March 23, 2012

Murray eyes improvements

In order to get ready for the 2012 campaign, quarterback Aaron Murray has made a personal checklist for the spring regarding three aspects of his game he knows must improve.

Although he set a Bulldog single-season record with 35 touchdown passes on 238-of-403 passing for 3,149 yards, Murray knows there was a lot about his game that didn't meet his standards, nor those of the Bulldog Nation.

Turnovers left a sour taste in the mouth of many, including 14 interceptions (easily the most in the SEC); four of which were returned for opponent touchdowns.

"You've got to put it behind you. You can't go out there thinking 'I can't throw a pick, I can't throw a pick' because that's when you are going to throw a pick. You've got to stay positive," Murray said. "It's that old saying, if you tell someone 'Don't go out there and fumble it and say hey, hold onto the ball firmly' - that's when you usually lose it, so I've tried to put it behind me. I think I'm working on it."

But Murray isn't relying on selective memory alone.

Thanks to his spring checklist, he's now got a list of priorities to incorporate into his game to make sure the same mistakes don't happen again.

"First of all I want to work on my footwork in the pocket," he said. "There were some times last year when I escaped, tried to get out of the pocket too soon and when I was out of the pocket, I couldn't keep my eyes downfield; I just turned and ran and missed a couple of guys."After completing 61.1 percent of his passes as a redshirt freshman, Murray slipped to 59.1 last fall.

"Improve my accuracy is probably No. 2. There were definitely a couple of passes last year where I wasn't as accurate as I needed to be, playing against the best in the SEC you've got to be super accurate," he said. "No. 3 is just to continue to develop my timing with receivers. I need to anticipate them breaking out of cuts and if I do that it will lesson the chance of defenders making a play on the ball."

Otherwise, Murray expects his experience alone will help the game start to slow down.

Considering he's about to enter his third year as starter, it should.

"It comes with the more snaps you get; the game starts to slow down, you see things a little more clearly, recognizing defenses, seeing the safety tilt one way or the other and saying 'OK, the blitz is coming this way or not,'" he said. "When I was a freshman, it was like OK, this is the play and I'm not even looking at the defense. When you can anticipate something coming pre-snap, you're able to know where you're going and the game really starts slowing down."

Mason like what he sees in younger QBs

Although the plan is to redshirt barring an injury to Murray, Hutson Mason said he's practicing just as hard as he ever has.

But he also likes what he sees in both redshirt freshman Christian LeMay and true freshman Faton Bauta.

"From LeMay's perspective, he's getting better every single day. It's about this time, when I was here for a full year, that I really started to grasp everything and it started to slow down," Mason said. "He's been here about a year so you can see the decision making and things he's doing; he's getting better every single day. I think he's got a bright future. He's going to be a talented quarterback to compete with."

Bauta could be in time.

"Faton right now, like every quarterback who comes in at midyear, his head's probably spinning a little bit but he's an extremely bright kid," Mason said. "If you sit in the meeting room with Faton, he picks it up like that. It speaks high of his intelligence for a guy to pick it up that quick because it's going to help him get on the field as soon as possible."

As for Mason, the junior said he's quite a bit more relaxed than he was now that his future is no longer in question.

"I'm sleeping 100 percent better," he said. "I'm in bed every day by 11."

Lindley to give it his all

Most expect that incoming freshman Marshall Morgan will be Georgia's kicker next fall, but senior walk-on Jamie Lindley isn't giving up just yet.

"Ever since I knew that Blair (Walsh) and (Brandon) Bogotay were going to graduate, I knew I'd just have the one year so I really started focusing on kicking field goals, kicking off rather than punting," Lindley said. "I've met Marshall. He's a nice guy, I'm sure he's going to do great, but I look at as that it's my last year and I'm going to leave nothing behind."

Lindley doesn't plan on conceding a thing.

"Right now, I'm kicking field goals really well; I've been working a lot with Ty and some of the holders, and I'm confident in my kickoff abilities," he said. "That's what I was recruited for when I was younger. It's going to be a good competition. I know they're going to use the best man for the job. Hopefully, that's me.

This and that

Georgia did not practice Friday but returns to the field Saturday morning when the Bulldog don the full pads for the second consecutive workout. … Mason had one of the day's funnier quotes during interviews on Thursday. When he mentioned that tight end Arthur Lynch might get a chance at fullback in certain looks, Mason opined "You never worry when Artie's back there if you're going to get smacked from the backside. He's 280 pounds and he's grumpy."