What do you want in your starting quarterback?
First and foremost, you want someone who isn’t going to turn the ball over. At a Bulldog Club meeting one time, I heard Coach Richt say the goal of the quarterback should ensure every possession end with a kick-a punt, field goal, or PAT.
Last season, after the Tennessee game, I was on the ledge. I thought that the time to bench Mason had come, throw Brice Ramsey to the wolves, and help him develop. My thought, at the time, was that the good running game with Gurley would help Ramsey’s development.
When the situation with Gurley happened, I backed off. I thought that you needed the stability on the offense in unstable times.
What was the main reason I thought Mason needed to take the back seat? I didn’t think he could lead the team on a game winning drive late in the game. I didn’t think he could take the game in his hands and win it, like David Greene, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray showed us so many times in the past they could do.
No matter how good your team is, and no matter how good the running game is, in the SEC, the quarterback is going to need to engineer a game winning drive. The teams are too good and the margins are too thin. You are going to have to come from behind and throw that touchdown pass with a few minutes (or seconds) left on the clock. Think of all the great teams the last few years-the Alabamas, Auburns, the LSUs-they all relied on their quarterback to win the game for them at some point.
I didn’t think that Hutson Mason had it in him. I was wrong. Though Georgia ultimately lost, Mason led what should have been a game winning drive against Tech, and hit Malcolm Mitchell in the end zone in the final moments.
Mason did what I thought he couldn’t do. I was glad to be proven wrong.
So as the quarterback battle rages on for the rest of fall camp, the main attribute should be, “Can this guy lead the team to victory?”
After, of course, not turning the ball over.