February 10, 2010

Murray ready to compete for starting job

Aaron Murray wants to make one thing perfectly clear - he's completely over the triceps and forearm tendinitis that knocked him out of action for five weeks last year.

In addition, there's nothing health-related with his arm that's going to keep him from competing for the starting quarterback spot when the Bulldogs kick off spring practice March 4.

"It was just tendinitis that I originally tried to push through and it flamed up and spread throughout the arm," said Murray, as he recalled the injury that happened early during the 2009 campaign. "I didn't give myself the proper rest, which I should have. In the end, had I done that, I probably would have only been out a week or so, instead I was out for four or five because I didn't get the proper rest I needed."

Murray insists there are no current concerns.

"We did X-rays, looked for bone issues, stress fractures but there was nothing. It was just good old tendinitis," he said. "Once I got the rest it hasn't bothered me at all. All through the bowl and now I've thrown the ball a good bit already and it hasn't bothered me at all."
Murray didn't speculate on whether or not the injury cost him playing time as a freshman, though he did concede sitting out five weeks did not do him any favors from a development standpoint.

But not to worry:

Murray said the extra work that he, Zach Mettenberger and Logan Gray got during bowl practice made up for any lost time during the fall.

There are no concerns with his shoulder, either.

"Absolutely not," Murray said. "There's no problem with the shoulder at all."

That said, Murray said head trainer Ron Courson won't be taking any chances with he, Mettenberger or Gray.

Each will be monitored closely to ensure they don't throw the football too much during individual workouts prior to spring and during the summer months.

"I think they might do that. I've talked to (Courson) about making sure the arm is ready and he mentioned before they used to count Stafford's throws to make sure he wasn't throwing too much," Murray said. "We'll see, especially this spring. He will probably cut us all back some but we've already started throwing 3-4 times a week to make sure we're ready to go."

So who will Georgia's starting quarterback be?

Murray said he will do everything he can to try and be that man.

"I view it is it's anyone's job to win right now. I'm looking forward to the spring and it's my goal to get that position. I'm going to try and work as hard as I can, work as hard as the other guys because I know they're going out there trying to do the same," Murray said. "We're all friends, we're not enemies, we hang out, we go out together to eat. There's no hatred, but we're all going out there to win the position."

That's the same attitude the Tampa, Fla. native said he came into last spring workout with.

"When I first came in I was fighting for that job. I wanted to play LAST year. I wanted to learn everything as fast as I could and I had hoped that would translate to time on the field," he said. "Obviously, that didn't happen. I feel as a competitor you want to play no matter what even if you think you're going to redshirt or even if some people say you're not prepared. As a competitor you want to play, I wanted to play last year. I have that same mindset right now but I'm a lot more knowledgeable of defenses, the playbook, so I think I'm more equipped to start than I was this time last year."

If he's fortunate to claim the starting role, Murray said he would try and take some tips from another well-known quarterback - Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

Murray's eyes widened as he started talking about the former Purdue star, who earned MVP honors in leading the Saints to their Super Bowl victory over Indianapolis.

"Drew is my favorite quarterback in the NFL. I watched a lot of his games and of course I watched all the playoff games, just to see what he does with the ball, especially being 6-foot," said the 6-1 Murray. "It's really pretty astonishing. His accuracy is unbelievable. He's a guy who wants to go out and complete ever pass that he throws; that's something I like to do, too."

He'll get his chance to do that come spring practice. According to Murray, the job to become Georgia's starting quarterback is wide open.

Whoever is most consistent will likely win the job.

"I think the biggest thing Coach (Bobo) will be looking for is just the guy who can make completions and when nobody is open downfield to be smart enough to check down to a back instead of launching the ball downfield," Murray said. "He just wants somebody who's going to play smart. I know last year in practice I thought I was back in high school where I could launch it up and have Orson (Charles) jump over everybody. Here, everybody's got athletes on defense and they're going to do what they can do to make some plays, too."

As for that offense, Murray said that whoever becomes the starting quarterback will have the advantage of having an experienced offense to lead.

Besides a veteran offensive line, the fact Georgia also has experience at running back with Caleb King and Washaun Ealey to go along with a receiver corps led by A.J. Green, there won't be as much pressure on a new quarterback than there ordinarily might be.

"I think we'll have an unbelievable offense this year," Murray said. "With two great running backs and our offensive line, we should put up some great numbers in the running game. It won't be like we have to throw the ball 40 times a game; we'll just be able to hand the ball back to the backs most of the game and let them do the work."

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