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Post Why Hutson Mason has to play this year

Friday August 6, 2010

Will Hutson Mason redshirt? Mason has done just fine so far, but all of the caveats about a true freshman in his first preseason camp apply. Seth Emerson asked Mark Richt yesterday “whether they’d still try to avoid burning Hutson Mason’s redshirt.” Richt’s response was about what you’d expect: it’s still way too soon to tell.

I can’t say that there’s even a question here. Mason has to play this year. There’s no need to worry about a redshirt: Aaron Murray will have three to four years under center, and VHT Christian LeMay is on his way in next year. Mason could of course make the competition interesting years from now, but this is very much a situation where Georgia can afford to have a short-term outlook. with Logan Gray moving to receiver, the need is there now to develop a permanent option at #2 QB.

It’s also too soon yet to know what Richt would do if he had to turn to a backup in a game. “It would just depend on how far (Mason) progresses as we go,” Richt said. “I hope we don’t have to worry about that.” Me too. Whether that answer turns out to be Gray or Mason, Georgia is going to be in bad shape at quarterback if Murray suddenly becomes unavailable. You’ll either have a raw true freshman getting his feet wet, or you’ll have a rusty junior with little game experience who has done none of the prep work. Which poison do you pick?

I cast my vote with Mason back in May under one very obvious condition:

If Mason – and of course this is a big condition – shows a fair amount of competence in August, he just about has to be named the #2. I’d take an inexperienced guy who’s in the meetings and getting the reps every day over someone more familiar with the playbook whose repetitions and preparation are mostly at another position. It’s not just a matter of Gray stepping back in to QB if the need arises; even ARod needs to take batting practice and stay sharp. Either way, here’s hoping the backup QB is an afterthought this year.

Richt downplays that concern by noting Gray’s experience and intelligence and reminding us “he’s not gonna forget how to throw the ball.” That’s true, but he’s also not going to have a clue about the defense he’s facing. The only scenario in which Gray might be a better choice is if the need to go to the backup is determined early enough in the week for Gray to have some practice reps and go through the quarterback position meetings and prep. Otherwise I’ll stick with the raw but focused and prepared freshman over someone relying on muscle memory – this is playing quarterback in the SEC, not riding a bicycle.

Ideally, Georgia will blow past the 25.5 point line in the season opener, and Richt will have some considerable garbage time with which to play. Who comes off the bench to spell Murray? That would be the perfect time to play Mason. It’s not going to instantly prepare him for the big time in Columbia, but it would be the start of building that experience he’ll need if the question of a replacement comes up down the road. You’d also expect to play Mason in that scenario because that’s the exact same time Gray should be getting his first significant game experience at receiver. Gray isn’t likely to be anywhere near the first team for a while, and he’s not spending all this time working at receiver just to be switched back to QB when the second team goes in.

5 Responses to 'Why Hutson Mason has to play this year'

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  • I agree. He must play in case Murry turns out to the a Joe C or Joe T with regard to ability. If Murray is fine, he still needs to play as we do not want to have the same situation as when DJ hurt his ankle and we had to go to a backup who had never played. We keep repeating the past mistakes.

  • Dead on, no need at all to waste the RS by sitting Mason this year. The UGA offense is deep, and talented, at all positions except QB. Absolutley necessary to get Mason some live action, we are one play away from needing him to play a role. With the talent surrounding him, he doesn’t haave to carry the load, just manage it. The OL will allow our talented RBs to run successfully, and give our QBs time for play action to a strong receiving corp with play action should opponents stack the box. We just need to get the “deer in the headlights” look out of our freshman’s eyes and ULL should provide that opportunity. Let’s take advantage of every chance we get to get Mason into the game.

  • The offensive line performance and timing of any needed backup option will play a factor. If our O line play is average without a true push up front, then L Gray maybe better suited early in the season. Once we get to the mid point of the season, yes it is time for Mason to be the option. if O Line performs in the manner I beleive they will, the decison is simply, Mason should be the clear 2nd option.

    Our third down situations will be reveal alot about our qb and line play. Particularly 3rd down with 4 or more yards needed will be a key stat.

    Patience with the run game need to be established this year. The theory of a balanced offensive attach is an exercise in futility. Coach Searels wants a dominant O line. That is hard to create if you are pass blocking 50% of the time. Dominant line play is created by run blocking.

  • Excellent, as always.

    We have failed to follow this rule of preparing our Quarterback in 2006, in 2009 and now again in 2010. Should Aaron Murray continue his injuries, and there is ever reason to suspect that not only from Coach Richt’s comments here and from previous experience but because of his size, whom will it be we have prepared for 2011 ?

    Just Aaron Murray ?

    Note please that we WASTED the Spring Practice playing Logan Gray at # 1 at least half the time. Aaron Murray was already way behind the 8-ball in gaining experience being injured when he showed up by a small linebacker in high school tackling him breaking his leg and ankle injury. Then, last season, he threw his arm out in Fall Practice last year missing 21 practices in the Fall. Then he got only about half this Spring splitting time at # 1 with Logan Gray.

    We are idiots at getting our Quarterbacks prepared. There was for example no reason NOT to play Zach Mettenberger in game 1 on the road at Okie State. Could he have possibly done worse than chronic sore shoulder Joe Cox who also by the way had the flu and had to be flown to the game in a private charter.

    We have an excellent chance of making hay this season, after which we lose 15 seniors and 4-5 juniors. The lone question is Quarterback. The way you do something about that, as you point out, is to play Hutson Mason in Game 1.

    Frankly, it doesn’t matter what the score is.

    This is the worst preseason ranking for us in the entire Coach Richt Era, and it is because of QB. The Defense and Special Teams are obviously great and the offense should be with 10 of 11 returning starters.

    For this 1 year window.

    Not riding a bicycle

  • I am not convinced that Christian LeMay will not suffer the same consequences for the same offense as Michael Grant with UGA Admissions.