A Closer Look At Aaron Murray’s Turnover Problem

If anyone out there thinks that Aaron Murray is not an elite SEC QB, then you shouldn’t take them seriously.  Aaron Murray has done more in two years at Georgia with less talent than his predecessor, Matthew Stafford.  Murray is on pace to absolutely shatter every single UGA record.  David Greene is the career leader at UGA for passing yards, and also holds the all-time SEC passing yardage record, with 11,528 yards. Murray, halfway through his career, already has 6,198.  So if he is able to avoid injury, there is a very good chance that Aaron Murray will leave the University of Georgia as both UGA and the SEC’s all-time passing leader. 

(On a side note, if this takes place, think about it for just a second.  The top two passing yardage leaders in SEC history will come from the school where Herschel Walker and Vince Dooley once roamed.  A true sign of Armageddon!)

If there is one distinction that Aaron Murray wishes he didn’t have, it would be his alarmingly high number of turnovers in the 2011 season.  In 2010, Murray was praised for protecting the football.  Yet a year later Murray, has supplanted Stephen Garcia with the dubious honor for having the most INTs in the SEC and has put out Cox like numbers in this area.  And that doesn’t include his fumbles.  I am not sure how many fumbles Aaron has had this season, but I can think of 3 or 4 very costly ones in the South Carolina, LSU and Michigan State losses. 

Some attribute this to a lack of ability.  Some attribute it to a lack of coaching.  Some attribute this to a lack of being able to win a big game against a big opponent.  I attribute it to something else.

I touched on this after the Mississippi State game, but it still holds true.  Aaron Murray has been the victim of a bad offensive line and inconsistent running game, and that is why his turnovers have increased so drastically from 2010 to 2011. 

I couldn’t find individual numbers for just Murray, but since Murray has taken a majority of snaps, let’s assume this is for mostly him.   UGA has given up 32 sacks this season-11th in the SEC and only ahead of Kentucky.  32 is a lot of sacks. Consider for a moment, that from 2007-2009, UGA gave up a total of 42 sacks in those three years combined.  

Do you really want me to hash out the inconsistent running game?  I think we all know about that without re-hashing it all again. 

For those naysayers who think that Murray should still improve, that a bad pass protection and an inconsistent running game should be no excuse; for the naysayers who say that this is his 3rd year in the system and he should be showing more progress; for the naysayers that believe Richt and Bobo aren’t doing a good job coaching their QB; for all the naysayers who think that because of his mistakes, Murray can never win the big one, then I have something for you.

In 2003, David Green was coming off an SEC Championship season, and his 45th year in the program.  David Greene is one of the best QBs in not only the history of the SEC, but of the NCAA.  He may not have been the most talented, but he was the quintessential “field general.”

Georgia had a pretty good season in 2003, my freshman year, and team went to the SEC Championship game for a 2nd consecutive year.   But individually, Greene had a fairly mediocre season.  Why?  Well, there were a lot of players that had to be replaced on the offensive line and the running game was inconsistent, at best.  You think it was bad in 2011?  In 2003, UGA had Michael Cooper, Tyson Browning and Tony Milton.  Kregg Lumpkin came on towards the end of the season, but for the most part, the UGA offense revolved around Greene. 

In 2003, UGA gave up a staggering 47 sacks and only had 3.4 yards per carry.  

See the charts below for more details (WordPress doesn’t do charts so well…sorry for the tight reading.  An easier to read PDF is here: Greene-Murray Chart):



  Completions Attempts Completion Percentage Yards Yards Per Attempt TD INT
David Greene-2003 264 438 60.3% 3307 7.6 13 11
Aaron Murray-2011 238 403 59.1% 3149 7.8 35 14




  TD-INT Ratio INT per Attempt TD % Difference from Previous Year INT % Increase from Previous Year UGA Sacks Given Up
David Greene-2003 1.18:1 0.03 -50% 27% 47
Aaron Murray-2011 2.5:1 0.03 31% 75% 33


So ask yourself:  did David Greene just all of a sudden decide he was going to be mediocre for a season, or did it have anything to do with bad pass protection and bad running game?  Did Richt and Bobo decide to stop coaching him up for this one season?

