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Monday, November 29, 2010

Murray by the numbers: Better than Greene's freshman season?

When this season began, the question was whether Aaron Murray could avoid being the weak point for what was supposed to be a very good Georgia football team.

As it turned out, Murray was one of the lone bright spots on a mediocre Bulldog team.

How good was Murray? He may very well break Matt Stafford’s single-season record for passing touchdowns, and should be the runner-up for SEC freshman of the year.

Murray now has 24 passing touchdowns, one shy of Stafford’s total from 2008. And that was when Stafford, a junior, was on the verge of being the No. 1 overall pick in the following NFL draft.

Several other players have matched Murray’s current total of 24: Eric Zeier (who did it twice, in 1993 and 1994), D.J. Shockley (2005) and Joe Cox (2009).

But Murray has one more game to tie Stafford and set the orecord. (By the way, I checked: Central Florida has the nation’s 45th-ranked pass defense, and SMU is 79th.)

Technically, Murray has already set the school record for passing yards by a freshman, with 2,851. I say "technically" because David Greene finished with 3,007 passing yards in 2001, but that included the bowl. The bowl stats weren't recognized for record purposes until 2002, according to UGA.

Murray's passing yards are also second all-time among freshman in the SEC, behind Kentucky’s Jared Lorenzen (3,687 in 2000.) So in the bowl Murray needs only to pass for 836 yards and gain 150 pounds to catch up to Lorenzen.

The standard by which all freshman QBs at Georgia are measured is Greene’s performance in 2001, including the bowl. It’s fair to compare now, since Greene only played 12 games, but Murray still holds up very well, in fact better:

Passing yards
Murray: 2,851
Greene: 3,077

Passing TD
Murray: 24
Greene: 18

Murray: 6
Greene: 11

Completion percentage
Murray: 61.8 (188-304)
Greene: 59.1 (214-362)

Efficiency rating
Murray: 167.7
Greene: 140.8

Rushing yards
Murray: 163
Greene: 13

Rushing TD
Murray: 4
Greene: 1

Murray: 6-6
Greene: 8-4

Two mitigating factors in Greene’s favor: He didn’t have A.J. Green to throw to, and Murray has had more games this year where his team had to play from behind.

But both in 2001 and 2010, the Bulldogs have scored at least 30 points in seven different games. And Murray’s team has averaged 34.3 points, and Green’s averaged 27.6.

Greene's 2001 season will definitely be better in one regard, besides wins: Greene was named SEC freshman of the year. South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore is going to win that this year. His numbers are just too eye-popping: 1,114 rushing yards and 17 rushing TDs, along with 328 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

But Murray’s sterling season can’t get lost in the shuffle. It’s hard to believe that back in August, he was the big question mark. Now, as Georgia is one bowl away from entering a very uncertain 2011, Murray is probably the foundation of the team.


CSA said...

Our record would have been much worse if he hadn't turned out to be a better quarterback than expected.

Anyway, it sounds as if Richt wants to keep the staff intact. Most fans think something needs to change. Richt may say the staff will stay the same in an effort not to harm recruiting. If Richt truly doesn't want to fire anyone, I believe he might be pressured to do so anyway.

How much influence does McGarity and Michael Adams have over Richt's staff?

Will said...

I don't know who people want him to fire! Bobo's offense, while problematic in stretches late game, has done better than any at UGA in YEARS. 30 points per game? If we'd have had those numbers from 20002-2004, we'd have been SEC champs every year, back when we just hoped to break 20 a game. As for the defense, what were you expecting, 0-60? We didn't (don't) have the defensive line players to do well in a 3-4, and won't for years. That was the decision that was made, and we're stuck with it. Going back to a 4-3 will just waste ANOTHER recruiting year. If you're disapointed with this year's record, you weren't paying attention to our team the last few years. This was clearly a rebuilding year, and only the lose to Colorado was truly a breakdown. Miss. State was better, Arkansas has a top-10 draft pick at QB, and South Cakalaki has Hershel 2.0 at RB. The loss to Florida was bad, but not unexpected. We were, at best, an 8-5 team this year. Minus AJ, we're lucky to be where we are.

