POLL: Should Aaron Murray or Hutson Mason Start vs. North Texas?

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Photo: Logan Booker/BI

North Texas is coming to Athens this Saturday. We all now that. We also all know that this time next year, coach Bobo and the offense will still have very potent weapons within its arsenal, and an grossly inexperienced fifth-year senior quarterback to lead them named Hutson Mason. Which leads to a valid question: Should Aaron Murray or Hutson Mason start vs. North Texas?

There is no second-guessing what Aaron Murray can do on the football field. Unfortunately, we have absolutely no idea what the heir to the quarterback throne, Hutson Mason, is capable of. In his fourth season at UGA, one of them a redshirt year, Mason has only attempted 47 passes for 356 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Basically, stats that resemble a single, good game for Aaron Murray.

I want you to ask yourself, with an open mind, “what is there to lose if Hutson Mason started the North Texas game?”

You do know if things start off awry for Mr. Mason, you would have the best backup quarterback in college football (history?) prepared to take the game over right away, right?

The few times we have seen Mason has been during “garbage time” in a route of an FCS school, or a much lesser opponent. That means he was working without the first team offense, and against the non-starting defensive players on the opposition. Would you like to see what Mason can do with the first-team offense, against a first-team defense of a team that may or may not be considered “low-risk?”

In UGA’s 2005 season,  fifth-year quarterback DJ Shockley took the quarterback throne from super-successful four-year starter David Greene. Shockley had seen plenty of significant snaps throughout his three playing seasons as a backup. He led those 2005 Dawgs to a 10-3 record which included an SEC Championship and a trip to the Sugar Bowl.

In UGA’s 2009 season, fifth-year quarterback Joe Cox took the quarterback throne from the NFL’s first overall draft pick Matthew Stafford. Cox only saw playing time during his first three playing seasons in “garbage time” (except for a comeback win against a mediocre Colorado when Stafford went down with an injury in 2006), and rarely, if ever, played with the first team offense. He led those 2009 Dawgs to a very underwhelming 8-5 season with a trip to Shreveport, LA to participate in the embarrassing Independence Bowl.

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Hutson Mason (14) hands off to Todd Gurley during practice. Photo: Logan Booker/BI

Chances are, the North Texas Mean Green’s defense will not exactly be that of the defenses Hutson Mason will face on a weekly basis in the SEC in 2014. But a chance to start a game with the players he will surround himself with in that 2014 season in a situation where he needs to build his own lead, and maintain a steady game plan, could only be beneficial for the overall good of the UGA program going forward.

Are you convinced that Aaron Murray, who has been about as consistent as any quarterback that has ever come through UGA, will take an inkling of a step back if he does not square off against North Texas? You do know he practices with his boys 4 times a week, right?

Coach Richt has already said Aaron Murray will start against North Texas. And that is certainly not a bad thing for fans wearing red this Saturday. But this fact does not mean we can’t do what fans do best: play coach.

I think by now you know my vote, and it’s going for Hutson Mason to start this Saturday. And now it’s your turn  to let me know what you think:

[yop_poll id="2"]

Please debate in the comments below!

 

Please follow me on Twitter @LoganBooker_BI

138 comments
Junkyardawg41
Junkyardawg41

Good grief!

Logan, kudos for bringing up a topic that creates conversation.

AM starts because it is important for players to stay with the same routine every week before a game. even if he just plays 2 series, it is important to find that rythem.

As for the Clemson game.., I believe after watching NC State come close last night, I firmly believe if we played Clemson 9 more times we would win all 9. Clemson is a good team and we just did not have the right formula early in the season.

Personally, I would prefer TG not get the star but KM, maybe that is a more intriguing poll question.

rugbydawg79
rugbydawg79

Hoo-Ray for B I  - This Bulldawg thinks both blogs are great--And this whole thing is hilarious

AthensHomerDawg3
AthensHomerDawg3

Well it was ballsy of Logan to man up and post on Bluto's blog. I bought the explanation but still. The Senator gets 10,000 hits and he is very good at what he does. Logan is learning.... Bluto is a pro and not a good match up. Keep grinding Logan. The Senator is fair minded even if he has his pets. Hijo I'm looking at you.

WaterlooDawg
WaterlooDawg

Changing QBs is not just plug and play. The other members of the offense also need game time reps with Murray in there.