I am not trying to say Aaron Murray is as good as or better than David Greene.  Clearly Greene had all the intangibles to make him an all-timer.  In fact, I am putting Greene up on a pedestal even more.  If DAVID GREENE, one of the best QBs in NCAA history, a QB that is revered and renowned for his good decision making, can have a season where he turns the ball over more than usual because of the pressure, why is it unreasonable to think the same thing of Murray?

No excuses being made here, folks.  But when you are sitting around talking football with your friends and the smart ass in the group is complaining about Aaron Murray, you have something to share.


31 Responses to “A Closer Look At Aaron Murray’s Turnover Problem”

  1. 1 dawgfan17 January 26, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Awesome info and comparison.

  2. 2 Marshall Wise January 26, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    how can you blame the turnovers on the offensive line but not give them credit for his passing yards that makes him so “elite”? And your rationale for arguing against the “naysayers” who say Murray can’t win the big games is to comapre him to sombody 8 years ago?? How does illustrating that David Greene was a good quaterback make your point that Aaron Murray is an “elite”? Makes absolutely no sense. The fact is Aarron Murray has not won big games and I don’t care how many yards he has thrown for….the fact of the matter remains is we have lost all the big games because he makes poor decsions and/or fumbles the ball when ever he gets hit. The fact is, Aarron Murray is not a complete quaterback. Yes he is an amazing passer and when he is on, he’s on (best example being Auburn game albeit still had 3 turnovers). EVERY SINGLE GAME, acutally now that I think about it, he had turnovers. And all the games we should have blown people out i.e. ole miss, miss st. , vanderbilt all were close games because of why……yes, Aarron Murray turnovers. If I were Hutson Mason, there’s no way I would red shirt this year. I’d work my butt off and take the lead role because it’s up for grabs. Aarron Murray is not an “elite” quaterback. He’s at best o.k. and until he miminizes his idiotic turnovers he will never be an “elite”. To say otherwise is ridiculous and to make excuses for him and blame it on the O-line is coddling him ( again, this is the same O-line who has allowed him to throw for the yardage he’s thrown). I have no problem giving AM another chance and I think he has the potential to be “elite” but I would also have him know that he is expendable if his turnovers continue. It’s amazing who we choose to crucify without reason (Crowell) and who we coddle yet needs tremendous criticizing (Murray).

    • 3 Corbindawg January 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      2nd Team All SEC QB is pretty good. Statistically one of the best in the country.

      Why so many picks? Why did he go from 8 in 2010 to 14 in 2011? Why was he praised for his poise and respect for the football one year and so bad the next. I just illustrated that the Oline, which nearly gave up as many sacks in one season than it did in the previous 4 combined, show that the Oline had a problem with pass protection. The running game was not very effective this year. So I looked back and saw DG had similar increase in INTs and why was that? He had no help on the Oline and no running game. So I drew the parrallels there. I even devoted a whole paragraph comparing Murray to Garcia and Cox; not very good.

      And if you think for a nano secdon that Hutson Mason is going to usurp Aaron Murray as the starting quarterback for any other reason than injury or suspension, you are insane.

  3. 4 fishookdawg January 26, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Murray may end up with all the passing records and or touchdown passes at UGA,but he’ll probably have the record for turnovers also when he finally leaves. The OL had three seniors this year (all of which are in the Senior bowl) and Boling & Sturdivant last year. Alot of the sacks were him holding the ball too long and not entirely the OL fault. True a better running game would surely make Murray look better & I’m hoping Crowell, Marshall & Gurly will make that happen next year.

    • 5 Corbindawg January 26, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      I am not sure how you can say that after on poor season in that area.

      He was very good about turnovers his freshman year (Florida game non withstanding).

      The OL did have 3 seniors, but let’s be honest that Justin Anderson hardly played like a senior. You can’t say that the Oline depth and lack of experience due to failed recruiting and attrition has hurt the depth of that position. Murray does hold the ball for a long time and lock in on recievers. But the Oline play was still pretty bad. Come on, dude.

  4. 6 Marshall Wise January 26, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I didn’t say Hutson Mason was going to “usurp” AM’s starting spot. My point was AM is not that great and there is someone better out there. Again, if I was Hutson Mason, I would recognize that, work hard in the off season and take his spot. Because AM is so inconsistert, the spot is up for grabs
    I don’t care what his statistics are…means absolutely nothing. We lost the big games because he threw interceptions and/or fumbled the ball. There is no argument there. You are just making excuses for him saying it was the o-line. I say it’s because he is not a complete quarterback.

    • 7 Corbindawg January 26, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Did David Greene suddenly become an incomplete QB a year after winning the SEC title? Because he went from leading the team to victory to having a 13-11 TD/INT ratio.

      Was this a problem for Murray a year ago? No. Murray had a 3-1 TD to INT ratio. That was thrid best in the SEC, behind Newton and McElroy.

      Were sacks a problem in 2010? Kinda but not too bad. 25 was middle of the pack, and two sacks seperated thrid place from seventh in the conference.

      Murray has to get better, no doubt. Step away from this and look at the big picture and have some perspective.

  5. 8 69Dawg January 26, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Let’s look at the long history of great passing QB’s at UGA that never won a title. I’ll show my age and start with Zeke Bratkowski, he ended up with a long career in the NFL backing up Bart Star. He set records but UGA was marginal at best. TheWho can forget Eric Zier. He was a great QB but we couldn’t win a title. Mat Stafford, need I say more. Joe Cox likewise. It happens. Aaron is a victim of trying too hard. He presses and when he does he does dumb things ala Joe Cox. He can run but he does not secure the ball. His pick 6’s are JOe Cox on steroid. He had best settle down or we are screwed because if Mark will let Blair Walsh kick a 40+ yard FG to try and win a game the way he was kicking this year Aaron will be our QB come hell or high water. It may not be sane but it is UGA football.

  6. 9 Jim January 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    You can make all the excuses you want. Murray is a TURNOVER machine! Until he finds a way to perform in the big games, he will be an average qb, nothing more.

  7. 10 Corbindawg January 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Murray has done more than Stafford, Cox or Zier. He has taken the team to Atlanta.

    Comparing Blair Walsh to Aaron Murray isn’t very fair.

    You guys know, if Aaron sucks so bad, I am sure just about every other team in the SEC would love to trade QB situtions with us aside from Alabama and Arkansas.

  8. 11 fishookdawg January 26, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Murray did little to get the team to Atlanta. If it wasn’t for CTG and the defensive players (that by the way, have to earn their starting job each week) they would have never got there. If Stafford, Zier,and maybe Cox had this years defense, they would of went to Atlanta too. Another thing that gets me is if any of the RB fumble or miss blocks or WR drop passes or don’t run the right route, their benched. Murray on the other hand, can throw pick6’s all day or fumble the ball away and the coaches act like well he’ll do better next time. All these guys need to be treated with the same punishment.

    • 12 Corbindawg January 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      And Greene and the UGA offense had anything to do with UGA making to Atlanta in 2003, either. Georgia didn’t beat any good teams that year, lost to a mediocre Florida team coached by Zook. In the three losses (2 vs. LSU and 1 vs. Florida), UGA failed to score more than 17 points. And against UAB, Georgia won 16-13.

  9. 13 Marshall Wise January 26, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Murray is not an elite quarterback because of his turnovers. If he is able to change that, he will be an elite quarterback, he needs to change this. The only way he changes this is his ability to recognize this. Making excuses for him and saying it’s the o-lines fault will not facilitate the change. I hope he improves and takes us to where we all want to go.

  10. 14 Spraydawg9 January 26, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    I would be interested to see when Murray’s turnovers occured. My guess was they were in 3rd and long situations. I agree with he tries to hard to shoulder the team in clutch situations. A smart quarterback doesn’t beat his team. To many times this year he pulled some Joe Cox’esqe stunts that cost us games. Now, with that being said and in his defense, I believe that he was coached into some of those situations. Not so much the fumbles, but maybe more of the interceptions. If you coach is trying to run 5’7 170 running back up the middle half the time chance are you are going to be in some 3rd and long situations. Unfortunately, Murray is a fierce competitor and tried to win the games or at least get the first downs by himself. So, my summation is this… I agree it is the offensive line, running game, decision making, ball security and ultimately coaching. Solution: get some depth at O-line and make Mclendon earn his 200K pay check.

  11. 15 JB January 27, 2012 at 10:54 am

    1. In the NFL, when QB’s transfer, sack % is the one category that is most consistent. Obviously, not the offensive line’s fault. Accuracy is second.
    2. The easiest way to determine if sacks are the fault of the offensive line or qb, is to look at how other qb’s on same team performed. For example, Murray, was sacked every 13 passes with the No. 1 blockers. Mason was only sacked every 30 passes, with No. 2 blockers blocking for him. Obviously, in this case, Muray’s sack % is Murray’s fault.
    3. You can also compare interceptions in the same manner. Mason playing with backups threw 0 interceptions in 30 pass attempts, #1 in SEC. Murray playing with #1 starters averaged an interception every 28 passes and was last in the SEC in interceptions. Obviously, interceptions wern’t the fault of the offensive line.

    • 16 Corbindawg January 27, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Mason only had 30 pass attempts compared to Murray’s 403. And when Mason was playing, he played in mop up duty. Apples to oranges, dude.

      When Georgia finishes 11th in the SEC in sacks given up, that is a clear indication.

  12. 17 JB January 27, 2012 at 11:09 am

    It’s hard for Murray’s defenders to explain how Mason only got sacked every 30 passes, with less talented blockers, while Murray got sacked every 13 passes, playing with more talented blockers. If Mason had been playing with the starters, he probably wouldn’t have been sacked the one time out of 30. If it’s the offensive line’s fault, why did they perform so well for Mason, and so poorly for Murray, are you asserting a consipiracy by Murray’s o-line?

  13. 18 marbleminer January 27, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Very entertaining to read the Murray bashers. Just how drunk are you at the games? Murray will go back to Atl next year and will graduate in 2 holding all sorts of records. Don’t be shortsided or dumb.

  14. 19 JB January 27, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Let’s take a look at your other theory, since I disproves the offensive line theory.

    You want to blame it on the rushing attack,

    Let’s look at this.

    In 2010, the rushing attack was poor against ranked teams, 11th in SEC in yards per carry, and yards per game, (3.03 ypc/95 ypg)

    Murray threw 3 interceptions in 5 games against ranked teams, with the 11th best running team in the SEC.

    In 2011, the rushing attack was average against ranked teams, improved to 6th in SEC in both yards per carry, and yards per game (3.2 ypc.113 ypg)

    So, since the rush attack improved, and Murray only faced 4 ranked teams in 2011, you’d expect his interceptions to go down, right?

    Wrong, Murray’s int’s doubled to 6, even though the rush attack improved to 6th from 11th in SEC.

    Murray averaged 1.5 int’s per game against ranked teams in 2011, yet, with a much worse rush attack, averaged .6 int’s per game against ranked teams in 2010, with a much worse rush attack.

    So, can’t blame the offensive line, since they did 2.3x better for Hutson Mason in pass protection, and can’t blame the running attack, since they improved from 11th to 6th against ranekd teams.

    • 20 Corbindawg January 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      If you compare Mason’s 0 interceptions in his 30 attempts to Murray’s 14 in his 403 attempts, and think that equals out, you are either hopelessly trying to prove a point and further an agenda, or you are mentally challenged. It has to be one of the other.

      And if you don’t think a consistent running game helps a QB, especially Georgia that runs a lot of play action, then you are just trying to further an agenda, don’t know anything about basic football strategy, or mentally challenged.