Anonymous said...

"South Cakalaki"

Really? Do you think you're being cool calling them that? It just sounds stupid.

Lawson Bailey said...

Does anyone think that Richt was being coy in his response to the question about staff changes? His reply was “Am I considering changes on the staff? No,” he said.

Has he already made the decision about what changes to make?

Willb said...

I don't understand how Lattimore is an easy choice for SEC freshman of the year. I guess it is based more of wins and losses than stats.

Murray is having easily the best freshman season for a qb at GA. Greene's numbers don't compare to Murrays. Murray will probably win 7 games while Greene won 8 games. Murrays season is actually not just one of the best freshman seasons at Ga but one of the best QB seasons in Ga history. If Ga was winning more a valid argument could be made for this being the greatest passing season in Ga history.

Also for anyone who says he had Aj Green and won't have him next year look at the first four games without green vs. Three of the best teams that we would play. Here is his Efficiency rating in games without Green.

Louisiana-Laf. (Sep. 4) 147.5  
at South Carolina (Sep. 11) 143.5  
Arkansas (Sep. 18) 139.1  
at Miss. State (Sep. 25) 143.0  

5 td and 2 int and averaged about 220 passing yards a game while completing over 60% of his passes and running for two more tds. Efficiency rating averages out to over 140.00 which would still be the greatest for a Ga freshman QB. These were his first ever games against some of the best defenses he played and he was without Green.

I myself would still choose Murray over Lattimore for freshman of the year. What Murray has done I consider to be more impressive. Lattimore is not having the greatest freshman rb season in SEC history. An argument can be made that Murray is having the best freshman QB season in SEC history. Show me who had a better one.

Anonymous said...

What wrong w/ "South Cakalaki"

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Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"South Cakalaki"

Really? Do you think you're being cool calling them that? It just sounds stupid.


I think you "sound stupid" or at least ignorant for your lack of familiarity with "Cakalaki." Go back to the rust belt Yankee transplant!

Anonymous said...

The question about staff changes was not asked very well. Richt pondered the question to make sure that he did not provide false information. The changes are being made to strength and conditioning. If the reporter would have asked, are you planning any changes for the football program, the answer would have been different.

Anonymous said...

I was born and have lived in Georgia my entire life, how am I a yankee? The guy sounds like a tool, deal with it.

Rick said...

@Anon 3:37

Actually, you sound like the tool. Deal with it.

Seth Emerson said...

Actually, the question about staff changes was asked well, and was very direct. (For the record I didn't ask it, so I'm not defending myself. I asked the later questions about Bobo.)

First, Richt was asked about evaluating the program. Later, a reporter asked specifically if he was planning any staff changes. Then came his answer.

Now you're free to surmise what specific constitutes "staff." But the question was direct.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rick, STFU. The kind of people who say south cakalaki are the same morons who say trickeration and pick six. Idiots.

Willb said...

Now that it's a couple of days after the Tech win I feel a little better about it. I mean we did win. A win is a win even though it was a little sloppy. I think it was having to watch that triple option crap all night.

Also I could see us sticking with Bobo. If it was my choice he would be gone but I understand with this being one or if not the highest scoring Ga team of all time.

I just think that his play calling in critical situations cost us a few games this year. All of those high scoring games don't really tell you how good of an offensive coordinator he was.

What I look for is did Bobo put his offense in the best position to win games, and I say no. It's either predictable play calling or going away from what's obviously working. Also we seem to let our foot off the gas when were playing great on offense. It's almost like were not playing to win but playing not to lose if that makes any sense. Also we need to be more balanced with the running game. Maybe stick with Ealey and give him 20 plus carries a game. He's not a bad rb. Look at Ealey and Mark Ingrams production from this year. Almost identical. If we get the running game going we can control the clock more.

I think Bobo is a better offensive coordinator than some do. I don't think he is bad but I think we can do better. When I watch Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, or Florida there offensive play calling just seems to be more consistent. I'm scared as hell watching our offense cause I don't really trust Bobo to do the right thing.

