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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Does Size Matter For Murray?

Hoping to ease some of the concern, Mark Richt advised fans at last month's Bulldog Club meeting in Macon to go back and watch highlights of Aaron Murray in high school, telling them they would quickly be reminded of why he was such a highly touted recruit.

And it's true. Look at Murray's prep numbers -- 33 TDs and 4 INTs as a senior, despite missing time with a broken leg; 63 TDs and nearly 5,000 total yards passing and rushing as a junior -- and it's not hard to convince yourself he's going to be a stud at Georgia.

But aside from his G-Day performance, there is one number that I think scares UGA fans about Murray the most:

Murray: 6-foot-1, according to the UGA Web site.

Joe Cox: 6-foot-1, according to the UGA Web site.

Truth be told, UGA's official number might be a tiny bit generous for both, although both Mark Richt and I agree that Murray is probably a touch taller than his predecessor.

Still, it's Murray's physical stature that I hear the most about from concerned fans. After all, it's hard to argue with his pedigree. In high school, he was a stud -- big numbers, championship winner, highly recruited.

But other than the red hair -- he looks so much like the much-maligned Joe Cox, right?

Sure, they may be roughly the same height, but really, that's where those physical comparisons should end.

First off, Richt promises that height is more than a bit overrated as a measure of QB potential at the college level.

"Charlie Ward was about 5-11," Richt said. "I’ve had guys that were 6-5. Murray is plenty tall enough to succeed.”

That's not just covering up a weakness though. Instead of offering some concern over Murray's physical attributes, Richt is praising them.

No, he's not that tall. But his quick release makes him a tough target in the pocket.

Yes, he's roughly as tall as Joe Cox. But he's far more mobile, allowing him to move around in the pocket to find better throwing lanes -- an advantage Cox didn't have.

And sure, he's not the most intimidating physical presence. But don't underestimate him, Richt said.

“He’s not super tall, but he’s at about 6-1, and I’ve seen a lot of 6-1 guys have success," Richt said. "He’s got a very strong arm, a quick release, he’s more mobile than most people would want to give him credit for. He’s strong. That kid, if you saw him with his shirt off, you’d be surprised at just how physically strong he is.”

There is one comparison between Murray and Cox that Richt is happy to make, however: Their work ethic.

Murray still has a ways to go in terms of taking the same leadership role that Cox had, but he's already putting in the work this summer to make that happen.

“He knows it’s going to take a lot of work, but he’s willing to do that," Richt said. "He’s willing to put the work in.”

And he's not alone. Richt said he loves the relationship between Murray and his high school teammate, Orson Charles. While the two won't be the veterans of the offense in 2010, Richt said there probably isn't two players who work harder.

“Those guys are great friends," Richt said. "They’ve known each other, they love football, they love the game, they love to practice, they love the meetings and the preparation. Some guys don’t. If no one wants to throw one day, those two will be out there. They’re that type of guys.”

And just as a reference, here's the height and weight of each of the last 10 SEC championship winning QBs. Murray is listed as 6-1/209 on Georgia's Web site.

2009: Greg McElroy -- 6-3/225
2008: Tim Tebow -- 6-3/235
2007: Matt Flynn -- 6-2/225
2006: Chris Leak -- 6-0/195
2005: D.J. Shockley -- 6-0/218
2004: Jason Campbell -- 6-5/230
2003: Matt Mauck -- 6-3/210
2002: David Greene -- 6-3/227
2001: Mauck -- 6-3/210
2000: Rex Grossman -- 6-1/218


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't count on much from Orson Charles. He's got a really bad case of the drops. He drops passes thrown right in his hands.

Moggs said...

yeah, just like that crystal NC trophy down at UF.

Anonymous said...

David - The reality for any QB is release speed, release point, accuracy and arm strength. Even in those measurables, you can variances that help or hinder your play.

Peyton Manning is not the best qb going because he is 6'5". He has a great release, studies film, has a strong arm and is accurate.

My hope is that Murray turns out to be our version of this guy:

Let's see how did that 6'0" QB with a reconstructed arm do last year?

If people are going to nitpick, they should not nitpick on what he cannot do (grow taller) and focus on how he can be a better player.

Charlie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ginny said...

Wouldn't count on Orson Charles?? I'm continually amazed at these comments.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind short QBs but all the balls batted at the line of scrimmage is really sad to watch. It happened alot to Cox and I remember being very frustrated when David Greene play the Saban LSU teams. Lots of batted passes. This almost never happened with Stafford. I home Murray can avoid this with quick release. It can really impact a game if 1-2 third down passes are blocked by the Dline.

meansonny said...

Size does matter at QB. If I remember correctly, Brees wasn't an MVP his rookie season. QBs have to adjust to the level of competitoon they face (much like pitchers). This is going to be a learning season for Aaron. I hope he's good at making the adjustments (cox was a very talented QB. But this is what he failed to do in his 13 games at UGA)

Anonymous said...

meansonny - If size matters, how much did Brees grow from his rookie season to last year? Not much.

