Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray denies fear of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray denies fear of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney

July 19th, 2013 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray talks with reporters during the Southeastern Conference football Media Days in Hoover, Ala., Thursday, July 18, 2013.

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

HOOVER, Ala. - South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney was the most outspoken player at this week's Southeastern Conference media days, bashing Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd on Tuesday for being scared "every time we play them."

Clowney added Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and former Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson to his list of the intimidated before his entertaining turn at the microphone ended. Murray was asked about Clowney's comments on Thursday.

"I think the word fear was misused for respect," Murray said. "I definitely have a lot of respect for him, because he's one of the best players in the country, if not the best. He's a guy you really do have to game plan for and set a plan for.

"So I'm not scared, but I definitely respect him greatly for what he's able to do on the field."

Murray developed a resilient reputation late in his redshirt freshman season, taking several hard shots from Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley during a 49-31 loss to the Tigers in 2010. One of those hits was deemed a personal foul, but Murray bounced back the next game to lead the Bulldogs to a win over Georgia Tech.

"I enjoy getting hit," he said. "I'm not scared of getting hit by anyone, but I'm not worried about who says what or this or that."

Georgia coach Mark Richt joked that he wouldn't want to face Clowney in a game and added that he thought Clowney was just having fun with his comments. Bulldogs tight end Arthur Lynch said Clowney isn't "that much of a horror show" and came to Murray's defense.

"I've known Aaron for a long time now, and if there is one thing Aaron won't shy away from, it's a challenge," Lynch said. "He's not the biggest guy and he's not strongest guy, but he's the most competitive and he's the hardest worker, so he's not afraid of Clowney or anyone else."

Mettenberger's return

LSU senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger grew up near Athens in Watkinsville.

He enrolled at Georgia in January 2009 but was dismissed in the spring of 2010 following his arrest on two misdemeanor charges of sexual battery near Valdosta. Mettenberger and Murray were roommates, but they will square off Sept. 28 when the Tigers visit Sanford Stadium.

"It's going to be great," Mettenberger said. "As a kid, growing up as a Georgia fan and with my mom working there, I always dreamed of playing between the hedges. Now I actually get that opportunity, just wearing purple and gold. The dream has changed a little bit, but I still get to live it."

Mettenberger was asked how he expected to be received.

"They're going to cheer for me," he said with a smile. "They're going to be like, 'Yeah! Go Zach!' Are you kidding? They're going to want to boo the crap out of me. I might get a freaking brick thrown at me.

"It's just going to be like anywhere else when we go on the road. I'm anticipating the worst for sure, but it's still going to be fun going back there."

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said that Mettenberger's mother, Georgia athletic department administrative assistant Tammy Mettenberger, may be able to get the week off before that game if she wants it.

Morgan status unknown

Georgia's starting kicker remains unknown for the Aug. 31 opener at Clemson.

Sophomore Marshall Morgan was arrested on a jet ski earlier this month and charged with boating under the influence. Morgan wasn't very consistent last year, but his 63 extra points set a single-season school standard.

"That's probably going to be closer to a game-day decision," Richt said.

The only Bulldogs player that publicly has been ruled out for the opener is sophomore safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, who admitted to campus police this spring to smoking marijuana.

Odds and ends

Murray said his three or four trips to the golf course this summer were not fruitful, admitting he lost as many as 30 balls. ... Richt made a brief stop in Chattanooga on Wednesday night on his way from a family vacation in Missouri to media days. ... Richt referred to sophomore tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall as "poster boys for collegiate athletics."

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