doesn’t realize how good Murray is. Mel’s going strictly on “talking points”. I think he’s a phoney ass.
    One would have to think (that) Georgia threw the ball one hundred percent of the time with zero pressure from the defenses, to believe it’s Murray’s fault Georgia ever lost a game. The offensive line has been the weak link and Murray’s performance is even more impressive considering the weakness of the runnning game for much of his stint.
    In short, Kiper’s comments are shallow. I suspect he’s just repeating what he has heard other’s say. I wonder if these “experts” think SEC defensive lines are stocked with 5’9″ midgets..These guys are huge, and AM has thrown it around with excellence.
    Murray returning for another year is near the top of my Christmas list..
    Either way, may God always bless him!

    • Normaltown Mike

      Cut through the bluster & Mel is like the Oracle at Delphi. A little truth shrouded in misdirection & some parenthetical equivocations. Plus he can’t say “strength” correctly.

  8. Chuck

    Well, I suppose Aaron could go to one of those Chinese doctors that works with the Chinese basketball players, but other than that, I am not sure what else Murray can do.

  9. AthensHomerDawg

    I guess no one told Carroll that Russell Wilson was only 5’11″ and he went ahead and took him in the 3rd round. Four years for 3 million. Wonder how that worked out as Mel thought it rather risky. Coaches! They just don’t know football do they? Spike that damn ball coach! Gee whiz.

    • Merk

      If it doesn’t work then you are the stupidest coach to ever live. If it does you are a legend with balls the size of the stadium. Odd how it skews so far over 1 call.

    • paul

      You never know. David Greene was a smart quarterback who consistently made the plays in the big games. He finished his college career as the winningest quarterback in NCAA history. Yet he never caught on in the NFL. Didn’t made sense to me. Some guys just can’t make the transition I guess. You pays your money and you takes your chances. While I’ve voiced my criticism of Murray I do like him a lot. If the NFL is indeed what he wants I wish him the best. However, I will be a bit surprised if he isn’t playing in Athens next year. Mel Kiper? How can you take a guy with that hair seriously?

      • AlphaDawg

        Green had average arm strength in college, there are no QBs in the pro’s with average college arm strength. I heard Pollack discussing this when he had his radio show, the point was that any 1st/2nd string QB in the Pro’s has above average arm strength, that the closing speed of LB/CB makes it essential, which is why it and a quick release is coveted so by GM and HC.

  10. Rusty

    Senator, I would watch your video except I’ve already run it on my DVR at least a thousand times with the sound cranked up….Ah, hell. a thousand more won’t hurt.
    And I hope Aaron stays.

  11. Otto

    It would be interesting to compare Murray’s # to Stafford’s both had some problems in big games. I don’t believe it is Murray’s fault, IMO he is a good college QB capable of winning it all.

    Favorite WLOCP ’80, 2nd would be any game that put UGA in the SECCG. I want a program that is viewed as on the path to championships not one that keeps other programs out of them.

  12. What fresh hell is this?

    Mel Kiper has been an irrelevant jackass for some time now, yet I read this WWL article yesterday because it was about Murray. It was only mildly irritating until I got to Kiper’s assertion that Murray let the game get away from him late because he should have spiked the ball. The assumption being that it was a bad call, and further that Murray made said call.

    What a douchebag….and nice haircut, Mel.

  13. W Cobb Dawg

    AM is an unusally talented QB. I would think he’d do okay in the nfl – could be great if he lands in the right place with the right coach. But I also expect him back at UGA next season.