With all that said I can see where Richt is coming from if he keeps Bobo. Aaron Murray just had one of the best seasons in Ga history in this system. This is the system that Murray has been studying for two years now. I think we might underestimate how hard it would be for a player like Murray or any other player to learn an all new system just like that. Chances are our offense could be worse next year if we hired a new coordinator. Players like Murray don't come around very often so switching things up on him after two years might not be the best thing for him.

Sometimes in sports it's best to not make any changes at all. While I don't think Bobo is the best offensive coordinator for us I also can see why it could be the smarter move to stick with him.

Anonymous said...

I prefer "TAINT" (Touchdown After INT) to pick 6.

Doug said...

Did we face any tough defenses this year?

I remember USC playing good defense, but the rest of the teams were OK or bad at defense.

ChrisDawg said...

Dude we play in the SEC. Almost everyone has a decent defense. Sc, Miss St, Fla. Those were all pretty good defenses. Like I said though almost everyone in the SEC has great defensive players. The isn't the big12 pac10 or the acc. This is the SEC! Our bad teams would be pretty good anywhere else.

This was more of an offensive than defensive year in the SEC though.

Willb said...

On a positive note UCF moved back into the top 25 in the coaches poll so if they win this week they will probably be a top 25 team in all the polls. None of the other bowls that were discussed offer Ga a chance to play a ranked team. Actually either team that wins there conference championship game could be ranked. UCF or SMU. We can end the season beating a ranked team.

Even though they will be ranked I'm sure Ga will be the favorite. That's why I don't like the rankings so much. There more based off how easy your schedule was than how good of a team you are.

Will said...

Actually I take back either team could be ranked. I was looking at Tulsas record not SMU's. So let's hope UCF wins this week!

Carter said...

Saw that you're doing another mailbag. I don't have my own Twitter account as I'm not terribly interesting. Also e-mail is so formal and time consuming any more. In the future would you consider making a blog post just stating your intentions to do a mailbag so that the comment section could then serve as a collection point for mailbag questions?

Seth Emerson said...

Carter, I've thought of doing just that. May do it later this week. It's a slow week, so no reason I can't do two mailbags, assuming there are enough questions.

Mike said...

I don't have a problem with keeping Bobo but..... I do want some new wrinkles added to our base offense. This is the same exact stuff year after year. Our "O" line has to just about perfect because we never surprise anyone with new plays and new wrinkles from week to week. I actually can go with keeping all the coaches if they are willing to catch up with the times. Mat drills might have worked in the past but times have changed. Three words.... Just be progressive! The same thing over and over produces pretty much the same results...... even with better players!

Carter said...

I would appreciate it, Seth. Re: Potential mailbag questions - Which TV shows are you watching? Have you been keeping up with "Boardwalk Empire" or "Sons of Anarchy"? Also, where are you on "Breaking Bad"? I would imagine that the off-season would be more conducive to your TV watching and our discussions thereof. I used to discuss a lot of TV and '80s & '90s pop culture with Hale, and I lobbied him harder than anyone to watch "Breaking Bad." Just ignore the yutzes who will inevitably complain in the comments about TV talk. As if they can't be bothered to scroll down on a free blog.

Anonymous said...

Please Seth, no TV blather.

Would you please tell us what this Red & Black fool did to get tossed out of Adam's box? Please tell me he didn't make a pass on the gov's wife.

btw. I live in North Cakalaca.

Carter said...

That didn't take long. See what I'm talking about?

Ken said...

Bill Shanks is a moron......He needs to be fired!

Anonymous said...

Carter said...

rashid1891 said...

this is good site

BulldogBen said...

Seth, do you fully expect Richt and McGarity to contine to speak in vague terms with regards to next year? It's going to be donation season before you know it and I've yet to hear anyone attempt to sell the fanbase on the future. With Green, Houston, Boling, Durham, Dobbs, Dent, Gamble, BOTH FB's, and about 5-6 more starters or part time starters leaving or graduating, what are they selling us on? How can anyone expect 9 wins with what is coming back? Seems like Richt is in an impossible situation (granted one he has ultimately put himself in).

Anonymous said...


