If you wondered in the back of your mind what a University of Georgia-led offense would look like without quarterback Aaron Murray you got a taste Tuesday as the Bulldogs took the field for their first scrimmage of the spring without their signal caller.
Don’t fret. Murray isn’t hurt or anything like that. He was in Atlanta accepting the 2013 Peach of an Athlete Award, an honor given to athletes that excel both on and off the field on campus and in the community.
“We gave Aaron permission to miss today since getting this kind of award is a big deal,” head coach Mark Richt said. “He was a little concerned this would take him out of the running for an Iron Dawg Award, which is given to guys who do not miss any practices, workouts, classes and a couple other things, but I assured him it would not count against him.”
Junior Quarterback Hutson Mason ran the offense with Murray gone and completed 14 of 23 passes for 186 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The five quarterbacks who threw Tuesday combined for six interceptions.
“It was a rough day to throw and catch,” said Richt of the cold weather with heavy wind gusts. “There were quite a few dropped balls in that mess.”
Richt said he was happy with what Mason, a fourth-year junior who redshirted so he wouldn’t be in the same class as Murray, did on the field, and felt that Mason would be inserted into some situations on offense this year as Murray’s backup, according to an ESPN report.
"Hutson has got a good feel for what we're doing and getting everybody lined up," said Richt. "This is going into his fourth year in the system. He's very capable of running the show and I thought he did a good job today."
Mason considered transferring before he redshirted last season and told the Marietta Daily Journal he was frustrated that Murray decided to return to UGA for his senior season, relegating Mason to backup yet again for the 2013 season.
He’ll bide his time and allow Murray to take back the reigns upon his return to the team this week. Mason did joke that he plans to sign Murray up for more banquets so he could get more practice reps, but it’ll be 2014 before Mason has the opportunity to win the starting quarterback role.