  15. 21 paul January 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I admit, I have been one of the complainers. I will grant you that Aaron Murray is a talented kid who works hard and is smart. Overall, he puts up great (sometimes astounding) numbers. He can make throws you rarely see at the college level. He is also 0-9 against teams that have finished in the top 25. He simply has not won a single big game. Zero. None. Zip. Nada. Several of those loses involve pick sixes and fumbles given up by Murray. I don’t think you get the tag elite until you prove you can win in the clutch situations. Good? Yes! Excellent? Often, yes! The best quarterback Georgia currently has on the roster? Undoubtedly (though I still think Mason deserves a shot). Elite? Not yet. Might not be entirely his fault, but not yet. There is still time to earn that. As a fan, I genuinely hope he gets there.

  16. 23 PoleSetter January 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Is a link between sack % and QB success. Some QB’s get the ball out so quick you just can’t sack them, others hold the ball a LONG, LONG, LONG TIME and they’re easy to sack.

  17. 24 PoleSetter January 27, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    I wonder why Murray’s interceptions went up, when the running game got better this year? I guess Murray got too comfortable, lost his alertness, and relied too much on his defense, and running game, for whatever reason, improving the running game and defense led to Murray becoming more careless with the ball.

  18. 25 ObieOne January 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Maybe Aaron Murray threw more interceptions because he didn’t have the 2 NFL receivers this year, AJ Green, and Kris Durham? I figured Aaron would struggle more without those 2 guys, and my, did he ever throw a lot of picks.

  19. 26 ObieOne January 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Paul, you are right, Aaron Murray had 8 turnovers in the 4 games against ranked teams. 6 interceptions and 2 fumbles.

    That’s 2.0 turnovers per game average.

    Did ok first half against Boise, South Carolina, LSU, and Mich State.

    Then Aaron Murray lost his focus in the 2nd half.

    Hopefully he’ll work on his physical AND mental conditioning, so he can play better in the 2nd halves of games this upcoming season when the pressure is highest.

  20. 27 ObieOne January 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    Breaking down Aaron Murray’s 14 Interceptions is Interesting:

    1- Field position
    8 came inside our own 40 yard line.
    Only 3 in opponents 40-0 yard line.
    How could the Offensive line block great from opponents 40 yard line on, but horrible on own 0-40 yard line? Odd.

    2- Time
    Aaron Murray had 24 touchdown’s, and 6 interceptions in first half.
    In second half, Murray only threw 11 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions.
    How could the offensive line block so well in the first half, and forget how to block in the second half? Strange.

    3- Down
    Murray’s 14 interceptions, 7 came on first down, 3 on second down, and 4 on third down.
    Why did the offensive line block so good on third down, and so poorly on first down? Odd.

    So, what does this tell us?

  21. 28 knownothing January 27, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Murray will graduate at the end of the spring semester. I sure hope he leaves UGA and goes to a school that will appreciate him.

  22. 29 ObieOne January 27, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    #1 thing Aaron Murray can do is timing, learn WHEN to take chances and WHEN to peak.

    Best QB’s (AJ, Tyler, RG3, Kellen, Branden, Casey, Connor) all only have 0-1 interceptions on their own 1-20 yardline, Murray threw 2
    0-2 interceptions on their own 20-40 yardline, Murray threw 6

    Lesson 1: Don’t throw interceptions on your side of the field if you want to be an ELITE QB.

    Lesson 2: 4th quarter isn’t about touchdowns or yards, it’s about accuracy and passing effic and td-int ratio if you look at the top QB’S.

  23. 30 Snake Plisskin November 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Just went back and entered Aaron Murray on the search feature…the comments were hilarious…rushing stats UF: 185 yds 1 TD…LSU: 78 yds 0 TD’s, MSU: 57 yds 0 TD’s…have to assume there is a “long” rushing attempt thrown in there (like against Boise 137 yds and 1 TD…wasn’t there an 80 plus by Smith? or was it TK)…yea Buddy, if only Mason could have played…heck, if Mason really wanted to play D1 football, then I’m sure he could have picked out any team out there looking for a QB…can you say Russell Wilson…Mason is comfortable in his QB in waiting position and having an article, or two, being written about him and his redshirt status…if Mason really wanted to play, he would have been gone…Snake out

  1. 1 Setting Up For History To Repeat Itself?? « The Grit Tree Trackback on August 30, 2012 at 9:16 am

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