If you look back during Richt's tenure there have been few (true) competitions for the starting quarterback role. His first five seasons he had Greene and/or Shockley. In 2008 and 2009 he had Stafford entrenched as the starter. From 2011-2013 we had the height of Murray's reign. Last season there was much debate among us outside the arena, but there was never much question that Mason was the guy.
That leaves these years:
- 2006. Was a true competition, but one that was more about how quickly Stafford could pick up the playbook as well as the speed of the game at this level.
- 2009. Actually very similar to last August in that fans debated about how much Logan Gray might be used and whether Murray/Mett might avoid a redshirt, but it all ended with little doubt that Joe Cox was entrenched as the starter.
- 2010. A very real competition between Murray and Mett ended in a Remerton bar before it gained a full head of steam. There may have been some talk about Mason entering the mix, but Murray was the guy.
So this is just Richt's fourth August with an open battle on the QB depth chart. He said yesterday he was ready for the "zoo to be over", which to me speaks to the importance of whomever he and Schottenheimer elevated to the starter needed as few distractions as possible. Given that this topic has been running its course since December 31st, "zoo" may not have been a strong enough analogy for what might have ensued over the next few days prior to kickoff.
How this competition was handled - from spring reps, to Park leaving, to pursuing a graduate transfer, to naming said transfer the opening game starter - is a debate for another day. The key to this season, at least in terms of the quarterback, may be how Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta handle being veterans to the campus but second fiddle to the huddle yet again.
And really, who better to empathize with that feeling than Mark Richt and Brian Schottenheimer.