March 2, 2012

Murray focused on results

Aaron Murray isn't na´ve.

He realizes college football is often a "show me" world, one where results are not only expected, but demanded on a weekly basis.

Welcome to life as a quarterback in the SEC.

Despite setting a Georgia record with 35 touchdown passes, Murray hasn't been immune from his share of criticism.

After throwing 14 interceptions - including four pick-six throws - Murray's turnover ratio last fall is something the rising junior knows he has to correct when spring practice begins in three weeks.

"Obviously, I wasn't as accurate as I needed to be," Murray said. "You can look back at a couple of games where I threw some bad interceptions, so I need to improve on that, too."

Better footwork, he said, would help.

"There were times last year where Coach (Mike) Bobo and I would talk where I rushed my footwork, maybe got out of the pocket a little too early and maybe didn't slide up and slide around the pocket maybe as smoothly as I needed to be," Murray said. "That's the first thing; the biggest is having your feet set, being able to maneuver around the pocket and get in position to throw the football."

Those were just some of the responses Murray offered up to questions during a 15-minute session with beat writers Thursday to preview the upcoming spring practice, which the quarterback knows will have a strong bearing on the success the Bulldogs hope to have this fall.

Q - What is the general mindset of the team heading into spring practice? Is there a motto you guys are carrying around?

A - "We haven't really talked about last season at all. First couple of weeks went back and watched the games, but I think after that pretty much everyone has put the season behind them. It's all about developing the potential we have for this season."

Q - What are some of the differences you are seeing with the resumption of Mat Drills?

A - "If you get two A's you don't have to do up-downs again. The first week, Sanders (Commings) was the only one, the second week it was me and (Alec) Ogletree and (last Wednesday) there was about 15-20 guys with two or more A's who didn't have to do up-downs again."

Q - Can Malcolm Mitchell handle playing both wide receiver and cornerback?

A - "I know he's a competitor, I know he's in great shape and skill-wise I know he can go out there and play cornerback. He plays DB all the time when we don't have enough. If we have enough receivers he'll just go out and play DB. He's locked down at DB and it's really pretty amazing. David Andrews was getting mad, it's just not fair, he's good at everything and he really is."

Q - What have you seen from Justin Scott-Wesley?

A - "I'm excited. Justin has been coming over once, maybe twice a week to throw with us in between track practice and he looks great. He looks faster, he looks smoother with his routes and that's a big thing for him. For a lot of freshmen, and it's not just receivers, everybody is very technical, worried about their footwork and worried about the right amount of distance you have to run around. But he's fluidly running it and doing what needs to be done."

Q- How worried are you about the offensive line?

A - "I think everyone has put them under the radar, worried about them, but those guys have been working hard. You could tell last year going against our defense during the season. We go 1s vs 2s during the season and Hutson (Mason) would pretty much have to get the ball and get it right away. But you could see throughout the season, Hutson getting more and more time to throw the ball and by the time we got to bowl practice, those guys were giving him plenty of time to throw the ball against some of the best defensive guys in the country."

Q - How do the young linemen who received just a little playing time appear?

A - "Those guys who were the twos definitely got better, just being able to compete against guys like Cornelius (Washington), Jarvis (Jones), Abry (Jones) and (John) Jenkins. They definitely pushed them. They got better and they're ready to go. Guys like Andrews, and Watts (Dantzler), Austin (Long), those guys are ready to step up and compete for a starting job this spring. The new guy - (Mark) Beard - looks awesome. He's a very impressive looking dude. We've got plenty of guys; we've just got to figure out who is going to go where."

Q - Who will play left tackle?

A - "I love that position. We've got a lot of guys I think who can move in there during spring and see who is going to get that spot. We've got Austin, Watts … Kenarious (Gates) can play tackle. I think Beard is more of a right tackle but I think they're going to put him out there and see what he can do. Its open tryouts, but we've got three or four guys who can play the position, do the best job and not get me killed."

Q - Arthur Lynch is your roommate, how do you see him developing now that Orson Charles and Aaron White are no longer with the team?

A - "He's worked hard. He's been through some hard times, not sure if he wanted to stay or leave, if this was the right spot for him, but he's stayed through it, stuck it out and he's looking great right now. I think weight-wise he's feeling great. He's at 255-256 right now, he looks great running his routes; I know he's very excited. Every night he's like 'I just want to get to practice, I want to get to practice.' He's ready to go and I think he's going to show what he has."

Q - Do you expect a more consistent year from the running backs?

A - "They know what's at stake because when you get down, I think we're going to have six or seven guys and any one of them can start, so you better get your butt going or you might not get on the field next year."

Q - What has been your impression with Faton Batau?

A - "I love that kid. He's a hard worker. That kid has pretty much slept here (at the Butts-Mehre Building). He's always asking me questions. He wants to throw every day, but I'm like save your arm, don't throw it off. But he's a kid who wants to push it to be a success at this level."