In his weekly Sunday teleconference, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said injured quarterback Aaron Murray, who saw his Bulldog playing career ended Saturday night with a torn ACL, has already flipped the switch and is excited to begin his rehab with an eye on playing in the NFL next season.
“I changed texts with Aaron today and he’s not moping or crying,” said Richt. “Of course, initially, he was heartbroken but now it’s basically, “let’s get back to work.” He knows what he has to do (with rehabbing) to get back and he’s excited to start with it. I definitely think he will get drafted. It’s not major damage to his knee, just the ACL, and those tend to heal really well,” said Richt, alluding to the same injury and bounce-back situations of former Georgia receiver Marlon Brown and current receiver Michael Bennett.
Richt said Murray’s second-quarter ACL tear against Kentucky definitely came on his 29-yard run, not later when he went down on a hit by Wildcat defensive end Za’Darius Smith. “Aaron felt something pop. He didn’t know what it was at first but wanted to keep playing,” recalled Richt. “When it happened he was changing direction and cut back to the right inside a defender.” Richt said when Murray refused to come out of the game Richt told him to talk with offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. And when Murray convinced Bobo he was still mobile and could continue playing, the coaches allowed him to go back in the game. “He tried to hide it (injury) and then he knew he couldn’t hide it any more. He knew something happened on that run,” said Richt, adding back in the day many players would continue to play with an ACL injury and that former UGA and Steelers receiver Hines Ward “played almost his whole career without an ACL.”
Richt responded as follows to other questions today:
That junior quarterback Hutson Mason should be well prepared for his first start, against Georgia Tech Saturday, after playing and learning behind such a great quarterback as Murray these last four years. That Mason has been in on a lot of game planning, watching film and doing well in the games he’s played in for the Bulldogs thus far. But of course getting his first start on national television Saturday will be a different animal altogether. “It will be his first start and I’m sure he will be excited but I’m also sure he rather hoped it would be under another circumstance.”
That there won’t be much change in Georgia’s offensive game plan with Mason at the controls. “Hutson’s style is not that much different than Aaron’s,” said Richt. “We just want him to be a great decision maker and get us in the right plays. And get the ball into the hands of our playmakers. And sometimes he’ll keep the ball on the zone read.”
That he believes Mason’s throwing style is very similar to former Bulldog quarterback great, David Greene. “I think they both have a sense of anticipation of where to go with the ball. They seem very similar in their timing, velocity and they throw very catchable balls. I think Hutson’s ready, now we’ll see how he reacts as a starter.”
That with all the torn ACLs the Bulldogs have suffered this season, Richt doesn’t believe Georgia is doing anything it shouldn’t be doing in its training technique in getting the players ready to play. “There’s not anything we’ve done to cause that,” he said. “Many ACLs happen with change of direction and I understand there’s more ACL injuries in girls soccer than any other sport. It’s just one of those years where we’ve had a lot of them.”
That the fact the Georgia Tech defense is allowing only an average of 104 rushing yards a game, will be a big challenge for the Georgia offensive line Saturday. Richt said he hasn’t started breaking down the film of the Yellow Jackets just yet but “I’ve looked at their statistical data and they look pretty stout.”
That redshirt freshman quarterback Faton Bauta is now the No. 2 Georgia quarterback behind starter Mason. “He has worked hard and knows what to do,” said Richt. “He definitely could get us through the game (if Mason were injured).”
That going against the upset-minded Yellow Jackets without Murray for the first time in four years “doesn’t help your chances because Murray is the most prolific passer in the history of the SEC. But we have faith in Hutson.”
That Georgia sophomore defensive end Sterling Bailey, injured in the 59-17 rout of Kentucky Saturday night, should be able to play against the Jackets at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday.