Remembering Aaron Murray…While He’s Still Here
Tomorrow, Aaron Murray and a host of other seniors will be honored prior to kickoff at Sanford Stadium. Fittingly, the Dawgs final home game of the season will be a night game. Murray and company are calling for a blackout – and black jerseys or not, the crowd should oblige. Before Aaron Murray steps onto the field for the last time in Athens, here are a few thoughts that I composed over the course of his career at the University of Georgia. Do not by any means think that my paltry excuse for written communication does his career justice, but hopefully these items will provide some context as my first year covering Georgia coincided with Murray’s first year under-center.
September 2010: I’m interested to watch the development of Aaron Murray this weekend and this season.
September 2010: Aaron Murray showed more than sufficient poise and “moxie” as commentators would have it. Murray refused to take a sack and showed that he was more agile than many of us remembered. (Keep in mind he was pretty fleet on his feet in HS before breaking his leg.) A few of his scrambles drew an eyebrow of ire from Coach Mark Richt, he gave the crowd of 92,000+ exactly what they needed – confidence in their new quarterback.
September 2010: One of the few highpoints from Georgia’s loss on Saturday was the play of Aaron Murray. Murray seemed immune to the hostile crowd, the absence of A.J. Green, and the pressure of the Gamecocks. When it was all said and done Murray had complete 14/21 passes for nearly two-hundred yards. While some passes were off, the miscues were all a matter of still-progressing accuracy – not poor decision making.
September 2010: When comparing Murray to the other quartberacks in the country with over 100 pass attempts he is the 20thmost efficient passer. I’m not sure that any other part of our team ranks in the top 20. Furthermore, he has the 11th highest yards/attempt average in the nation – not bad for a freshman quarterback.
October 2010: Perhaps the most amazing thing Murray does is score (with both his arm and his legs) without throwing interceptions. There is only one BCS conference quarterback who has thrown as many passes as Murray and scored (both on the ground and through the air) at a higher TD:INT ratio, and that is Baylor’s Robert Griffin III – a dark horse Heisman candidate. In other words, the only guy throwing as much as Murray, scoring as much as Murray, and turning the ball over as rarely as Murray is up for Heisman consideration.
September 2011: I would prefer to watch Aaron Murray call the shots from the pocket, scramble for his life and otherwise lead the Bulldogs than watch any other college signal-caller. And, I think he will get better. I know he will get better. He’s Aaron Murray.
September 2011: I may have opened up a bucket of worms last week by criticizing Murray’s performance in the clutch, but it’s generally hard to argue with his ability to lead the offense. The Bulldogs have averaged over 35 points per game and scored over 30 points on 10 different occasions since Murray took over under center. And, while the Bulldogs are a meager 7-9 in those 16 games it’s hard to put all the blame on Murray when the offense is scoring more under Murray’s leadership then has been seen in Athens since historian’s know when.
November 2011: While Murray’s accuracy has seemingly suffered this season, his numbers are outstanding. With two games remaining Murray is on pace for 3147 yards and 37 TD passes. Matt Leinart threw 35 TDs in 2004 and won the Heisman Trophy with a much better supporting cast than Murray has.
September 2012: Murray has thrown for over 3000 yards in each of his first two seasons – that number should rise to 3500 or so with more mature receivers and continued questions at running back. He’s hovered around 60% in completions but is targeting 65%. Murray’s TD passes in 2011 is a more than ample figure (only 3 Heisman winning QBs have thrown more during their campaigns – Jason White, Sam Bradford, RG III), but he must limit his interceptions. Last season Murray threw 14 picks; that number needs to be cut in half. This is attainable as Murray threw half of his interceptions in three games – Mississippi State, LSU and Michigan State, and he actually played four games without throwing any.
November 2012: Statistics may be for losers, but when you read into them as often as I do, it’s hard not to be impressed by what Aaron Murray has done over the last two and a half years, and it’s even harder not to wonder where he’ll cap out if he sticks around for a fourth season.
December 2012: I hope that the tendencies that make Aaron Murray the utmost in professionalism bring him back next year. I think he improved his performance in this game and I think that last drive was four yards short of making him a first round pick. I hope he’s back. He’s my quarterback.
January 2013: Aaron Murray’s decision to stay in Athens, Georgia is the single most important personnel announcement the Bulldogs have seen since Herschel Walker’s commitment to the University of Georgia.
September 2013: He’s not just good in the rating department. Take Murray’s yards per game (338.33) over the past three games and work that figure out to represent a 14-game season. Murray would throw for 4,736 yards in that hypothetical scenario. That would have ranked as the highest total in the country in 2012 by 427 yards.
September 2013: Murray played a pretty darn good game. Forget his whole game (which was obviously great) and focus on Georgia’s last scoring drive. After taking over with 4:14 to play and trailing by four points, the Bulldogs put together this series beginning on their own 25 yard line:
- Murray pass complete to Justin Scott-Wesley for 11 Yards.
- Aaron Murray pass complete to Arthur Lynch for 9 yards.
- Keith Marshall run for 2 yards.
- Aaron Murray pass complete to Arthur Lynch for 10 yards.
- JJ Green run for 18 yards.
- Aaron Murray pass to Justin Scott-Wesley for 25 yard Touchdown.
Marshall and Green both ran for huge first downs. Murray was 4/4 for 55 yards and a touchdown. But he can’t win the big one.
By my modest calculations, we have three more opportunities to watch Murray suit up as a Bulldogs. Tomorrow is the beginning of the end. Watch and enjoy.
That’s all I got/