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’Dog QB only sees win total

’Dog QB only sees win total

Posted: Friday, October 7, 2011 7:02 pm

By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — The stats are similar to a year ago.
That’s just fine with Aaron Murray.
The only numbers the Georgia quarterback cares about are wins and losses.
At this point in 2010, the Bulldogs were hobbling along at 1-4. The team never really recovered from the poor start, finishing with its first losing record since 1996 even though Murray put up some lofty numbers for a redshirt freshman.
This season, Georgia (3-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) has bounced back from another sluggish start with three straight wins. More important, the Bulldogs are right in the thick of the SEC East race, tied for first with Florida and South Carolina.
As long as his team keeps winning, Murray will be content putting up numbers that are similar to last year, even if that leads some to question whether his progress has stalled as a sophomore.
“We’re winning more, so that’s definitely better than it was last year,” he said.
From one season to the next, Murray’s numbers are eerily similar through five games. He’s thrown three more passes. He’s completed three more. He’s passed for exactly the same amount of yards (1,100). His touchdowns are up (from eight to 13), but it’s a bit troubling that his interceptions have gone up significantly, too, doubling from three to six.
In fact, Murray isn’t too far away from the eight picks he had all of last year.
“There’s definitely been a couple of throws here and there I wish I could take back,” he said. “But I think my maturity level — understanding defenses and the playbook — has definitely increased since last year. As a quarterback, I’m definitely better.”
Coach Mark Richt said a leaky offensive line had caused some of Murray’s problems. Georgia already has given up 13 sacks, and the quarterback has been hit plenty of times after rushing to get the ball off.
“We need to protect the passer better,” Richt said. “Aaron has made a lot of tremendous plays with people breathing down his neck. A lot of times, as soon as he releases the ball, he’s getting hit right in the mouth.”
It’s not like teams are blitzing the Bulldogs relentlessly, either. Richt is most concerned about those plays when there’s a blocker for every rusher, but someone still breaks through.
Murray is the unquestioned leader of the offense, and the Bulldogs are counting on him to provide a steadying influence Saturday when they face Tennessee (3-1, 0-1) in front of more than 100,000 fans at Neyland Stadium.
Georgia has been blown out on its last two trips to Knoxville.
A solid performance by Murray could reverse that trend and keep the Bulldogs in the running for a division title.
Published in The Messenger 10.7.11

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