Aaron Murray won't lie.
Yes, it certainly does feel a bit different now that he knows his name will adorn the top of Georgia's depth chart at quarterback heading into preseason drills.
"It does feel different. No matter, I'm now looked upon as a leader even though I'm a young guy," Murray said Friday during a teleconference with reporters. "I know everybody, players on this team included, will be looking at me. They want to see if I'm ready, if I'm willing to go out and work my butt off, watch extra film sessions and do extra drills even though I'm young. They want to see if I'm willing to work hard and not let them down once the season begins."
Murray doesn't plan on letting anyone down.
Already, the Tampa, Fla. native is looking ahead to June when he will help lead the summer voluntary workouts.
From a knowledge standpoint, Murray feels he's comfortable with the Bulldogs' offensive scheme.
"I think I know it pretty well. I feel extremely confident, but I'm going to make sure I know the playbook inside and out so it will become second nature," he said. "But I also intend to use the summer to learn all the terminology used by the offensive line; I want to know exactly what the running backs and what the wide receivers are doing. I want to learn as much as I can so I'll know exactly what they are doing at all times."
Murray laughed that his cell phone has been ringing non-stop and the texts have been flying in since head coach Mark Richt announced Georgia's depth chart Thursday afternoon.
Besides calls from family and friends, Murray said he fielded his share of congratulations from classmates and students just walking to and from class Friday.
"I just tell everybody that I'm just No. 1 for the spring, and that it doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to be the starting quarterback for the season-opener," he said. "I've got a lot more to do, but I'm glad they're happy that I'm doing well right now."
After a sub-par performance in G-Day, many wondered if Murray had taken a step back in his effort to become Georgia's starting QB.
Apparently not: Even with the dismissal of Zach Mettenberger, Richt said Thursday that Murray would still have topped the depth chart, based on his performance during the team's other two scrimmages and practices during the spring.
"I was a little bit amped up," said Murray, who completed 9-of-22 passes for 96 yards with one interception. "It was not my best day, but the coaches took the spring as a whole and how I performed in the other scrimmages and based their decision on that. It was just a spring game. I'm just thankful it wasn't the regular season, because now I can go back and watch film and work on what I need to so I won't make the same mistakes."
On-field mistakes aren't the only ones Murray will look to avoid.
After watching what happened to Mettenberger, Murray said he'll remain ever vigilant to make sure he doesn't ever find himself in a similar position.
"You have to always be particularly careful how you act in public and around people because as football players, everybody knows who you are," Murray said. "But it's something that comes with the territory. You always have to be careful because you're representing the school as well as your team. You don't want to put yourself in position to shame Georgia or your family. You want to be able to have fun, but you do have to carry yourself different and always be mindful of that."
Murray isn't complaining.
As one of the nation's top-recruited quarterbacks two years ago out of Plant High, Murray's goal has always been to be the starting quarterback for a major university like Georgia.
Now that he's on the verge of getting that opportunity, he he's ready to accept whatever challenges come with the job.
"There's a lot of pressure because Georgia is a big-time program, the kind you grow up dreaming about playing quarterback for," Murray said. "There's a lot of pressure, and I'm sure when I go out there in front of 90,000 screaming fans I'm going to be a little nervous in the huddle. But that's why you prepare all season and work hard to make sure you know your stuff."
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