  14. Will Trane

    The two quarterbacks in the conference with the most hype are with Bama and A&M. They are good. One wins a Heisman as a freshman.
    But if people like Kiper, the girlie sportswriter, the bleacher bum, and others would look at the offensive lines and other personnel they would understand what Murray and McCarron go thru. Johnny Football and McCarron operate behind two of the best damn and most experienced lines in D1 and SEC. If not then tell me why their line has so many first teamers.
    For the past three years Murray has operated behind O lines that were not up to Dawg standards or the SEC. That 2010 O line was a damn joke. In 2011 it was better, but not a line mama is going to get up and cook biscuits for. This year Murray operated behind a line that has potential but did not have a lot of experience or depth. The O line situation at Georgia has to be the number one priority.
    I would recommend to viewers to read the high school O line coaches article in X and O lab. One of the best summaries I have read about O lines. In the state of Georgia there are some very good linemen. But the Dawgs were not getting them. And when they did Searles sure did not coach them up. Friend is. There were some games where the line let Murray get blasted. Carolina and Ole Miss. Bama did not get to him that much. Plus remember the issues Murray faced with receivers and TEs and TBs. His HS teammate left early like Green. Then this season he lost his two first teamers. Rome was inexperienced. Lynch was thought not to have the hands.
    What I learned down the stretch, Murray can throw the ball and the receivers can get it. This team and QB lost to two of the better teams, players and coaching staffs there are. Do you freaking understand that Kiper and other writers. If you do not then you are just a freaking dumb ass. Against Bama there were possibly two bad throws. On that last drive, Murray was on fire…he put the damn ball on the dime!!! Lynch and Rome played very good. Lynch’s play on that last drive was nothing short of off the chart.
    One of the biggest complaints I have in sports, politics, or anything else is someone makes a comment and everyone buys into it with out really looking at the situation or the facts and putting them together. Put Murray behind Bama’s line and let’s see what he does to ND. Or A&M.
    Mitchell and Rome. What can you say. They do not get better than the young men who come out of Valdosta High or Lowndes. Some of us are fortunate to see these young men in 1AAAAAA.
    And speaking of O line coaches. Joey Bennett at Colquitt County High School does as good a job as any high school coach in the country. Read the X and O labs article.
    Just want the Dawgs to have the most dominating, physcial O line in D1.

  15. Chuck

    For Mel to even raise the “spike” question shows he doesn’t watch tape very closely. AM was running down the field making the spike motion the whole way. He was overruled by his coaches — which has been debated here and elsewhere ad nauseum.

    Point is AM was thinking what Mel thinks he should have been thinking — if only Mel had watched the tape.

    • Bevo

      Good point. My point above about Murray’s performance in big games raises the question of whether or not Mel bothered to watch the tape from those games as well.

  16. Uglydawg

    From Will Trane, “One of the biggest complaints I have in sports, politics, or anything else is someone makes a comment and everyone buys into it with out really looking at the situation or the facts and putting them together.”
    And from Chuck, “For Mel to even raise the “spike” question shows he doesn’t watch tape very closely.”…or not at all.
    There seems to be a consesus on this thread, that Mel is a phoney asshole.

  17. Ginny

    I seem to remember Stafford performing badly in some “big games”. Florida and Bama 2008 come to mind. I know he had all the NFL tools but I don’t seem to remember him being harped upon so much for “not winning the big game”. Hell, Aaron has beaten Florida 2 out of 3 years. Is Florida not arguably one of our biggest games every year?? That kid has my utmost admiration. I hope he stays and breaks every record.

    • DWH

      Think I remembered reading where Murray has beaten AU, Tennessee and Florida in each of the past 2 seasons. First time in 30 years that’s happened. Come on back for one more. The records he will shatter might not ever be broken.

  18. Irwin R Fletcher

    Kiper’s throw aways about winning the big game and stats are just that….complete b.s. throw aways. Nobody went to the tape of Brandon Wheedon and said “welp…they lost to Iowa State” or Ryan Tanneyhill and said “well, he’s got prototypical size, but they couldn’t be Oklahoma.” Joe Flacco didn’t even play big games. Jay Culter couldn’t get them to a bowl game. etc. etc. etc. They are filler. He didn’t care about Matt Ryan’s record against the top 25 or Brian Brohm etc. etc. etc.

