Thursday, May 24, 2012

David Greene 2003 vs. Aaron Murray 2012

Aaron Murray is entering his fourth season in the offense and his third as a starter. It's been nearly a decade since we have we had a signal caller in this position. David Greene red-shirted in 2000 and was entering his rs-junior year in 2003. To continue with the similarities, he was coming off a season in which he led his team to the SEC Championship game.

And the comparisons may not end there. In 2003 Richt was reinventing his offensive line which was bolstered by talented future NFL draft picks, but thin and exceptionally young. Russ Tanner and Max Jean-Gilles were the returning backups set to be starters. We also had Daniel Inman, Bartley Miller and Josh Brock among a slew of other young and very green players.

If you remember, 2003 was the year Coach Richt's recruiting difficulties for the offensive line really began to rear its ugly head. In '03 the Georgia offensive line surrendered a whopping 45 sacks. Coach Friend was spending his first year as a grad assistant in Athens that season, so I'm sure he remembers it well.

Enough with the history lesson and informational background. Let's compare Greene's stats to Murray's and see what we can take from it.

Pretty clear that Richt was trying to throw the ball more in Greene's junior season than any other. DJ Shockley would've shared more of that load had he not injured his knee that season. We'll get to the reason why Georgia was passing more in a minute. But first I think it's worth more than a glance to notice that despite passing more in '03, Greene had his worst TD/Int ratio that season. Part of that could've been due to lack of faith in the offensive line. Or... could've had to do with the running game. Richt's rushing leaders in 2003 were Michael Cooper and Kregg Lumpkin; two freshmen trying to replace a workhorse that had just carried the team to the GA Dome. And neither back averaged better than 52 yards a game. It was very much a running back by committee approach, one that Richt has used since for the most part. But it was a stark contrast to the previous season when Musa Smith carried the load almost entirely (260 total carries compared to Tony Milton's 82 for the season).

Back to present day, I don't believe the offensive line that tops this off season's "worry list" is nearly as dire as back in 2003. How could it be really? That season and the next set the industry standard for how to develop a patchwork offensive line for trench warfare in the Southeastern conference. But this season's line will have to gel quick. And if Theus is just half the talent we think he might be then that would go a long ways toward solidifying things.

The bottomline has been and always will be how well do you run the football, and how well do you protect it. Murray's stats dwarf Greene's in the first two seasons' comparison. Still, Murray garners a lot of criticism. Much of it unfair to be quite honest. But the one thing most everyone agrees on, from those of us outside the hedges to Coach Bobo up in the booth, #11 has to protect the football. As nice as those 35 touchdown passes were last season, fourteen interceptions is bad. Then add to it eight fumbles, three of which were lost, and you have a turnover margin issue that affects the one numeral that matters most - wins.

So the conclusion is clear, and likely one we've known for some time: like Greene, Murray is plenty experienced and plenty talented. But he can't carry the team. The better the protection and the better the rushing totals, the better the season we'll see from our third year quarterback.

Stats courtesy of the following 
three sites:


Bernie said...

Good work Bernie! I would have liked to have had Musa for one more year. He sure beat up on FSU in the Sugar Bowl.  It was Musa's broken leg in the pro's due to  a horse collar tackle that led the NFL to banning that tackle. 

Bernie said...

Yes, we have a solid running game 2012 and a far easier schedule of just 1 team who achieved any top 25 poll we face; certainly easier than we faced in 2003 and 2004, for example by direct stark contrast.

The OL comparisons are spot-on as well compared to 2003 and 2004, and frankly as pointed out in this blog, it has really been a bubble OL since where we have like we did last season 4 senior starters, 3 of whom are now in the NFL, followed by 2012 us having the fewest returning starts on the OL of any team nationally, again.  Year 11 and here we are same issue again, as noted in this blog.

When I 1st read the headlines, I figured the blog was about David Greene's Record.

42-wins as starting Quarterback and that is within reach for Aaron Murray, although he will have started and played more games.  He is 16-11 at this point, requiring 13-1 doable for 2012 and 13-1 not doable without our entire  defense all gone after 2012 with us facing next season LSU and Alabama.  There just is no way that Aaron Murray will achieve that.