We all want Mason to get plenty of reps, but not at the expense of our best unit. Big Red 1 needs some artillery practice.

Sheepdawg
Sheepdawg

Boy Logan can you tell we didn't play last week.  You my friend, opened a can of bored Bulldawg fan worms...,  Murray, Gurley & Marshall for 28 points and a heavy dose of Mason, Douglas, Green & Hicks from then on.  Mix in Bennett for a little extra work so Hudson can toss it around a bit and to keep him sharp in the event Arron does get hurt down the road.  GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!

tmdawg12
tmdawg12

Good article Logan, and good discussion below (to some degree...). I like the fact you are not afraid to mix it up a little. Think you posed a very interesting question and look forward to more articles like this.

South FL Dawg
South FL Dawg

Is that what you're going to say next year if Mason starts and we're up big? Nah, I think you're sitting Murray because he's played a lot while Mason hasn't and you feel bad for Mason. Wrong way to decide who plays at this level IMO. Let the game dictate when Mason comes in but who knows if Murray is going to be rusty after the layoff not to mention that he has some new receivers this year. And besides that, Murray is playing for the NFL and for all we know there might be some scouts there to watch him or whatnot. If he gets to pad his stats and put together some nice highlights against an easier opponent then good for him, he's earned it. If the OL has its act together this game just let him show off a little bit; I'm sure Mason will get his chance in the second half and over the rest of the schedule.

RumRunnerDoogie
RumRunnerDoogie

Murray because I don't want him going into the LSU game without playing in 2 weeks

Logan Booker
Logan Booker moderator

What I learned today:

WE NEED FOOTBALL. Bye weeks suck.

PTCDawg
PTCDawg

OMG, you would think playing a 2nd team QB with the first team is like giving up the game. You guys, teams do this all the time. For pete's sake, Spurrier won how many championships playing multiple qb's??

I agree Murray should start because he has earned it, but we don't have to get to 62-0 before the giving someone else a few series with the 5th team players. If Mason plays a quarter with Gurley and Marshall, I don't think the Mean Green will be exposing our big weakness!

ManOnFire
ManOnFire

Uh oh, Logan turning into a shock jock blogger on us ;) .  I understand your point, I do.  But it's not going to happen nor should it.  That would set a terrible precedent for the rest of the team.  If and when we get out to a 21-28 point lead, then you can throw Mason in there with some quality talent around him and get some reps.  

SRQDawgs15
SRQDawgs15

I'm sorry, I know you're just trying to drum up conversation and probably don't really think this, but this is the stupidest idea I have ever heard of! The only thing that would make it worse is if you we're to suggest Richt be fired if he doesn't start Mason! Everyone is always preaching to treat every game the same and not look ahead and now you want to look so far ahead as to sit our 5th year senior QB for absolutely no reason. I hope Mason gets lots of PT this week....after our real QB builds us a nice lead. And to those below saying this would be no different than the LSU game being our season opener and pointing to the stat sheet as evidence that Murray "didn't lose that game," I say take a look at the game on the field rather than what they print in the box score! Murray didn't lose the Clemson game, but he was rusty and inaccurate and it cost us YAC, some 1st down conversions, and 2 turnovers. Oh, and those 2 turnovers led to 7 points....more than Clemson's margin of victory! I love Aaron Murray, in fact I named one of my dogs Murray almost 2 years ago now....he may not have lost the Clemson game for us, but he was a big part of why we didn't win. Lets just start our real starters, get some much needed live game reps in and, hopefully, build a big enough lead to run some of the 3rd and 4th teamers out there in the 2nd half!!! Also, What type of message does it send to 1) basically say this game is garbage by doing what you suggest (forever losing any ability to tell younger players that every game matters, at least with a straight face) and 2) to thank AM for sticking around for 5 years by benching him for certain games (and we think we have a tough time getting guys to stick around now!)

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

We should treat this game like any other game. Guys who win starts during practice should start against North Texas. If and when we have the game well in hand, then you sub in your backups.

If we treat North Texas different, we stand a chance of not coming out and playing how we should play and could end up playing like Michigan did against Akron or Bama did several years ago against in 2007 against LA-Monroe or in 2008 against Utah.

WaterlooDawg
WaterlooDawg

Ballsy, but in bad form, in my opinion, to post condescending remarks on another's site.

