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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bobo Breaks Down the QB Battle

No, we still don't have a depth chart. And we probably won't for a while. (More on that in a minute.) But that doesn't mean each of the quarterbacks -- Aaron Murray, Zach Mettenberger and Logan Gray -- hasn't made some strong impressions with their coaches.

I talked to Mike Bobo this week about what goes into deciding who the starter will be, and while the overall winner is yet to be decided, he offered some interesting insight into the more detailed analysis of the competition.

Here's what he had to say about which quarterback has excelled the most at each area of interest:

Release mechanics: "Murray." One word answer, short and sweet. Bobo didn't take more than a fraction of a second to think about this one.

Footwork: "I think Murray probably and Logan does a nice job in the pocket, but the other day in the scrimmage, Zach probably moved better in the pocket than any guy we had out there just by being fundamentally sound and getting up in the pocket and stepping under a blitz. He did an outstanding job the other day."

Presence in the huddle: "I think all three have to work on that just because of being young. They’re in that role now of being that guy, and that was one of our main objectives this spring is we’ve got to take command of the huddle. That’s a work in progress with all three."

Knowledge of the playbook: "I would say Logan is probably ahead of everybody in the meeting room. His is just that he’s got to do it on the field. And on the field, I’d say all three are probably, they’re all doing well and I’ve been really pleased with how they’re progressing. We’re looking for a guy who can go through a progression and his feet and his eyes, and I think all three are doing a pretty good job of that."

Reading defenses and making progressions: "All three considering they’re going against a new defense this spring and not really having a 100 percent of what they’re doing or what they’re trying to do, as opposed to the last few years when you’re going against the same defense all the time. But I think all three have done a nice job of taking what they give us and protecting the football."

Decision making: "(Tuesday) there wasn’t anybody very good. They’ve all had their moments, and I think a lot of decision making is just facing something new for the first time. But I wouldn’t say one’s better than the other right now. I’d say some are a little faster at picking it up a little bit, but that’s a lot to do with the look or the protection or some of that stuff you get up front."

That last one is particularly important because, for everyone who falsely blamed Joe Cox's noodle arm for the turnovers, the truth was that it was a series of bad decisions that were the cause of most of Cox's interceptions. (Just think about the Arizona State and Kentucky games for a minute.) So for me, I'd call decision making a top concern.

Bobo wasn't providing an answer on who's ahead overall, and neither was Mark Richt, but the head coach did provide a little insight.

“When you watch them play, you’ve got days where one guy may be a little hotter than the other, but I’ve been pleased with the accuracy of our quarterbacks," Richt said. "I’ve been in every single meeting, I’ve listened to Coach Bobo go through their assignments, the progressions of their reads, their understanding of the running game and protections, and these guys are on the ball. They really understand it. They’re good students of the game. They’re very diligent, and then when you watch practice, you see them putting what they’ve learned in the meeting room to practice."

And, of course, there's also the little issue of Zach Mettenberger's potential suspension to start the season. That's an issue Mike Bobo is hoping to avoid for the time being.

"Right now, what we’re trying to do is get better," Bobo said. "I know that’s not the answer you want, but right now, we don’t want them looking ahead, and I want us trying to get better. We have a lot to get better at, and it’s too early to decide that. We’ll cross that bridge when it comes to it. In a perfect world, I don’t want to rep two or three quarterbacks before the first game because we’ve still got to get a guy ready. But all of that is the head coach’s decision, too, so we’ll see.”

So, when might we actually get an answer on the depth chart? Sounds like it won't come until a few weeks after G-Day.

"We’ve got some good players, and when you rotate them like we have, you could grade every three days or something if you wanted to, but I’m more inclined to just take it all in and then when the spring is over, try to look at it again," Richt said. "I will take our practice film and we can click a button that will sort every play by No. 11, then every play by No. 6 and every play by No. 5, and you can watch them in succession and get a better overall feel of how they did in the spring. That’s probably the first time I’ll really sit there and go, Hey, let’s start trying to pack up a little bit of a pecking order.”


Anonymous said...


Oh, this isn't AJC? Nevermind, then. Nice article!

Dog44 said...

Best article on the QB competition I've read this spring. Thanks, Hale.

BigMuddyDawg said...

I remember reading something said by Mark Richt a little while back about how successful quarterbacking was based on forming good habits like proper footwork and throwing technique. But it was what he said about also forming good thinking habits that I found interesting.

I'm assuming that he's referring to the quarterback forming good reads on what the defense is showing and properly figuring out where to get the ball to exploit the open spaces in a particular defense. With all that we've read recently concerning our new defensive coaches re-teaching fundamentals and, particularly in the case of the secondary, having a vastly different philosophy in terms of how the defensive back plays the ball and the receiver, I wonder if our quarterbacks might have developed some sloppy (for lack of a better term) thinking habits whilst facing the defense of old?

I don't mean to further disparage anyone or anything but it seems to me that habit is formed of repetition and if there were fundamental flaws present in the way our previous secondary coaches schemed, perhaps this might have in some small way influenced how our quarterbacks developed their in-game lines of thinking.

Or maybe it's roughly 156 days until kickoff and I'm desperately clawing for anything Dawgs-related to talk about.

I blame my friends, who only care about the League.

Carter said...


We fans found out after the season ended that Joe Cox's actual height was significantly shorter than his listed. We were told he was a Drew Brees when he was actually a Doug Flutie.

Please allay my fears and tell me that Murray is a legit 6'1".