You fail to mention Murray's among the worst in the NATION in passing accuracy on 3rd down, in the 1st & 4th quarters, in the red zone, on 3rd and 10, etc. Choked on 4th and down twice last game.

I'd like to see you publish an OBJECTIVE article about Murray's NATIONAL RANKINGS AMONG ALL QB's in those 5 areas as far as his passing accuracy goes.

He chokes. Jacked his stats against poor defenses and teams without winning records.

Check out the defensive scoring rankings of the teams Murray went up against.

Murray had AJ Green, Durham, the #1O-Line as far as experience goes, 2RB's that were top 5 over last 3 games of the season, and the run game drops 30+ spots this season? Murray didn't do a good job making run audibles, not stretching the field in the games without AJ, so teams stacked 8 in the box, and dared Murray to beat them, and he choked. See SC, Ark, etc.

Seth Emerson said...


Bryan said...

It seems Mr. Anonymous has moved up to #1 troll in the country this season, though.

Willb said...

Anon 1:19 are you serious???? Are you actually a dawg fan? You have no idea what you are talking about! Seth I would not answer this one if I were you.

Also bulldogben it's not going to be as bad as you are saying as far as players leaving. Every year a large amount of seniors leave. Only a few actually start. Dent dobbs and gamble on defense. Boling Durham chapas on offense. None of those senior starters cannot be easily replaced. Dent will be the biggest loss as he was our leading tackler but just like he stepped up in currans place someone will step into his place. Green and Houston are the only underclassmen I would expect to leave early.

I believe Aj Green is the only player leaving that cannot be replaced. There will not be a drop off at any of the other positions in my opinion. If anything we will be better at certain positions.

Anonymous said...


I wouldn't go as far as saying Chapas is easily replaced. Especially when you look at what's in the pipeline. Our running game suffered even more than usual when he was out this season.

BulldogBen said...

Willb, I'll admit that I'm pretty down on us right now after enduring these past 2 years but I simply can't make the loss of talent + decline in recruiting numbers add up to us seeing a marked improvement next year. Losing Houston will hurt more than people think. At the very least he's a 2nd round draft pick and Gamble and Dobbs at least had experience and size. If there were better players than them they would've played. I just think we're going to ask some inexperienced jr's or sr's plus some redshirt freshmen to stop Boise St right out of the gate, not to mention a USC team the following week that will bring back Garcia, Jeffries, and Lattimore. An 0-2 start will open the floodgates for negativity.

As for the offense, who will be our #1 receiver coming out of spring practice, Tavarres King?? Marlon Brown??

I realize there is a lot to happen between now and then, but for me, it's simply not enough to just say "oh we'll be okay, someone will step up". All evidence to the contrary says they won't or haven't in 3 years.

I hope I'm 1000% wrong.

BulldogBen said...

Also, the idea that this recruiting class will solve all ills is a pipe dream. Even if we do sign a mammoth NT and a couple of maniac DE's, they'll still be true freshmen.


Sorry for the doom and gloom guys.

King Jericho said...


I'll agree with you some, but if we're getting a mammoth NT or some difference-making DEs, they'll be out of JUCO, so they'll have some play experience. But, we see how well Jakar turned out this season.

Also, Jarvis Jones is not allowed to play this year and won't be a RS freshman or a bench rider. I've heard a lot of good things about him and given the level of development we saw in Houston, I absolutely expect Jones to be able to step up and fill his shoes. Not to mention Samuel has been hurt most of the year and it wouldn't make sense to burn a redshirt on him this late in the season; he could step up and be the next Curran.

And as far as replacing AJ Green goes, I think a RS Sophomore Aaron Murray will come close to making any of our receivers viable threats in the passing game.

The one thing I am most concerned about on offense is the FB play you mention. Even if we luck out and sign Cromwell, it would be nice to have him running behind Chapas's blocks. I haven't heard of anyone else that could step up and replace him and Munzenmaier, but we've generally had pretty good FBs, so I'm confident we'll find an at least serviceable option.

And I'll just pretend like the secondary doesn't exist and hope that Boykin comes back, Alec continues to grow, and some other safety can play at least reasonably well. I'm not expecting a miracle or anything

Willb said...