Size does not matter experience does. I agree with you on the experience factor, but I think nitpicking or predicting his success based on his stature is moot.

You can find successful and unsuccessful qb's of Murray's stature. You can find successful and unsuccessful qb's that are 6'4" too.

Anonymous said...

We all know length doesn't's all about girth.

meansonny said...


You're intentionally using the wrong word. Replace "grow" with develop.

Size is a luxury in football. Just like speed, strength, and football inelligence.

As a player progresses from high school, to college, to pro's, these luxuries become more and more important.
That a pitcher working his way through the minors to the Show, a player can adjust, adapt, and succeed despite not having those all of those luxuries.

My point is being that there will be an adjustment for a QB who's last level of success was against players with high school height, speed, strength, and football intelligence.

Drew Brees had to develop into an MVP QB. Much of that is adapting to the height of OL/DL, immediate recognition of an open/hot receiver in the entire field, and identifying where the LBs and Safeties are despite a huge oncoming pass rush/blitz.

Dustin said...

ok guys, stat attack time...

Drew Brees went to Purdue.
Drew Brees threw 11,792 yards at Purdue.
Drew Brees threw 90 TD's at Purdue.

If Mr. Murray can do that at the same height we are good to go.

Trey said...

I'm not trying to be negative because I really do believe Murray will go on to be a great QB, but high school stats can be slightly deceiving.

Joe Cox senior year at Independence High School:
Over 4,500 yards
66 TD's (which broke Chris Leak's record)
5 Int's

I'm just sayin.
Sorry for being debbie downer.

Anonymous said...

Cox are Murray are completely different athletes. Who cares if they are same height. By the way, Colt McCoy is listed at 6'2", 210. Murray reminds me a lot of him from the physical tools standpoint. He obviously has a long way to go to be compared to Mccoy and I don't think Richt would ever want to see him run as much as McCoy did (though he's probably capable).

Anonymous said...

meansonny - but again the title of the post asked if size matters.

I am telling you that if Murray develops as a QB his size does not matter.

For some reason you are misinterpreting development and experience will somehow make Murray taller. It will not = Brees's size does not make him a good QB or a bad QB.

What makes him a great is his commitment, his intelligence, and his experience. The same things that make Peyton Manning great.

So would you rather have a 6'1" Drew Brees or 6'4" Sage Rosenfels?

For the record, they both drafted the same year.

As a side note, the first four QB's drafted in 2001 were Vick (6'0"), Brees, Quincy (6'2"), and Marques Tuiasosopo (6'1").

Charles Armentrout said...

The negative comments posted by anonymous people are fans from rival teams. If this is pointed out enough I think it will de-motivate the negative posters. I remember Casey Weldon playing at FSU and Richt reaffirming that puts a HUGE smile on my face.

meansonny said...

I'm hoping that this is the friendly discussion that Hale encourages.

First off, nothing makes Aaron Murray great right now. He hasn't taken a snap at the collegiate level.

Second, Drew Brees first year starting in the NFL (his second season), he had a QB rating of 76. His second year, he had a QB rating of 67. Each year after that, he was about 90 or better (last season 109).

Brees didn't get taller. But he learned to adapt to all of the aspects of the NFL (taller, faster, stronger, smarter opponents).

It took Brees 3 seasons in the NFL before he showed significant development.
In 14 starts in college (5 seasons), Joe Cox didn't display that type of development.

I'm saying that it's harder on a RS Freshman at 6'0 than a RS Freshman at 6'5. Doesn't mean that he can't overcome the size disadvantage. Just that he has to learn even more about footwork, be quicker in his defensive recognition of hot receivers (release too), and find ways to overcome more batted balls at the line.

meansonny said...

Height is a luxury (just like speed, strength, and football intelligence).

Ryan Mallet is an excellent example of what height affords a player.

We blitzed the dickens out of him last season. He picked up almost every blitz with ease. Had no trouble finding the vacated receiver or zone. And did a fine job of delivering the ball to that spot quickly.

I do remember noticing how desparately Willie Martinez was sending in CBs, Safeties, and extra LBs to try and disrupt his rhythm. Mallett is one of those QBs that can hurt you even more when you consistently send the blitz.

A smaller QB can still accomplish what Mallett did. But the smaller QB has to be quicker in his recognition (because he can't see the entire field the way Mallett does), better with his footwork to avoid a batted ball by an oncoming player/rush, and have better football IQ to understand while all the madness is going on what they other 16 (non-passrushing) players on the field are doing to avoid mistakes.

If we can run the ball efficiently, Murray won't have to be superman out there. That should help him develop as a QB without having him face the types of scrutiny on the job that Cox faced last season.