Sunday, September 8, 2013

Aaron Murray - the best "Bad" QB in NCAA history

...Or, Football Players don't listen to Fans.

17-23 309 yds 4 TDs.  0 Picks.  0 Fumbles.  0 horrible misreads.  0 brain farts.  0 reasons to look for any approval from a fanbase that has called him out as being "unable to win big games."

After a 3-point loss in a hostile environment (read: my 55-10 dream-based prediction is why I don't get paid for this), a multitude of "Dawgfans" heaped the trash-talk onto Murray.  "He just can't win big games" was the common consensus.  They point to the less-than stellar mark against ranked opponents during his tenure.  Readers of this blog know full well the stock I DON'T put in that.  Why?  Because every game is its own experience.  Every game is its own little universe.  The way that UGA played Alabama in the SEC Championship game had no bearing on how it would play Nebraska in the bowl.  Likewise, the UGA beatdown by USCe in Columbia did not show us how the Georgia offense would play for the majority of last season.

It's long been said that a quarterback has to have a short memory.  If he throws an interception, he has to forget about it when he gets back on the field.  He has to just go out there and play.  Most great quarterbacks do just that.  When they make a mistake, they just say "Screw it" and play on.  Why?  Can't change it.  All you can do is play the next play.

Unfortunately, fan bases do not have to master that same skill.  They dig and research and try to find every piece of evidence to predict how a quarterback will/won't perform in the future.  ... OR, they don't Analyze ANYTHING, but instead simply look at W-L numbers (read: Chest-thumping hillbilly screaming "It's the only thing that matters!" - shortly after having a 3-hour argument with a Florida fan about how closely we played them in so many losses that could have gone our way, so Florida obviously wasn't the better team) and claim the quarterback is held responsible for all of it.

Against Clemson, Murray didn't have a banner day.  His two turnovers were definitely part of what prevented a victory.  He had 1 TD on the ground.  He threw another one, but it was taken away.  I don't get to see the wide-angle tape, so I don't know if he had other open receivers for TDs on the day, but Bobo was a bit critical (as Murray was of himself) of some COMPLETED passes that could have gone for more, had they been more accurate.  Still, when your offense gets 35 points, its hard to blame the QB for the loss. It just is.

But, Murray could have listened.  He could have agreed with the rabid fanbase and thought, "They're right.  I just can't do it.  I just can't beat ranked teams.  I just can't win big games.  I mean, there was the Nebraska game last year where I bounced back after throwing a couple of INTs in the 1st half, and there was Florida last year...won that one, and of course the way I sliced up Missouri in their first SEC game, after we had fallen behind..that was pretty good.  And then there were those two pesky top-25 wins against Auburn and Tech my sophomore year.  But yeah, the fans are right.  I should just quit football."  Fortunately, he didn't do that.  Nah, he just went out, led a great game, threw for 300+ for the 9th time in his UGA career.  He tossed 4 TDs for the 9th time in his career.  He beat a top-10 team for the second time in 2 seasons.

I've been critical of Murray in the past.  I've expected more.  After the Clemson loss, I told a friend of mine that his stats and performance aside, a 5-star recruit, 5th year senior, 4th year starter, 2-time SEC Champion can't have simple mental mistakes like NOT WATCHING THE PLAYCLOCK in a game against a top-10 team.  You just can't do that.  But, I have never questioned Murray's courage, tenacity, or ability to make plays.  I HAVE questioned his ability to make decisions.

As he has matured, his decision making has improved.  Bobo and Richt are now allowing him to get out of the pocket more, and we saw against USC how GOOD that can be for UGA.  They trust him to make the right decisions.  As fans, we should as well.  Barring injury, Aaron Murray will hold quite a few UGA and SEC records.  He may even get to hold a Crystal Football.

If that moment comes, I'm sure he'll be willing to start listening to fans.  Because if that moment comes, they'll have nothing but praise for him.  And, many will say, "I've been with you the whole time."  And he'll believe them - because as a Good Quarterback should, he'll have a short memory.

Go Dawgs.

1 comment:

South FL Dawg said...

Nice, nice writeup. Very well put. Go Dawgs!