I agree that Chapas will be hard to replace. Ogletree seems to be our next fb and I have no idea how good he will be.

Dent and gamble were both productive players this year but I do not see them as being unreplacable. Dent kind of game out of nowhere to be our leading tackler with 122 tackles for the season. He stepped up in Curran's departure when many didn't think he would. I see another player stepping into the same role next year and being very productive. I won't pick a certain one because I would of never picked Dent to be that player this year. If I had to choose I would say Dowtin will have a great season next year. He was tied for our third leading tackler with 57 tackles.

Gamble is our 7th leading tackler with 39 total tackles. He has had a decent season but nothing special. I see this as a position that will possibly be an upgrade next year.

Dobbs another senior leaving had 24 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Again I could see this as being another spot that could be an upgrade next year with the likes of Abry Jones and some other players.

Now Houston is another story. With 57 tackles 18.5 tacks for loss and 10 sacks. He has had a great year. A possible NFL first round pick. He is the only true loss I see for us on defense. I don't know who will fill his role. Jarvis Jones? I was expecting Cornelius Washington to have a better year than he did. Maybe he will step up next year. Maybe Houston will return?

As far as Green and Durham go they are both great players. Green being the best wr in Ga history. Although I still see our wr's and tight ends being a position of strength for next year. I see King and Charles kind of being 1 and 1a as far as the number one target next year for Murray. King has been a very productive wr his first two years and I could easily see him being one of the best In the SEC. Orson Charles might be the best receiving te in the nation next year. He is a possible NFL first round pick himself. I see Marlon Brown possibly stepping into Durhams spot. Who thought Durham was going to have a season like he has had? Marlon Brown is more skilled in every way over Durham. Then you have Branden Smith who might be more important on the offense than defense. Also Ealey and King are returning.

Our offense might not put up as many points as this year with no Aj but it might be more consistent and better at controlling time of possession.

Our defense will be better. Another year under the 3-4 and most contributing players returning. Also Houston very well could return. Then you have Alec Ogletree. A possible star in the making.

I see a much better season next year. We should of won more games this year. This team has the talent to of been a 9-11 win team. I see the same for next year. One thing some people aren't realizing is we didn't lose all these games cause we didn't have the talent. We underachieved to an extreme extent hid year and I don't see that happening again. Mark Richt and everyone else knows they will be coaching for there jobs.

Willb said...

Also let's not forget the probable return of Walsh and Butler. Two completely undertated positions. No doubt the best pair in the nation. An advantage we will have over everyone in close games.

Hairy Munson said...

Ahh, our old friend mr. anonymous. Haven't seen you since the last days of David Hale (God rest his soul). I cannot, however, say that I'm glad to see you back. I has been such a joy without you here to annoy all of us. We understand that you hate UGA football/Richt/the world but please, just go back where you came from and stay there (on second thought, go find Finebaum's blog or the guy from the should fit right in over there)

On to more important things.

I'm cautiously optimistic about next year. Game 1 will have a lot to say about how the first half of the season goes. If we come out with our tails on fire and ready to play (like I hope Richt will ingrain in them this summer) we should be able to take care of business. However, if we come out flat (like we always do), tuck in because we're in for a long season. I really do believe we have what it takes to win at least the SEC east, if not the SECC. Whether or not we actually accomplish this will be up to the coaches to get away from the Stafford/Knowshon mentality and back to the Pollack/Greene mentality. And whether or not the players decide that a 6/6 season is embarassing enough to make the want to WORK for it. The talent is there. The coaching can be there. The question is: can we put it together early in the season? For my sanity's sake, I hope so

Best to all (except you anonymous)

Anonymous said...


Aaron Murray is ranked last in the NCAA on 3rd and 10+ yards to go in passing accuracy. Also #84 or #89 in passing accuracy in the first quarter, 4th quarter, in the red zone, and on 3rd downs.

Great when it doesn't matter, among the worst, when it matters.

Also, is #71 in passing accuracy against winning teams.

But he's accurate against losing teams, then again, that gets you to 6-6.