Sunday, April 11, 2010
(* Note: Check out Fletcher Page's take on Saturday's defensive performance HERE or ready my story on Georgia's QB battle HERE.)
Just a handful of fleeting thoughts today, since it is still the spring and truly, we shouldn't take too much from one glorified scrimmage...
-- First off, Zach Mettenberger deserves all the credit in the world. Not because he outplayed the other two QBs yesterday or has vaulted into the lead in the QB race, but because he's simply miles ahead of where he was at this time last year. He's a kid who has worked to get better, is finally in a steady, consistent system, and it shows.
-- That said, the message boards will be filled with "Mett's our starter" statements for the remainder of the offeseason, no doubt. Just remember what those same message boarders were saying about Mett a month ago.
-- Aaron Murray will be keeping that in mind, too. “In the end, it’s not the fans that are making the decision," Murray said. "It’s the coaches. So you can’t worry about all the people talking. As a quarterback, there are going to be people talking all the time. So whoever gets the starting job, throughout the year there’s going to be criticism.”
See, the awful interception he threw right into Marcus Dowtin's chest wasn't the only reason Murray seemed a bit Joe Cox-esque yesterday!
-- Seriously though, if you look at the little things -- as the Senator did in his post today -- Murray looked pretty good. His throws were off, and it was pretty obvious he was pressing. Perhaps he felt the pressure of knowing he was supposed to be the favorite and he was getting his first snaps in front of a crowd since last year's spring game. But his release and footwork were good, for the most part he made good reads, and as Artie Lynch said, he's made for this job.
“Aaron is like almost a father out there," Lynch said. "He’s wise beyond his years. I’m like, this kid is just a born leader.”
-- Of course, the obvious problem is that lingering suspension of Mr. Mettenberger, which Richt admitted yesterday "would be a factor" in coming up with a post-spring depth chart.
The bottom line is that Murray will almost surely get the start Week 1, and unless he flubs completely against ULL, he'll get a shot in Week 2. Now, maybe Georgia will end up giving more than one guy a chance to start this season as it did in 2006, but I don't think that's good news for Bulldogs fans if that happens.
So here's the thing: Right now, I think you can still make a good case that Murray is Georgia's best QB overall, and deserves the starting job. But you can't argue with the logic that Mettenberger has made huge strides very quickly. And I've said from the beginning, Murray may be a better college QB, but Mett's got NFL talent. So it'll be interesting to see how this plays out down the road -- not just against ULL or South Carolina, but for the next four years.
Because, as Mark Richt said, there are no guarantees in this battle for the long-term, but the guy who is starting against South Carolina in September is going to have a leg up, not just in 2010 but for the foreseeable future.
“I don’t think there’s any guarantee that whoever starts the first game is going to close it out the rest of their career," Richt said, "but he’ll definitely have the best chance to do that.”
-- And I mentioned Murray potentially being a bit nervous about the crowd. Jakar Hamilton admitted that playing in front of that many fans was something the rookies had to take notice of. “Coming from GMC, we probably had about 300 fans," he said. "Here, it’s thousands. So I was real hyped.”
-- There is almost nothing we can take from the defensive performance Saturday, because the defense showed us almost nothing. "We didn’t use none of our plays today," Bacarri Rambo said. "We were just in our base stuff."
-- That said, we did see seven sacks in the game, including two from Cornelius Washington. He and Justin Houston looked very good, and that was coming from base formations. Not only that, I'd say for at least 50 percent of the plays, they lined up with their hand in the dirt as Georgia ran a nickel formation with four down linemen. And on top of that, it's hard to say how many more sacks should have been called, but the QBs can't be tackled, and Richt told refs that, if there was any doubt, to let the play continue.
-- That was the case on the first scoring drive of the game when Logan Gray scrambled for a first down after Brandon Boykin had him dead to rights on a corner blitz. Boykin was hot after the play, and Gray ended up throwing the Red Team's lone TD a few plays later.
-- Speaking of tempers flaring, I'm not sure what to make of the Washaun Ealey-Nick Williams tussle. Funny though that those were also the same two guys on Georgia's end involved in all the controversy from last year's Florida game -- Ealey getting his eyes gouged and Williams for hitting Tim Tebow late.
-- I continue to be impressed with Kwame Geathers, who I thought looked good at the nose position yesterday. Kiante Tripp's name was called a few times, too.
-- Carlton Thomas had a great spring by all accounts, but just two days after Mike Bobo praised Thomas for being able to hold on to the football better, he fumbled on a run up the middle. I feel a bit bad for Thomas, because he's a kid who, because of his size, probably has to take three steps forward for every one step back.
-- The running backs didn't score a single touchdown this spring in any of the three scrimmages. Perhaps there's something to that, but more likely it was a matter of coaches knowing what they had in Caleb King and Ealey, but needing answers to plenty of questions about the QBs.
-- And finally, I believe Richt when he says it's nothing too serious with King's knee injury. I have some concerns about any sentence that involves the words "Josh Davis" and "shoulder injury" though. Richt says he doesn't believe it's serious, but man, that would be very bad if it turns out Richt is wrong.
So… what stood out to you guys from G-Day? Other than ESPN3 blacking out the game in most places?
Posted by David Hale at 11:04 AM