Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Respect and Aaron Murray

via
Yesterday Corbindawg laid out some pretty good reasons why we should be proud of our quarterback. Closing in on a list that includes some big time SEC legends is impressive. And there's no reason (outside of injury really) to think that Aaron Murray won't surpass David Greene in yards and touchdowns. His coach has raised the bar in terms of completion percentage, and thus far Murray has nearly hit that mark. Back in May I compared Greene and Murray's careers in terms of Greene being the last quarterback we've had with as much experience as Murray has. Just three games into the season, our guy is well ahead of Greene's marks in 2003 as a redshirt junior.

Indeed, two of the areas Murray gets criticized for the most are two of the things he has the least control over: the schedule and his height. (And yes, we'll get to the interceptions in a moment). It's true that Murray is still looking for that big time win. That moment when he gets that one signature play by which he will always be remembered. 

For Greene it was the lofted pass to Michael Johnson on the Plains. What will it be for Murray? I would circle the trip to Columbia as the biggest matchup left. But there could be a moment on the Plains again this year where the SEC East is on the line. After getting treated like a sock puppet there two years ago, how sweet would that be?

Down to brass tacks though, Murray is an emotional leader. He's put up touchdowns by the boatload and seems prone for the inopportune mistake at the same time. Even Saturday night when there was no reason to take any chance whatsoever he lofted one into the endzone that had a minimal chance at getting caught. It was a freshman type mistake from a redshirt junior. But it was a very minor blip on a radar full of highlights. It was the lone outlier on what was Murray's best performance as a Bulldog.

So what I'd like to do is check in every few weeks on how Murray is doing. Is he earning more respect? Has he cut down on costly mistakes? Perhaps most importantly, does he have that signature moment in that signature win yet? (And I'll be doing the same with Coach Bobo incidentally, starting tomorrow.) I'm looking to use mostly statistical data complimented by some anecdotal observations each time. For Murray I want to look at his rating, yards per attempt and percentage of interceptions and touchdowns (ie. INTs divided by total attempts). So here's our starting point:

Year
Rating
Yards per attempt
Int %
TD %
2012
180.16
10.5
2.5
10
2011
146.41
7.8
3.5
8.6
2010
154.48
8.9
2.3
7


Observations:

  • First and foremost, terrific start for Murray. There've been some protection issues early with the new offensive line. But his footwork is much improved and there is an obvious comfort level with his receivers.
  • The competition has been weak, and untested in the case of Missouri.
  • Would love to see what more rollouts and waggles did for Murray's production. He's fleet of foot and is underused in that regard. If things were covered down field on a rollout, I bet there'd be plenty of room to run.
  • The Missouri win was a big road test for the early season, but there was no defining moment and it doesn't come close to a signature win.
Perhaps we'll explore that moving the pocket bullet in Bobo's post. But for now this is what we have three games in for Aaron Murray. He's not only one of the team's greatest leaders off the field and in practice, he also is doing just that on the field. I'm eager to see what he can do with the meat of the SEC schedule.

*all stats courtesy of cfbstats.com