published Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Georgia blessed with QB succession

  • photo
    University of Georgia photo Georgia fifth-year senior Aaron Murray has added to the quarterback stability the Bulldogs have enjoyed under coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

THREE-HEADED MONSTER

David Greene, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray have accounted for more than 82 percent of Mark Richt's wins in his 12 seasons as Georgia's coach:

QUARTERBACK RECORD

David Greene 42-10

Aaron Murray 28-13

Matthew Stafford 27-7

D.J. Shockley 10-3

Joe Cox 9-5

Joe Tereshinski 2-2

SEC Series

Coming Friday: Kentucky

GEORGIA

Camp start: Aug. 1

Opener: Clemson at Clemson on Aug. 31 (ABC at 8 p.m.)

Fun fact: The Bulldogs had their share of successful halftime adjustments defensively last season, as they allowed an average of 12 points in the first two quarters but only 7.7 in the final two quarters.

The Georgia Bulldogs have won a lot of football games under coach Mark Richt -- 118, to be exact.

They've almost pulled it off with just three quarterbacks.

David Greene, Matthew Stafford and Aaron Murray have combined for 97 of Richt's 118 victories the past 12 seasons, and the dynamic D.J. Shockley contributed 10 as the starter in 2005. Joe Cox won eight games as the '09 starter and won once in the '06 season, which also contained two wins by Joe Tereshinski before Stafford seized the reins as a freshman.

"We run a system that's a lot of fun for quarterbacks to play," Richt said last week at SEC media days. "They're going to learn so much: fronts, coverages, progressions, protections, the run game. When they walk out of our program, they really are ready to get interviewed by a head coach and a GM of a team. They're ready to coach if they choose to do so.

"I think they're also ready to handle any kind of job out in the business world because of their leadership skills, so we've been blessed."

Richt inherited Greene as a redshirt freshman in 2001, and the left-hander went on to compile 42 career victories, which was an NCAA record at that time. After Greene finished in 2004 with two SEC East titles and one league championship, Shockley took over in his fifth year in the system and delivered Richt a second SEC crown.

Shockley's departure resulted in Richt having the lone, brief quarterbacking enigma of his tenure in '06. Tereshinski, Cox, Stafford and Blake Barnes competed in a four-man race that Tereshinski won in August, but Stafford and his arm strength by midseason had prevailed.

Stafford was the starter late in the '06 season when Richt handed play-calling duties over to quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo, who then was promoted to offensive coordinator, and the Bulldogs won 21 games during the 2007 and '08 seasons. The only starting quarterback under Richt to leave early, Stafford was the No. 1 pick of the '09 NFL draft and stands to make at least $92.5 million with the Detroit Lions in his first seven years.

While Cox was having his one year as the starter, Murray was redshirting and eagerly awaiting his time to excel.

"It's all due to coaching," said Murray, who has led the Bulldogs to 22 wins and two East titles the past two seasons. "Coach Richt has done a great job of coaching quarterbacks in his career, and Coach Bobo has had an unbelievable track record with being an offensive coordinator and a quarterback coach. It's just very enticing to know that when you come to Georgia, you're going to have two guys coaching you and not just one.

"You're working with Coach Bobo, but Coach Richt gives you that other pair of eyes to help lead you in the right direction."

Bobo on Wednesday said Murray has become "an extension of our offensive staff."

Murray came the closest to taking Georgia to a BCS championship appearance, as the Bulldogs were 5 yards short of knocking off Alabama last December in the Georgia Dome. He is second in SEC history behind Florida's Danny Wuerffel with 95 career touchdown passes, and he's the first in league annals to throw for 3,000 yards each of his first three years.

With 1,438 yards this season, Murray would become the SEC's all-time passing leader, supplanting Greene and further establishing the stability of quarterbacks under Richt and Bobo.

"Even if you go back to my Florida State days, it was very much the same," Richt said. "At Florida State, guys weren't starting until their fourth or fifth year, so a lot of them were just one- or two-year starters. They were guys who were really ingrained in what we were doing and how we were doing it. If you have success coaching a certain position and training guys at a certain position in a certain way, it just gives a lot of confidence to the guys you are recruiting.

"Mike Bobo certainly needs a lot of credit, because he's really been the guy doing it. Guys trust him, and guys see his track record as a quarterbacks coach and a teacher."

Grantham weighs in

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was asked Wednesday in Athens about the NCAA's stiffer guidelines and penalties for tackling above the shoulders.

"I think it's a good thing for the safety of players," he said. "You still want to play aggressive and physical, because you're trying to protect yourself also. You've got to understand the rule, the target area and how they're going to call it. You can't put your head in the sand and say, 'Don't worry about it,' because it's there and a part of the game.

"You've got to talk about it, because you're talking about something that can happen in one to two seconds. It's a pretty quick decision."

Grantham said the first third of preseason practice will be devoted to developing internally, with the second third focused on opponents throughout the season and the final third on opening foe Clemson.

Odds and ends

Mike Thornton, junior college transfer Chris Mayes and freshman Johnathan Atkins are the top three nose tackles, according to Grantham, with junior college transfer Toby Jackson expected to practice at defensive end. ... Bobo said junior receiver Michael Bennett may still have a brace at the start of August camp and that freshman receiver Tramel Terry would work on a limited basis. ... Bobo hasn't decided whether early enrollee J.J. Green will work at running back or receiver.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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