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Post Prepare to see Hutson Mason on Saturday

Tuesday August 31, 2010

Seth Emerson’s doing a fine job on the Hutson Mason watch, so I respect his opinion that “the team will try to go as far as it can this year without having to burn (Mason’s) redshirt.” He’s obviously closer to the situation than I am. It just makes little sense to me why a redshirt is even still on the table. I know I’m beating this into the ground, but it’s a very important role on this team, and the quarterback position is one of the biggest question marks on the offense this year.

We already know that Mason would get the call if Murray were to get injured. So the only question now is whether or not to burn the redshirt and play Mason in the situations when you’d expect a backup to take over.

Mark Schlabach nails the answer: “Richt has to play him. Can’t risk no experienced backup QB if Murray goes down.”

Every coach struggles with the opportunity cost of redshirting players. Jim Donnan has probably second-guessed himself a dozen times about not playing David Greene in 2000. Having Knowshon in 2006 would have been nice. But there’s also the risk of wasting a year of eligibility with a few garbage minutes as a freshman which would cost the team a possibly productive redshirt senior.

It might be unfair to Hutson Mason’s hypothetical potential four years from now, but the team has an immediate need for him to play. Marc Weiszer followed up by noting that Logan Gray has been working strictly at receiver. He’s simply not prepared to play quarterback in any meaningful capacity. Garbage time against Louisiana-Lafayette might not prepare Mason for the situation of coming off the bench in a key SEC game, but it would still be infinitely more game experience than he has now and would have if the redshirt remains an option. Of course we’d rather Mason be able to redshirt, but the coaches can’t wait until the instant that Murray is unable to go before they start preparing their contingency.

Georgia won’t lack for QB depth any time soon. Even if Murray develops into a viable pro prospect as soon as next year, he doesn’t have the prototypical size that would make him a sure thing to leave. Christian LeMay is on his way in next year. Richt’s track record suggests he won’t have any problem finding yet another quality quarterback prospect or two over the next three to four years.

There’s also the Logan Gray angle to consider. He obviously wants to play receiver. He won’t start. The best chance for him to get on the field is pretty much the same time you’d expect the backup QB to start getting snaps. Coaches might maintain that Gray could still see time at QB, but consider how little sense that makes: you’d be moving a guy who’s prepared all summer at one position to another position at which he’s received zero preparation and practice for months.

The other alternative is to play Murray the entire game. With the depth situation as thin as it is, of course the coaches won’t take that risk if the lead is sufficient. We’ll see a backup. It will be Hutson Mason.

2 Responses to 'Prepare to see Hutson Mason on Saturday'

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  • Agreed. I don’t know why it’s even a point of discussion. A coaching staff hoping to play one quarterback the entire year just so Hutson Mason won’t burn a year of eligibility would be a staff grasping at the thinnest of straws. While we’re at it, why not just go for it on fourth down every time.

  • Play Mason. With LeMay coming in, and the option of having at least 3 years with Murray to get a replacement if he doesn’t pan out, I would burn it for sure. Thank God Donnan didn’t burn Greene’s though.