That gentle breeze felt throughout the Peach State Monday afternoon was undoubtedly the collective exhale of Georgia football fans relieved that quarterback Aaron Murray only suffered an ankle sprain instead of the break that one local media outlet had reported earlier in the day.
Fortunately for head coach Mark Richt, a right ankle sprain is all it was, and from all indications, Murray will be able to start practice when the Bulldogs kick off spring drills March 10.
That's obviously good news for the Bulldogs, who feel they have one of the country's top young QBs after Murray's outstanding freshman season, which saw him throw for 3,049 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Of course, a sub-par effort in the Liberty Bowl against UCF didn't help Georgia's cause in the Bulldogs' 10-6 defeat. But as Georgia gets set to start its initial on-field preparations for the 2011 campaign, even the most novice Bulldog fans knows that Murray holds the key for whatever success the team enjoys this fall.
Today, UGASports continues its pre-spring position breakdown with a look at the quarterback position.
"I've never been into individual numbers or anything like that," Murray said prior to the Liberty Bowl. "The thing that I'll remember is that we didn't win enough games. I came here to win championships. That's how you're measured as a player."
That said, Murray still believes he needs to get a lot better.
"I still have a lot to improve on," Murray added. "I wasn't always accurate at times. My footwork needs to get better, and I need to get into my progressions faster."
Of course, Murray won't be running the spring show all by himself.
Sophomore Hutson Mason handled himself well in limited action, completing 9-of-17 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.
"He has continued to get better every week, and I have a lot of confidence in him and how he's progressed," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told UGASports in December. "He was going up against the first-team defense a lot, which has helped him. Aaron has rubbed off on him as well as far as how he's prepared."
Freshman Christian LeMay hopes to show what he can do as well.
"His main purpose right now is to be the best that he can be in that weight room. He hasn't played in an entire year in football and we understand there's going to be some rust," Bobo said. "I'm glad he's coming in mid-year because I view that as almost a redshirt season. The only thing he can control is what he can do. He can't worry with what else is going on, he's just got to get better but that's how I'm going to treat him."
Although conventional wisdom suggests LeMay will redshirt with Murray about to enter his sophomore year, Bobo said he hasn't told that to the North Carolina native yet.
"There's going to be competition for every position on this football team and that one is included. The initial responses are this guy is doing a tremendous job in the weight room. He's come in from Day 1, worked extremely hard and made an impression on our players. That's exciting," Bobo said. "I want every guy in that room thinking he's the No. 1 guy. If they're not thinking they're the No. 1 guy, then we've got the wrong dude."
But LeMay isn't na´ve, either.
He knows that Murray is coming off one of the best seasons ever for a freshman QB, but still plans on using this spring to learn as much as he can as quickly as he can.
"Aaron had a great year and everybody who saw him play last year knows that," LeMay said. "I'm just going to go in there and learn from him, try to help the team get better than 6-7, that's for sure."
Walk-ons Parker Welch and Greg Binghamare also back for their second year.
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