Aaron Murray was our best player 2010.  There was no 2nd best player 2010 by comparison.

2011 proved to be a tough season with Aaron Murray's # 72 nationally pass completion percentage.  His 56 sacks now in 27 games is astronomical.  His 1 yards per carry for 7 carries a game, 27 games, is hard to imagine.  He needs to let his RB run the football; these are the carries that find him fumbling.

Aaron Murray readily admits he doesn't have a marque win yet with his 0-9 record vs teams achieving any top 25 poll in his career.  Note the difference when David Greene beat the vols in 2001 who achieved # 4 nationally in all the polls on the hobnail boot to Verron Haynes.  To-date, Aaron Murray has wins over top 48 Auburn and top 48 Georgia tek both 8-5 and both not ranked in any top 25 poll as his best wins.  No comparison.  And, of course, the better quarterback in his 0-9 vs teams achieving any top 25 poll have ALL been the other quarterback, not Aaron Murray.

David Greene was always a great leader on the field and off.

David Greene was blessed with some great defenses.

Aaron Murray is as well.

David Greene did have Musa Smith.  Caleb King did not in the big games and Isaiah Crowell has not yet in the big games shown up like Musa Smith.

I believe with 3 on the OL last season gone to the NFL now, that the OL in Aaron Murray's career to-date does measure up.  It is year 11 for Mark Richt; so why we have these bubbles of OL last 2 seasons, and then in year 11 of Mark Richt era, no OL returning starters, is troublesome - yes.

Still, the bottom line is, warranted or not warranted, David Greene beat football teams, lead the team on and off it, and well Aaron Murray has not.  Not yet.

2012 will prove this is behind him in going something along the lines of 13-1 as I see it; but, with only 1 opponent all 2012 season who achieved any top 25 poll, there will be this, Aaron Murray has no marquee win.  When he does, he will be 1-10 in marquee games.  That should come against South Carolina, who without his errors, we would've beat last season.  Same for Michigan State, as that bloody fumble by Aaron Murray cost us that game and set the tone for his then interceptions.  LSU well, 10-42 says all there is to say about that game.  And, Boise State too just had the better field general out there by direct comparison than Aaron Murray.  David Greene was always the field general.  We need that the next 2 seasons from Aaron Murray.  He has been given every opportunity to do just that.

Bernie said...

True.  Murray is not even close to David Greene.  Greene could stay composed, while Murray gets "the look".  For Richt's style, Mettenberger was the man.  People say it doesn't, but Murray's height hurts him.  Greene was alot bigger than folks realize.
I hope Will Friend is a great coach and recruiter.  I am still wondering why Richt brought him in.  Van Gorder and now Grantham have been the two reasons Mark Richt is still in Athens.  Mark Richt, just like FSU can't beat teams of lower quality and less talent.  He just can't beat teams that have more talent, and has become the guy who can't put lesser teams away.   Georgia's losses to UCF and Michigan State are unexcusible.  Who is there to give Murray a run?  Mason? Lemay was to be the guy, the next Shockely.  The boy will turn out to be qb equivalent of Mario Railey.  Trouble with the playbook and carries the ball away from his body.  
So tired of people talking about these recruits.  Damn it, wait until they beat Bama and LSU before they get crowned with greatness.

Bernie said...

Aaron Murray has won less games against teams that finish top 25 than Connor Shaw. AJ has also beat ranked teams.  Murray is 0-9 vs. teams that finish top 25. 75% of Murray's yards in 2011 were against teams with 6 wins or less. 12 of his 16 wins were against teams with 6 wins or less. Murray is 4-10 vs. winning teams. Murray ranked LAST in the conference in INTERCEPTIONS, SACKS, and was 59% accurate.

Guess Bernie's impressed with Murray's resume', built on beating up on cupcakes like New Mexico State.

Bernie said...

Let's compare Aaron Murray to Hutson Mason, oops, Hutson beat him over the Spring in td's and yards. Murray's not the best on his team, he's not the best in the East (that's Shaw), he's not the best in the SEC (that's Tyler Wilson), he's among the worst to ever play QB for UGA in big games.

Bernie said...

Thank you Todd.

Bernie said...

Well, Aaron Murray threw 5 TD passes against Louisiana Lafayette.

Be happy.