    What you should take away from his comments is that these things matter to the NFL first: Size, arm strength, accuracy…because those typically correlate to NFL success. Brees is the comp because he is the outlier. NFL teams don’t take QB’s in the first round that are shorter than 6-2. Period. In the last 20 years (TWENTY!), there have been two QB’s taken in the first round that were less than 6-2…Mike Vick and Cade McNown. That means you have to go back 12 years to even find one.

    And that’s where the Senator is right on…He isn’t growing next year…so another year isn’t going to put him in the first round. If I was a betting man, I’d say he leaves now. I hope not, but he’s got little left to prove to NFL scouts that he can’t do at the combine and he is already 22. If he sticks around for another year, every single UGA fan needs to recognize how much commitment that actually means to the university and the program. He would have no reason to stay other than to win…and if he chooses that, he will deserve our unmitigated support through good and bad next year.

  19. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Murray’s gone. That decision was made before the season even started. That is the reason why Mason is still in Athens and didn’t transfer and use up his redshirt someplace else.

    • Bevo

      I don’t agree. I think Murray will be back.

      With the redshirt, Mason got the year of separation he needed to hang on to the hope of winning the starting QB spot as a senior.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        If Murray comes back (and I don’t think he will) I’m betting Mason transfers to a D-IAA school or does a graduates early/transfer for grad school thing to a D-IA school in need of a QB so he can play for 2 full seasons. He saw what happened to Joe Cox.

        • W Cobb Dawg

          What was wrong with Cox’s situation? UGA gave Cox and JoeT opportunities – although I’d argue neither one were sec-calibre QBs. Maybe Mason saw what happened to DJ Shockley. Stuck it out, became a very successful starter in the sec, had a shot in the nfl, and now is making $$ in the real world. DJ is an example of loyalty having benefits.

  20. Derek

    The reality is that without the measureables nfl teams aren’t likely to make a large investment in a qb until he proves himself. Whether you think that Aaron will or won’t make it, you aren’t the ones that have to sign him to a multi-year guaranteed contract. I do think there is the argument that Murray won’t improve his status into the first round no matter what sort of year he has next season and if that is the concensus view he might go ahead and go. Mel’s point, albeit unstated, is that if Murray wants to be a high pick he has to come back and convince a gm that he’s worth a high pick next year ’cause he ain’t there right now. I can’t argue with that.

    The one thing that does annoy me is putting the “spike” on Murray. If you watch the replay Murray makes the spike motion towards the sideline and they gave him the play instead. I don’t think it mattered either way, but it definitely wasn’t Aaron’s decision.

    I have always thought that Murray was similar to zeier. Both put up monster stats and could make all if the throws. While Murray has better legs, zeier was arguably a more impressive passer. Both are short. Zeier had a couple of cups if coffee in the league and that was it. I would love for Murray to be the next drew brees both for him and his family but also because I think it helps us to keep attracting qbs to Athens. This is perhaps the most important thing a coaching staff can do in this era of college football. However, there has only been one drew brees.

    • PatinDC

      Doug Flutie.

      I think AM’s NFL success depends on the desperation of any team that drafts him. If he is drafted as a starter he will have a chance. If he is drafted as a backup, i.e. Greene and Zeier, then he should study hard and invest his money wisely. That is how it works.
      R. Wilson would not have had a chance if Seattle had not been desperate. Same for Brees and San Diego.

      • Derek

        Murray is not near the athlete that flutie was. Flutie was more like to Johnny Manziel.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Seattle desperate??? I don’t know. They started a rookie over over Flynn who was a very coveted qb and they guaranteed Flynn 10 million over a 3 year contract. Other NFL teams started some higher paid rookies. Luck, Tannehill, Griffen, Weeden.
        Soooooo… Carroll brilliant or just lucky. Signing a backup to a 23 million dollar contract doesn’t seem too smart.
        But who knows maybe Carroll would have spiked that ball…….. Hijo what say you?

  21. The other Doug

    This is a unique year for QBs in the NFL draft, so Murray has to really think hard about taking the chance. If this was a normal year he would be lucky to be drafted and his career would likely mirror Zeier and Greene, but there aren’t any big name QBs in this year’s draft. If he gets a second or third round prediction he almost has to go.

