The announcement has just been made, amid the familiar strains of Ray Charles' "Georgia." Christian LeMay is going to be a Georgia Bulldog. That is, unless Richt or Bobo are gone after 2010. I don't see Richt being gone...and unless Bobo's offense falls completely off the map, I don't see him being fired either. He's going into a season with a Freshman quarterback. Even minimal improvement will solidify his job for at least one season.
Still, what does the rest of the quarterback situation look like? Logan Gray is (at the moment) still on the team. LeMay's announcement shouldn't really do anything to affect Gray's decision. Christian wants to come in and redshirt, he has said so on multiple occasions. So, the earliest he'd see the field is the fall of 2012. By then, Gray will have moved on, one way or another. So, what we have is one redshirt freshman, one redshirt Junior and three true freshmen (1 SC, 2 WO) on the depth chart. That's five guys in line before LeMay hits the locker room in January of 2011.
So what will happen? Well, if Gray can actually contribute as a receiver, I'd say he should move over there and start getting some reps. He should be running routes this summer as a receiver if he decides to stay at UGA. If he decides to go, the one thing we truly lose is his years in the system. While many fans don't think he's a good option as a starting quarterback, he does have the most true knowledge of what's going on back there. Watching him at G-Day, I certainly didn't think he was as awful as his play last season made him out to be. It appeared that he could serve as a functional backup, should Murray go down. Still, having him as a full-time QB seems like a waste to me.
I don't like the idea of Gray doing mop-up duty. The reason I don't like it, is I'd love for whichever of the three true freshmen picks up the offense best in camp to get reps this fall. UGA has found itself in a low-experience situation at QB too many times in recent years. Part of that is due to the dwindling points scored, and increasing points surrendered by the team. In essence, we haven't been good enough to get the backups much experience. There's no reason for UGA to face that in the future.
As it stands, UGA enters 2010 with 5 quarterbacks, four of whom are freshmen.
Four quarterbacks who are the same year. Now, that's a very crowded backfield. But, as we've seen over the years, it's unlikely that all of these players will stay in the system. As a former walk-on, let me tell you...it's very trying to go out and give all you can only to know that on Saturday, you're not likely to be getting into a game. What's more than that, is that after a while, you stop getting quality reps and are working all the opponent's plays. That doesn't help your development in the system.
Most likely, the two invited walk-ons who are coming in this fall will be gone before LeMay hits campus in 2011. Now, one may surprise, but it's doubtful that both will. It wouldn't shock me to see Richt hang a scholarship on one of those guys after fall camp. There's certainly one available. However, the decision to invite those boys to camp was likely to find two guys who could split scout-team reps while Murray, Gray and Mason work with the 1st team. The shocker could come when one of the walk-ons turns out to be a better fit than Mason, and Mason ends up running the scouts.
Still, when LeMay arrives in 2011, possibly alongside one of four other highly-touted recruits, two within the Georgia borders, the QB backfield will be quite crowded indeed. Whether Gray is still a QB at that point, there will be at least 5 and possibly six quarterbacks within a football-year of one another. YIKES! To give a quick little breakdown, it looks something like this:
2010 - 1 JR (bench), 4 Freshmen (1RS, 3 Tr)
2011 - 1 SR (bench), 1 RSSoph, 5 Fresh (3 RS, 2 True - Lemay+1)
2012 - 1 RSJR, 3 RSSoph, 2 RSFresh + I'd guess we still sign a QB to prevent holes.
2013 - 1 RSSR, 3 RSJR, 2 RSSoph, 2 Fresh (either RS or True or a combo)
That's a ton of QBs. If Gray moves to Wideout, we'll be loaded with Freshmen this year, but at least one of the incoming guys will get game experience, and no redshirt. The future would look more like this:
2010 - 4 Freshmen (1RS, 3 True)
2011 - 2 Soph (1RS, 1True), 4 Fresh (2 RS, 2 True - LeMay+1)
2012 - 2 Jun (1+1), 2 RSSoph, 3 Fresh (2 RS, 1 True)
2013 - 2 Sen (1+1), 2 RSJun, 2 RSSoph, 2 Fresh (1RS, 1 True)
Now, you see as well as I do that the only real difference other than Logan Gray is that by 2013, we have 2 of every class at QB. What I like about this variation is that it creates a measure of consistency. By 2014, LeMay will be a Redshirt Junior and would be fully ready to take the reigns, assuming he hadn't beaten out Murray along the way. Now, do I believe we'll be able to keep so many quarterbacks in the fold? No.
I think that along the way, at least one of this season's invited walk-ons will disappear. These guys will be pushing themselves, but as a walk-on, you arrive behind the eight ball. They are automatically 3rd-at-best on the depth chart, and will have to push hard to beat Hutson Mason for that spot. If one does, he will know that he holds it for a few months...until LeMay arrives in January of 2011 (he's said he's enrolling early).
If Gray moves to WR, then the better of the two walk-ons will have a roster spot through the 2011 season, as LeMay has also said he plans to Redshirt. That is, of course, unless another highly-touted QB comes in and pushes for the third-in-line spot. Then of course, there's always the possibility of a kid who believes he's the 2nd coming getting fed up with the competition, and moving on elsewhere. I don't think that will be the case with LeMay, but if another QB comes in with him, the 2nd one may bolt. Hutson Mason could vanish if he were to get beat-out by a walk-on this fall, or if he felt that he'd never take over for Murray due to LeMay's abilities.
There are so many possibilities for the future of the QB position at UGA, but it all starts with Murray staying healthy this season (assuming he stays ahead of Gray, assuming that Gray stays at QB, and at UGA).
But, it certainly doesn't appear that we'll be running into this "no QBs with experience" situation again anytime soon.
Did I write that same line a few years ago? God, I hope not.
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Things rarely happen exactly as planned.
I hope AM is the QB whom we all hope he is but what happens if he isn't?
Maybe Lemay plays early or splits time?
Lots of interesting scenarios
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