As you may recall, last year the Georgia Bulldogs went down to Jacksonville with just a little bit of hope, coming off three convincing wins against Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky. The 'Dawgs proceeded to come out wound tighter than a roll of duct tape, went down by double digits early, then clawed back to take the game to overtime. That's where a tipped Aaron Murray pass turned into the fourth turnover of the game for Georgia, and shortly thereafter another frustrating loss.
I like Aaron Murray. I think he's going to leave Athens after the 2013 season as the SEC's all-time leading passer. I'm willing to overlook his wearing Florida State gear while in Tallahassee and getting his picture taken with a shirtless Georgia Tech alum.Heck, I happen to own some vintage Florida State gear myself. It came from some football camps that my high school's skill players attended during the mid 90's. We were looking to learn from some guy who was the offensive coordinator for the Seminoles at the time. Sharp fellow, very nice. I think he left soon thereafter to take a head coaching position. But as is often the case, I must digress.
The time has come for Aaron Murray to play a complete game in a game that really matters. I noted earlier this season that young Aaron is racking up a pretty good streak of bad performances in games Georgia really needs to win. It's not the overall numbers, per se. He threw for a career high of 313 yards in last year's Cocktail Party and showed glimpses of his immense potential. Rather, it's generally been turnovers at the worst possible moment which have dogged Murray against important opponents. The aforementioned 4 turnovers against Florida in 2010. The back-breaking interception against Boise State. A pick-6 and a fumble returned for a touchdown against South Carolina earlier this season to balance out 4 touchdown passes. Aaron Murray is tantalizingly close to a true breakout performance. But he must get out of his own way to get there.
The last time Georgia had a bye week before decamping for Jacksonville was in 2007. That week our second year starting quarterback took a road trip with fellow players during which embarrassing pictures were taken which later showed up on the internet. I'm not saying, I'm just saying. Perhaps the thing Aaron Murray needed more than anything last week was to blow off some steam and get his mind right before heading back to the banks of the St. Johns River. It worked for Matthew Stafford, perhaps it will work for Aaron Murray. All I know is that last season he looked like the poster child for the over-infatuation with this game which Greg McGarity isolated after arriving back in God's Country.
So this weekend, I recommend that you take neither the buildup to this game nor your drink selection prior to the game too seriously. Tailgate just like you would for any other game. Perhaps join Aaron Murray in enjoying a Natural Light or 20. Oh, what am I saying? No one who knows better has ever actually enjoyed a Natty Light. Just chug it down as quickly as you can. It will take the edge off and allow you to focus on things other than the past 20 years or so of Georgia/Florida matchups. That's a great idea right now in my book. Until later . . .