We've got a strong Defense, particularly when the knuckleheads get off suspension from the first two games. I feel very good about that. Unfortunately, we got an offense that is seemingly put together with bubble gum and duck tape. Hey, MacGyver made it work, so it's possible, but he also did it out of desperation. Our Offense has, for the most part, never played a live down together. To my knowledge, Freshman John Theus is still starting at tackle on the blind side. That makes me pretty anxious. Our star RBs are freshmen again (I don't have great expectations for Samuel, no hate, I just don't see it), and Boo Malcome hasn't played a full game yet either. We moved our star receiver Malcolm Mitchell to DB (thanks so much for that Commings and Rambo, yea, I'm still mad). So, We got a O line without depth and/or experience, a RB corps without experience in the speedsters, our offense has been atrocious at play calling to the TE or working the midrange passes. I don't like this formula at all. But all is not without hope.
We got one ace in the hole, and that’s Aaron Murray. As a Junior in the system for 4 years now, it’s his time to shine. What this team is going to need, the part that has been missing, and as I repeat on a regular basis, is a stand out leader. And that naturally falls to Aaron Murray. He is the upperclassman, I expect to see a C on his jersey this fall, he knows our system, and he has to be about as good as he’s going to get at reading defenses at this level and calling plays. So, there are some keys for him to have a great year this year, and this is a really darn good time for him to do it:
TD/INT ratio needs to improve: I am completely ok if Murray doesn’t score 35 TDs this year. I hope we are able to run more effectively in the red zone and get more TDs the old fashioned way. That’s where you exert your dominance over your opponent and stuff the pumpkin through the goal line. Murray’s amazing number of TDs was largely due to red zone ineptitude. More importantly though, is knocking off those INTs. Ints do far more than give your opponent the ball, and prevent you from scoring, they often prevent you from resting your D and flipping the field. Several of those interceptions came because of forcing the ball, trying to make something happen. Which gets to one of my keys for Aaron – throw the ball in the stands if it ain’t there. I honestly think he threw the ball away about 2 times last year. Aaron Murray has got to accept that sometimes getting 20 yards and a good punt flipping the field is ok. It’s much better than a turnover, which kills us. Demonstrating on field decision making to keep our O clean will ripple through the rest of the team – "Aaron Murray knows what he’s doing". That will keep this team’s head in the game and focused.
Screw Bobo’s over coaching on standing in the pocket. Murray demonstrated some leg power as a freshman, and then it seemingly was sucked out of him. Sometimes, it’s ok to scramble out of the pocket, to make room for a pass, to squeak out a few yards or to enable yourself to take a zero gain, yet zero loss situation by running or throwing it out (read: no sacks, no ints). Don’t stay locked into a bad pocket. Keys to this are always secure the football in traffic and keep your head and eyes moving so you don’t get blindsided. Aaron has a slight weakness in staying locked in and needs to get that head and those eyes active. I hope John Theus works out, but at some point he is going to get overloaded with a double team or stunt, and someone’s going to come at Murray’s back. Hopefully we will work in more roll outs to keep Murray moving and agile and this is the time for Murray to notice the little things such as a linemen in a slightly different position or stance, a linebacker leaning or looking one way, and use those little things to help cue him to audible or move as needed. And Aaron, it’s ok to slide or step out if you’re running. None of us are going to check your man card.
Be a calm, confident leader and show faith in your team: Even when it looked really, really bad, there was something about David Greene that gave the team confidence they were never out. That on field leadership is going to be critical to help a stack of underclassmen when the goings tough. These guys need some upperclassmen leadership (unfortunately, we can’t say senior leader about much of anyone). It could be a strong word in the huddle, it could be taking a big lick and getting up and back to the huddle without missing a beat or saying a word, but it’s time our QB starting saying this is "my team" on the field take charge. The play calling is a starting point, however it’s still on the players to do what they got to do. And Aaron, if the play changes direction and you lay out a block – you’re going to be a hero.
Work the game, not just the play: We’ve developed a knack for the big bomb score, going up a TD or two and forgetting it’s 4 Quarters and 60 minutes of football. Every possession matters. There are no giveaway snaps or unimportant possessions. Flipping the field can often be a victory. Grinding out 2-3 yards can be the difference of a 38 vs 41 yard field goal. Aaron, sometimes you’re going to have to find moments to say "Coach, we can do this, let me do this." That doesn’t mean to be blatantly anti authority, but it does mean show Coach Richt your heart and desire to lead the team. Get a little angry even if a win is readily at hand if the linemen or running backs start loafing. Also critical for Aaron in this area is not to go all Tebow and think you have to carry the team on your shoulders. Don’t try to be the superhero. Aaron needs to perform his job, perform it well, remain poised and calm, and not try to force things. Be in the zone, and let the force be with you.
It’s your team now Aaron Murray. And this team is going to need your leadership on the field. We’re all damn proud of you and look forward to a special couple of years with you leading the Georgia Bulldogs. So tell me, what are your thoughts and expectations for Aaron Murray?