And no, I have no idea where the commas should go in the previous sentence.

ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@AthensHomerDawg3 

One should never argue with a lawyer.

Just so you know - BI had 430,153 "hits" in August -  13,875/day average.

PTCDawg
PTCDawg

@WaterlooDawg If Murray goes down, you plug in Mason and play. And if that happens in the 3rd quarter of the Florida game we are all going to wish Mason had more game experience with the starters. Not sure how can Mason get any reps at all that are not at the expense of the best unit. Any reps come at someone elses expense.

Logan Booker
Logan Booker moderator

@tmdawg12 Thanks TM.

I am glad you, and others, understood what I was going for here.

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@Logan Booker Just wait till the weeks that pass by between the conference championships and the major bowl games :)

SRQDawgs15
SRQDawgs15

Name one instance recently........Not of playing multiple QBs, instances of benching the 5th year starter to hold some sort of audition for next year. We'll all be waiting

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@PTCDawg I realize you are being somewhat sarcastic, but I don't think I have heard anyone say we need to be up by even 6 or 7 touchdowns. I think the majority of us hopes that we are winning by 4 or 5 TDs by the end of the first half, and Mason will be allowed to come in and play a full second half. I even would not be opposed to Mason coming in half way through the second quarter if the game is in hand.

I also realize Spurrier won with multiple QBs, but the offensive scheme that UGA runs is not the same style or type that Spurrier runs. Plus, ask Spurrier how that worked out for him versus Vandy last weekend when Thompson came in for Shaw and threw a pick.

converted 1981
converted 1981 moderator

@ManOnFire Yea I was wondering if he was auditioning for some sort of ajc rag..... lol.

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@SRQDawgs15 I don't mind people thinking or having an opinion that Mason should start or get a chance to start against a non-conference opponent. I can understand their reasoning, and I don't think it is stupid even I happen to disagree with it. We should respect each others' opinions even if we don't agree with them.

Murray didn't lose the Clemson game for us IMHO either. It was a team loss.There were several things one could point to in the game that would have resulted in a win for UGA if they had turned out differently. I listed 10 different ones a couple of weeks ago.

I do agree with you though SRQ, that those players that win the starts should start versus North Texas.


ecdawg
ecdawg moderator

@SRQDawgs15 

He does believe it but neither he nor the ideas are stupid - just wrong.

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

and Yes. I did read the article, and you make some good arguments for starting Mason; however, I have to disagree. Unfortunately, starting Mason versus North Texas is not going to tell us how good he is as a QB. I know people are concerned at what we are going to do once Murray is gone after the season, but I want to return our attention to this season. This 2013 season is far from over. We need to focus on this season and each game, take care of our business so to speak.

I do agree that it will be a good idea to get Mason and some other young players and backups playing time in games when we can. However, I am of the believe that you win a starting job, and you don't give a player a start unless he wins it. That being said, there is no reason that Mason shouldn't be allowed to come in along with other backups after we have the game in hand.

Speaking of looking ahead, I'm more concerned about 2014 and our o-line. We lose 3 senior starts off our o-line after this season in Gates, Lee, and Burnette.

Logan Booker
Logan Booker moderator

@WaterlooDawg  

I am sorry you see it that way. Another blog made an entire post cheapshotting me as being ignorant and irrational, when what I wrote certainly falls in the realm of what I do at Bulldawg Illustrated. I punched back. Maybe the owner of that blog feels he is above everybody, and nobody shall question his majesty, but I fail to see things that way.

I have never seen one. single. post. from that site with anything other than a link to somebody else's work. And for some reason an entire flock of sheep act like a snarky comment about each link, with a platform to moan and groan together, constitutes a "great site."

I regret nothing, and will not elaborate further. Please do not disappoint yourself by expecting anything else out of me. 

rugbydawg79
rugbydawg79

@WaterlooDawg I saw nothing condescending in his remarks--it was all pure good clean fun my brother

big game next week lets all chill---all together now-fan base needs to all be on the same page no more feuding !

WaterlooDawg
WaterlooDawg

@PTCDawg @WaterlooDawg Um....."We all want Mason to get plenty of reps." We don't need him getting ALL of the reps. The discussion, from the article above, is about starting Mason and not having Murray play at all. 

If we are just hung up on semantics, then we are good. If you think Murray should not play at all, then we will just have to agree to disagree.

