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Thursday, March 19, 2009
No quarterback drama, Cox is the man

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Richt has yet to see his team in full pads this spring, but he already knows who his quarterback is -- Joe Cox.

Richt's as anxious as anybody to see what highly touted freshman quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger can do this spring. But to think that either will unseat Cox, a fifth-year senior, is farfetched at this point.

"They're not pushing Joe right now," Richt said. "They're just learning what to do, and Joe's teaching them. Joe's going to be a coach. He's going to be a great coach."

Whether you're talking to Richt, former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford or any of the Bulldogs players, it's obvious that this is a team that has rallied around Cox.

"He's a gym rat guy and knows our system front and back," Richt said. "He's highly accurate. He's a leader. Our guys believe in Joe. Our coaches believe in Joe."

Stafford said Cox was ready for this opportunity a long time ago.

"He would have been ready any of the years I was playing," Stafford said. "He's a heck of a player, knows the system and is going to surprise a lot of people."

Richt said the situation reminds him of when Peter Tom Willis took over at Florida State in the late 1980s and D.J. Shockley took over at Georgia earlier this decade. Both were fifth-year seniors before they ever had a chance to be full-time starters.

"I think Joe has the attributes that those guys had, and Joe will be surrounded by a much more mature line," Richt said. "There are skill players that can get it done here. I think our defense will be outstanding, and we'll be better on special teams."

Shockley led Georgia to the 2005 SEC championship and was named the MVP in the SEC championship game. Willis led Florida State to a 10-win season in 1989, including a Fiesta Bowl rout of Nebraska. He set 15 team passing records that season.