August 5, 2010

Richt discusses backup QB plans

So, what would Mark Richt do if the unthinkable happened and starting quarterback Aaron Murray was forced to miss some time?

Right now, the Bulldog head coach said it's just too early to tell.

Although Richt has been impressed with Hutson Mason, he couldn't say whether he'd turn to the true freshman or go back to Logan Gray, currently seeing full-time action at wide receiver.

"We just want him (Mason) to get as ready as possible and God forbid if something happens to Aaron, we would just have to gauge what would be better for right now," Richt said after practice Thursday. "Would it be Logan Gray, who has had three years in the system at QB, but hasn't had many reps of late, or a true freshman who has done a pretty good job of picking it up? I don't know what would be the best at this point. I guess it would just depend on how far he progresses as we go. I just hope we don't have to make that choice."

One thing is for certain. Richt said that Mason will continue working with the No. 2 unit, while Gray continues his work with the wide receivers.

Although Richt has not ruled out Gray getting some reps at quarterback before the end of preseason, it doesn't appear that will be the case.

But even if he doesn't take any snaps during camp, Richt said that would not preclude him from turning to Gray if need be.

"I know he could do it. He's certainly not going to forget what to do; he'd be rusty, certainly," Richt said. "If something happened mid-season and it was emergency situation and he hadn't thrown a ball, it might be a little tough. But he's a very good athlete and he's very smart. I don't think he'd forget how to throw the ball for that matter, so I think he'd be fine.

"I never went into this thing thinking we couldn't put him back at quarterback if we needed to."

Richt was equally unsure on whether he would consider redshirting Mason assuming Murray makes it through the season unscathed.

"I'll just say this. I don't know what we're going to do yet. It's so early. I don't know what we're going to do," he said. "I just know we'll do what's best."

Richt admits the former Lassiter standout has opened his eyes, not only with the way he is throwing the football but the leadership he's shown in the huddle while running the second-team offense.

"He's been impressive, he really has. Not many true freshmen can jump in the huddle and call the plays, make the checks at the line of scrimmage and do it with a pretty good amount of confidence and execution," Richt said. "When you're measuring it as a true freshman, he's pretty good. If you're measuring it as a third-year guy, it's like 'Why did he do that?' But he's done a really nice job of getting prepared this summer to where he can function. You've got to have a No. 2 quarterback to run your offense, to give everybody quality reps. He's doing that."

Richt said Gray's route running and receiving skills have surprised him as well.

Earlier this week, star wideout A.J. Green commented on how smooth the Missouri native was looking at his new position, a fact Richt agreed with Thursday.

"I like what I've seen out of Logan Gray. He's running his routes pretty well for not having a lot of reps, I know he did it all summer without us watching, so maybe that's why it's a little surprising to me. I think if maybe I had seen him all summer long, I might have seen the progression of it. But he did a good job this summer of preparing himself for camp," Richt said. I'm impressed that he's this far along this quickly. He seems to catch the ball well, he has not been afraid to block out there. He's done a good job at blocking which he hasn't had to do much so far of his career in football. "

Banks back, working hard

Richt said that senior safety Quintin Banks is finally healthy after being injured for most of his Bulldog career.

It's just too bad Georgia's depth at the position is so deep.

"We've got a lot of guys who are working hard and he is one of them," Richt said. "This is his best chance to play that he's had from a health standpoint, but we've got a lot of good safeties back there."

Heat takes its toll

Georgia practiced for two-and-a-half hours in shorts and shoulder pads Thursday, but ran into some trouble with the heat index, which reached triple digits for the third straight day.

"I would say the heat jumped on us today," Richt said. "It was probably the hottest day and the fact that it's the fourth day. Toward the end there, they didn't give in but it was tough. A lot of guys were battling through," Richt said. "A lot of guys were maybe thinking about giving in. There were probably a couple of guys who did give in."

Ultimately, however, Richt says the opportunity to practice in the current conditions is probably a good thing.

"It's tough to maintain the tempo and the energy we've had to this point every day, especially in this heat and being on field turf," Richt continued. "It's probably 10-15 degrees hotter on field turf than it is on a grass surface. That will probably pay dividends when we play on grass. I still see good things happening."

This and that

Tanner Strickland (shoulder), Chad Gloer (hamstring) and Kenarious Gates (cramps) sat out practice Thursday. … Once again, Richt praised the Ogletree brothers - Alec and Alexander - who continue to make big strides at safety and fullback, respectively. … Trinton Sturdivant had his left knee iced during the early part of practice but Richt said that practice was routine and said he's continuing to progress well.

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