Sic' em Woof Woof Woof!


PTCDawg
PTCDawg

@SRQDawgs15 I can't make any sense of your challenge...playing multiple QBs IS what I am supporting! but then you said it wasn't that and you talk about that being the same as 'benching' someone...and where did I ever say anything about audtioning for anything??? I would just like to see the guy get some experience in case we need him in a crunch spot some time this year. And I think this would be a great time to do that.

I will be glad to defend my position but it is kind of hard when my position is completely mis-represented.

PTCDawg
PTCDawg

@Bulldawg Bob2 @PTCDawg Hiiya BB2! first of all, Vandy is not North Texas, second, South Carolina won, third, Thompon now has the game experience needed to maximize his potential to be successful in relief of Shaw. To my earlier point, if we need Mason for a few series at the end of the Florida game, wouldnt you feel much better about it if he had some real game experience with the starters??

Why wasn't everyone screaming about Brendan Douglas coming in for Gurley? Having your backups play is NOT the same thing as throwing in a towel, it is part of the game and giving yourself the best chance to be successful.

The goal isn't to win at North Texas, the goal is to win a championship.

SRQDawgs15
SRQDawgs15

No, it's just plain stupid. I never said Logan is stupid, but this idea is, in fact, stupid! Exactly like I said above, Murray may not have lost the Clemson game but he damn sure contributed to that loss with mistakes due to being rusty. He's been rusty, slow out of the gate, inaccurate in basically every opener and every bowl game in his career. Building in a month off where the schedule doesn't call for it is stupid, whether you all like the word choice or not! We can't afford to play 1 good half against LSU again....we saw how that worked out 2 years ago

Logan Booker
Logan Booker moderator

@Bulldawg Bob2  

Well I am glad you have embraced discussion to get us through until we (finally) kick off again.

 People may not realize it, but that was the main point of me writing this piece.

WaterlooDawg
WaterlooDawg

Well, thank you for the courtesy of replying. It is always good to have a larger sample size when assessing new authors.

SRQDawgs15
SRQDawgs15

You're position was that you agree with the original post. The original post's position was that HM should start and Murray only play if needed. I asked you to provide one example of this happening since you said "you guys, other teams do this slm the time." Sorry you didn't follow....I think the team proved my point today!

converted 1981
converted 1981 moderator

@PTCDawg @Bulldawg Bob2 OK, come on now PTC you didn't really go there did you.  Comparing rotating RB's to rotating QB's....  Not even in the same discussion.  Nobody is saying they do Not want HM to play the question was Who Should START.  AM should start and most have agreed with that as well as getting HM as many Quality Reps as possible.  Don't think anyone is saying AM has to play the whole game or that HM is Not allowed to play with the 1st string O.  We ALL want to Win especially the MNC as well as having everyone prepared as much as possible for next year.  

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@PTCDawg @Bulldawg Bob2 Aye. I agree. I would feel much more comfortable if Mason has taken some snaps in a live game if he has to come in for whatever reason for Murray in a close conference game.


Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@SRQDawgs15

SRQDawgs151 hour ago

I clearly stated multiple times that Murray did not lose the game but did contribute to the loss....how are ou all missing this?

=============

I'm forty and trying to do way to many things at once lol. :)

@SRQDawgs15  I thought we were two Georgia Bulldawg fans having a good debate. I don't have a problem with you stating your opinion. You make good valid points and arguments as to why you believe the way you do. I have enjoyed reading your posts. 

I guess my biggest point was as well as a question is if you think that Clemson's pass rush and our mediocre offensive line play in that game contributed to some of Murray's throws being off or not as accurate as they should be.

If that is Murray's worst game of 2013, we will be in good shape.