  22. Rebar

    I hope Murray comes back just to beat South Carolina!

  23. AusDawg85

    Wow…big time support from none other than Mel Kiper for all of the Murray naysayers to come-out and post their opinions and swear how we’ll be better off with Mason next year. Where are they?

    Murray should go…a lot of desperate teams needing QB depth (hell, Colt McCoy got a starter’s job with Cleveland when he came out, and nobody’s calling Vince Young to come back).

    Hutson…we have a problem.

  24. AthensHomerDawg

    Mel Kiper did pick Ryan Leaf over Peyton Manning. He also was not high on Russell Wilson and thought he was a reach in the third round. Has he ever played or coached? Why is he was considered to be an “expert” ? He recommends that Tyler Bray return for another year at Tennessee. ? I’m thinking why? UT ran a pro set with less than stellar run blocking and decent pass blocking. Now they will transition and run block in the spread. Bray’s 2 best WR’s will declare and not be available in 2013. The D has gone from a 4-3 to a 3-4 back to a 4-3. Does anyone think uT will win more than 6 games in 2013. Sooooo- Yeah…. kid stay another year and hone your skills.

    Off topic here but SOD and Kiper….. do they have the same barber?

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      What you said is spot on. These “experts” really don’t know sh!t. They never even think of stuff like that. How a hack like Kiper even has a job in sports journalism is beyond comprehension.

  25. D.N. Nation

    I think we’re done here.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Kiper ” two to three years under center…. he is certainly John Elway like.” Oh MY!

    • Normaltown Mike

      Berman on Vick:

      “Michael Vick in 2001. Exciting, we’ll see..”

      Wow, Vick went from starting NFL QB to Fort Levenworth Pen and back to NFL QB faster than Russell ate himself out of the league.

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Now that was funny stuff.
        All the pundits at 680 heralded Vick as the dawn of the “new qb”. No more slow footed, drop back and direct traffic white qbs here. (No racism intended AuditDawg). Those days were gone. “It’s a new NFL qb strategy… prepare to deal.” WOW!

        AND——> yeah you can’t make a living running the ball in the NFL as a qb, NotForLong anyway. Headaches Michael?

        • Will (the other one)

          RGIII, Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Aaron Rodgers would disagree. Of course they’re all (even Cam) better passers than Vick.

  26. Nick Saban

    “it’s not like he’s in the ninth grade and will grow another four inches over the summer”

    I approve this message

  27. Snake Plisskin

    Mel Kiper…ol’ Mel, there he goes again…the guy has been at E$PN for years…they turned the draft into an event to make money…he became an integral of the production by pi$$ing off various schools/players…it’s all about the show with E$PN, whether it’s draft day, or the lead up to such, the shameless self-promotion of (and for) Kiper/ESPN go hand in hand.

    Concerning Murray’s draft status, I don’t see how he can get much higher than this year…2 loses to two top ten BCS teams, #2 QB ranking, another 3K season, another 30 TD’s season…

    Murray, like Stafford, is pro football ready, or at least as well that you can be coming from college…good footwork, good ball handling, working under center, etc…yet, ol’ Mel picks these spread QB’s, or the QB’s “that can make things happen”, well for every Gentle Ben, there’s a Vince Young, or J. Russell…just because they have potential and size, doesn’t mean they will pan out any better than a 6′ 1″ QB…Murray is two years ahead of these spread QB’s and could start his first year…

    why is it that Barkley, et al are legitimate 6’2″, no questions asked, yet Murray is not 6’1″…I’ve stood beside him and he’s taller than what he looks on TV standing in the middle of those 6′ 3″-5″ fellows…,he’s built like an athlete/baseball player, but will put on weight and will fill out as he gets older…yep, ol’ Mel keep cashin them checks…I doubt if the NFL draft would move to NBCSports, they’d pick up Mel’s contract…the guy has the same info available to everyone else…Snake out