Dogs' Murray counting on poise, hard work


Aaron Murray's idea of winning the starting quarterback job at Georgia for the 2010 season revolves around a couple of principles that he holds near and dear to his heart.

Playing with poise and playing to win.

Murray, a redshirt freshman, is going through his second spring with the Bulldogs. He’s battling fellow redshirt freshman Zach Mettenberger and junior Logan Gray for the job.

Georgia coach Mark Richt doubts a starter will emerge this spring and that the race will probably spill over into the preseason. But if somebody does separate himself, so be it.

Murray has reminded himself several times that it’s not a job he’s going to win in a couple of practices or even a couple of weeks. He’s also reminded himself that he has premium talent around him. The Bulldogs return 10 starters on offense.

“We have the kind of offensive line that we’re going to be able to put a lot of it on their shoulders,” Murray said. “We have great skill guys around us, so we’re not going to have to throw a perfect pass every time. You put it anywhere in the vicinity, and they’re going to make the catch.

“It’s not going to be put totally on our shoulders. Coach [Mike] Bobo isn’t going to turn the game plan into throwing it 40 times a game. He’s going to balance it out, and it’s up to us to make the plays when they’re there.”

The difficult part in a quarterback competition like this when nobody has any real SEC experience is finding that right balance of taking care of the ball, but also not becoming predictable.

“You’ve got to know your assignment and know what you need to do, but don’t just go through it robotically,” Murray said. “You make your reads. But sometimes, you’re going to have to fit a ball in there. Sometimes you have to take chances.

“We have the athletes. If you make the right reads, someone’s going to end up getting open. You just have to trust in your ability and trust in the ability of the guys around you.”

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Murray has gained more than 15 pounds since he arrived on campus last year from Tampa, Fla. He’s well aware that he’s not the ideal height for a prototypical quarterback, but he points out that neither is Super Bowl-winning quarterback Drew Brees.

“A lot of people compare us because of the whole height thing, and I like the way he plays the game,” said the versatile Murray, who rushed for 932 yards as a junior in high school before suffering a broken fibula early during his senior season.

“Drew’s a competitor and does whatever it takes to win. He works harder than anyone. He’s in there preparing at 5 and 6 o’clock in the morning watching film. Everyone doubted him because of his size, and he’s going to work as hard as he can. That’s something I try to do, work hard and put that extra preparation in and hope it translates over to the field.”