As we prepare for Aaron Murray’s last home game Between the Hedges, let’s take look back at his career. I know that many out there will probably do the same thing and delve deeper than I will, but here it is from my perspective. I wanted to do a series of how bad the UGA defense is, but I wanted to spend my time this week focusing on the positives of Aaron Murray.
This will be the first in a series about Murray. First off, Aaron Murray is the best quarterback in UGA history. No question about it.
Many may point to David Greene as the best quarterback in UGA history. Some may give that honor to Buck Belue because of his National Championship. Buck Belue may have won a National Championship, but anyone who goes 1-13 in the National Championship Game didn’t really contribute much. Anyone who knows anything about UGA football knows Herschel Walker was the reason of the Dawgs’ success, not Belue. Not to diminish Buck, but his claim to fame is throwing to Lindsay Scott and that play was as much on Lindsay as on Buck.
Some point to David Greene’s, for lack of a better word, moxy. Greene no doubt was a cool cucumber and led many game winning drives. But the pillar of UGA’s success during the Greene era was the defense. How many times did UGA win a game on the back of the defense during his tenure? In fact, 16 times during Greene’s four years as a starter, UGA scored 20 or fewer points 16 times. During Murray’s tenure, the UGA offense scored 20 or fewer points 6 times. 3 of 6 came in his first year in 2010, when the offense didn’t have many weapons. And I don’t discount what David Greene did here.
In the 17 losses in Aaron Murray’s tenure, the offense scored 27 or more points in 10 of the losses. In 6 of 17 losses, UGA scored 30 or more points. Needless to say, if the defense played better during Murray’s tenure, his resume would be a lot better.
Now, the SEC is a different animal now than it was 10 years ago. I recognize that. Offenses across college football are more prolific and this is just a sign of the times. But the overall point remains that in many of the losses UGA has had over the last four years, more often than not the offense and Aaron Murray have done its part.
I posted last year Aaron Murray shouldn’t be at fault for Georgia’s losses in “big games” against ranked opponents. That talking point is trite and over blown. Just this past Saturday against Auburn, Murray went 33/49 (67%) for 415 yards, 9 rushes for 37 yards and 4 total TDs. The Dawgs didn’t finish the drill, but you can’t say Murray didn’t show up in the big games, despite what Chuck Oliver says.
How would this season be if we didn’t have Murray? Game winning drives against LSU and Tennessee, and put the team ahead against Auburn. He made big throws in the final drive to run the clock out against Florida.
In recruiting, I don’t look as much as “stars” assigned by the services. I look at who else has recruited the player. If Georgia beat out Clemson, FSU, LSU, Florida, Alabama, etc…then I know the kid is pretty good.
Murray ends his career holding SEC records of passing yards, touchdowns and total offense. The names he has surpassed are just ones like Greene, Tebow, Wuerffel, Manning, Couch.
A quarterback’s legacy is measured on championships. Murray doesn’t have one. Quarterbacks are put under a microscope. It isn’t unfair, because it comes with the job and everyone knows it.
But you also have to look at the intangibles that can’t be measured on a piece of paper. Murray has the leadership and heart you want in any quarterback. There have been many greats in UGA history. Many great ones in the Richt era. If I was drafting my all-time UGA team, #11 would be my first choice at QB.
His last game at home is Saturday night. Let’s send him off with the raucous reception that he deserves.