SRQDawgs15
SRQDawgs15

Watch it again Bob....Murray clearly throws multiple passes behind his WRs and low, some to the point they were incomplete, some to the point the WR had to slide and reach back to catch the ball, and others where the WR simply didn't get as many yards as the D was giving them, including at least twice where we didn't get a 1st down that was there to be had. I am a huge AM supporter but that doesn't change reality! If he wasn't rusty game 1 then he was just inexplicably inaccurate. Given it was the first game after 8 months off, I'd say rusty sounds about right. To answer your question about the bye week, yes it's different, a bye week is one thing (we had one of those this past week which plays into this whole argument) 2 straight bye weeks is different. The only time Murray has ever had more than 1 week off is season openers and bowl games.....each of those times he's struggled to find his rhythm which we can't afford next Saturday! I never said the loss to Clemson was Murray's fault, never said anyone was stupid (just an idea, and there is a big difference between the two), and I never mentioned the D (which also CONTRIBUTED to the loss). Apparently some of you are a bit too touchy on this! I have an idea and don't any of you dare say you think it's stupid....since we're sooooo worried about knowing if Mason can handle it, lets just pull Murray's scholarship and let HM play the rest of the season. That way we'll have a really good idea of how he'll be and he'll get to play with some of next year's starters. I mean, who cares that we're only 2 games into this season and in th Natuonal Title chase, right?

SRQDawgs15
SRQDawgs15

I clearly stated multiple times that Murray did not lose the game but did contribute to the loss....how are ou all missing this?

Bulldawg Bob2
Bulldawg Bob2

@SRQDawgs15 We will just have to agree to disagree about Aaron Murray SRQ. I am not just looking at his box score either. I have the game saved to the hard drive and have watched it probably 6 times now.

Yes. He had the fumble from being sacked, which was a result of not one, but two blocking assignments, which gave Clemson great field position. Yes. He threw a pick. Both those turnovers contributed to the loss, I don't dispute that,  but they were not the sole reason we lost the game. However, here are just a few examples of why I disagree with you. 

In his first 12 passes, he completed 8 of them for a 75% completion rate. On the Georgia's 3rd drive of the game and in the first quarter, we were down 14-7, and Murray had a key completion to JSW on a 4th and 4 that resulted in a first down. Two plays later, Georgia ties it up 14 all. If not for that 4th down play by Murray, UGA would have turned it over on downs.

On the 4th drive of the game for Georgia, after David Andrews is called for holding, it is 2nd and 20, Murray scrambles for 10 yards to make it 3rd and 10 instead of 3rd and 20. Murray then completes a 13 yard pass to Wooten to convert the 3rd and 10 and keep the drive alive. He then completes another 3rd and long with a 33 yard pass to Wooten down to the Clemson's 1 yard line after Marshall is stuffed by Clemson on 2 runs.

Murray was not rusty in the game at all. Our o-line did not play well. Go back and watch Murray play and throw when he was being pressured on half of the passing plays by the Clemson pass rush during an away game in a hostile environment. Murray was sacked 4 times, hit about 6 or 8 times, and hurried that many times as well.

I will ask this, and keep in mind, I don't agree with Logan's opinion or theory on starting Mason because I think we should start Murray, but I want to raise this point. What if we had a bye week before LSU? Would that be any different that playing Mason instead of Murray?

I also don't believe that bye weeks or a 4 year starter not getting as many reps will effect the next game as far as them being rusty or not once the season starts. If it was more than 3 or 4 weeks, maybe. However, once the season starts, and after that first game, most starters shake off that rust after the first couple of games. Murray will be as effective as how our o-line plays against LSU's defense and if we can run the ball.

South FL Dawg
South FL Dawg

@SRQDawgs15 I happen to disagree, but I can understand why he thinks that way. I guess that makes me stupid.

bigredballer
bigredballer moderator

@SRQDawgs15 Aaron Murray helped lead the offense to 35 points. We can keep blaming Murray for every mistake he makes.......but at some point some blame will have to go on the defense. Yeah he fumbled and they scored, that is 7 points. The interception he threw was on the other side of the field and there was a penalty.....so Clemson still had to drive 70+ yards to score.

As long as were giving up 31 points on defense, life is going to be tough for the QB because he has to be perfect game in and game out (and that will not happen, not even with a 4th year starter)

WaterlooDawg
WaterlooDawg

 @Logan Booker Well, your article does say your vote went for starting Mason in the game. That leads me to think that you are seriously advocating that position, not just trying to start a discussion.

biggityben
biggityben

@Logan Booker @Bulldawg Bob2 I totally get that this was a talking point article.  What I don't get are the people who actually voted for HM.  This is Murray's Senior year and he won't be able to ever suit up again in the Red and Black again after this year.  Believe me, that's an important thing to these guys.  And yeah, you earn your starts like BB2 said.  Plus, we've been off for two weeks...so there's that.