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Monday, August 24, 2009

Get to Know: Josh Murray

For the past few months, we've been catching up with some of Georgia's newest players to get to know a little more about them. When it comes to walk-on safety Josh Murray, you might find a few things you didn't know in the story I wrote for the Ledger-Enquirer on Sunday about Josh and his brother. You can also find a bunch more quotes from yesterday's blog post.

But, of course, there's more to Mr. Murray than just that, so we got to some more intriguing questions in this installment of "Get to Know"...

David Hale: You spent six years playing minor-league baseball. I've worked for a minor league team before and I've seen "Bull Durham," so I know you must have at least a few colorful stories. What's your most quintessential minor-league baseball story?

Josh Murray:
It was actually my first year. I was 17 when I got drafted, and we were playing in Medicine Hat, Canada. When we were done playing that series, we were heading home to Ogden and had a day off the next day.

Unfortunately, it took 36 hours to get home. While we were in the middle of the mountains on the way home, we hit a cow. It was just laying on the ground and we were sitting there for six hours waiting for police to come. We finally got the cow up – it kind of moo’d its way off, and I think it wasn’t a good ending for the cow – and then we took a 12-hour detour, too, because our bus driver didn’t know how to get back.

We missed our first off day, and I had been waiting for an off day. It was the worst off I’ve been and I was like, is this really the life I want to live? It was tough.

DH: Speaking of tough, what's been the most difficult part of adjusting to football again after nearly 10 years away from the game?

It’s just really learning all the plays and getting the formations down and everything like that. It’s kind of tough to study during camp because you’re going pretty much 24/7 non-stop. But right now I’ve got a little bit of time to prepare and stuff like that.

DH: Your brother, Aaron, is a highly recruited quarterback. I assume that gets him the star treatment. You, on the other hand, are a walk-on. So what's the life of the lowly walk-on like?

It’s not bad at all. I’m just really blessed and enjoying being out here. Last year, I was done with baseball and I wasn’t really doing anything with my life. Right now, I would have taken No. 100-something if they had that. I’m just happy to be out here and part of a team right now. I’m blessed.

DH: Have you set any goals for yourself for this season?

The goals are to get on special teams and try to help the team in any way I can. If they need me doing scout stuff during practice to try to help out the first string or second string, I’m willing to do that. I’m willing to do anything to make this team better. Definitely my goal is to get onto special teams and hit some people and help us win, to be a contributing factor.

DH: In doing these Q&As, I've asked a lot of the freshmen what celebrity they'd most like to meet. Given that you've been playing professional baseball for a while, I'm guessing you've already met a few. Who have you been the most impressed by?

I’m good friends with Ryan Braun, he’s the left-fielder for the Brewers. His work ethic and his athleticism and stuff is really great. I also love watching one of my friends that I trained with, Denard Span, he’s playing with the Twins right now. He didn’t get frustrated with getting called up and sent back down and called up. He really perservered and I really admire him for that.

DH: OK, well is there still someone you'd like to meet that you haven't?

The guy I’d most like to meet – it’s weird because I’m not a star-struck person at all, but like a lot of people, I’d love to meet Michael Jordan. Just the way he does everything, how he handles himself, how he prepares for games, the leader he is. I’d love to sit down and talk with him about all that stuff.

DH: What's your favorite meal?

I’d say snow crab.

DH: Athens isn't exactly a snow crab town.

No, I haven’t had it in a while. It’s only special times when I go back home or something like that.

DH: So have you found a go-to place around here to get a good meal?

What we were doing is actually on Saturdays we would go and have Chinese and then watch a movie. That’s what we were doing every Saturday. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to do that during the season, but that was our ritual when we first got up here.

DH: What has it been like for you playing with your brother?

It’s been really nice. We’re very into family. It’s a blessing that I can be up here with him. I get emotional at times when I think about it and talk to my parents. But it’s awesome having a younger brother that, even though I’m so much older, I can help him grow up, we can do things with each other. It’s great.

DH: So do your parents call you to get the dirt on what Aaron has been doing? Or is it the other way around?

They call me sometimes to make sure Aaron’s doing well. But they’re talking to both of us.

DH: You're playing safety, so I assume you've gotten a good look at a few of Georgia's receivers. Who has impressed you the most?

I’m not going to lie, the whole team has impressed me. It’s really nice going from a place where there’s not as much of a team to a team. This really is the true concept of a team, and it’s just fun being out here. They all impress me with their enthusiasm, intensity, their passion for wanting to win and wanting to play. I know we’ve been called underdogs this year and not ranked as high, but I’m telling you, it’s going to be surprising. We’re really working hard and we have great coaches. They’re all really impressive.

DH: You and Aaron are obviously both superior athletes, and I assume fairly competitive growing up. So, I'm going to run down a few sports or activities, and I want you to tell me who would win between you and your brother.

Oh, geez, you're putting me on the spot. OK.

DH: How about a game of ping-pong?

We haven't played in a while. I hate to brag, but I think I'd win. It’d be close. Ping-pong's a draw.

DH: Alright, Aaron told me you guys play a lot of Wii golf. Who wins that?

Oh me for sure. I play with him sometimes so he can get his score higher.

DH: That's very generous of you. What about bowling -- the real kind, not the video game?

I think we're pretty much even.

DH: What do you usually bowl?

I usually hit 200-something sometimes, but I probably average 180- or 190-something.

DH: OK, who wins a game of trivial pursuit?

Oh, lord, probably him. I’m not good at that stuff at all.

DH: How about a hot-dog eating contest?

We both can eat, but he takes his time out. I think I could keep shoving it down. He’ll need a timeout but I’ll keep eating.

DH: I know you both play a little basketball, but who wins a game of H-O-R-S-E?

I’m not going to lie, he doesn’t beat me at a lot of stuff. I’m the older brother so I don’t let him. But it’d be a good game.

DH: How about arm wrestling?

Oh come on, it’s the old-man strength. I’d get him.

DH: You guys play a good bit of racquetball. Who's better?

I let him win once in a while, but I take most of them.

DH: OK, a 40-yard dash?

He may have me right now with my old legs. But I’m getting back healthy.

DH: Alright, last one, but this is the most important. Now, you're brother's not 21, so I won't ask about the local watering holes, but when you guys are doing something social, if, say, you both were chatting up a few of the ladies, who would leave with the most phone numbers?

You know what? If this was back in the day when I was playing with the Brewers, I’d say me. But right now, it’s Aaron. He’s on top of everything right now.


Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading these articles Mr. Hale.

Thanks for your hard work.

The Hawkins said...

I love reading your interviews. Fun stuff.
Thanks, David, for your blog.
I'm here every day.