To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice on March 20, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day. We begin our analysis today with quarterbacks. On Tuesday we will look at the running backs.
2011 starter (stats): Aaron Murray, Jr. (238-for-403, 3,149 yards, 35 TD, 14 INT)
Key losses: None.
New faces: Bauta completed high school early in order to enroll in January and participate in spring practice -- a common practice for Georgia quarterback signees.
Spring goal: Murray is obviously Georgia’s starter after setting a UGA single-season record for touchdown passes last season, but the Bulldogs need to begin settling a pecking order behind him.
The coaching staff’s stated goal is to let Mason redshirt this season in order to build class separation between Mason and Murray. That leaves Bauta and LeMay -- neither of whom has taken a snap in a college game -- to battle it out for the chance to be Murray’s top backup in 2012.
Worth watching: It will be interesting to see who makes a move. The coaching staff will likely wait until preseason practice before it begins making decisions on the quarterback depth chart, but this is the first round of a position battle that figures to last well after this season.
The Bulldogs already have a commitment from one of the top quarterback prospects in 2013, Brice Ramsey (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County), so the depth chart will only become more crowded next year -- particularly if Murray stays around for his senior season. One of his backups can really help his cause for the future by outplaying the other contenders this spring.
Area of concern: An injury to Murray would justifiably create alarm inside and outside the program. Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have publicly professed their faith in Mason as an SEC-caliber player, but he has appeared in only eight games in mop-up duty -- and he’s by far the team’s most experienced backup.
Position grade: B-plus. Murray is an All-SEC player and could pop up on some Heisman Trophy watch lists, but he is the only quarterback on the roster who has played in high-pressure situations.