Mark Richt has coached some marquee quarterbacks during his 12 years at Georgia with David Greene, D.J. Shockley and Matthew Stafford jumping immediately to mind.
But as good as those former Bulldogs were, Richt said Tuesday there's one area that current signal-caller Aaron Murray[/db[ has them all beat.
"I don't know if we've given a guy more responsibility than Aaron," Richt said. "We haven't. (Matthew) Stafford certainly had a lot of leeway in what he did and he was a very good student of the game as well, but I think we've just added a few more things to put on the quarterback. He just pays the price that I haven't seen many guys pay."
Richt isn't kidding.
According to Murray, his average week consists of six hours in the film room every Sunday and between two and three hours every day that follows.
"That's something I've always prided myself on is to try and out-work everyone else. I've often used the analogy if you're going to get ready for a test, how do you want to feel heading into that test?" Murray said." Do you want to go in feeling like you prepared or do you want to go in feeling, "oh man, I wish I would have studied more or read that extra chapter. I never want to have that feeling come Saturday. I want to know come Saturday that I know their defense, the game plan, that I know my checks, I know my progressions and I feel confident. I don't want to go into a game not feeling confident and not feeling ready to go."
So far, it's hard to argue with the results.
In his 20 wins as a starter, Murray has 69 touchdown passes to go along with 11 interceptions, and is the active league leader in total offense (7,569), completions (516) and passing yards (7,290).
Last week against Vanderbilt, Murray pulled within three touchdown passes of Greene's Georgia record of 72.
"Usually if it's an earlier game on Saturday I like to get in and watch the film after the game, so if it's a 3:30 game or a noon game, I'll come back, get an ice bath then come back and watch that game where it's fresh in my mind," he explained. "With night games, I don't want to be here until 1, so I go home and get to the BM about 1:30 or 2, and I'll stay to about 7 p.m. The more we get into the season that will probably go longer because I'll have more film. But I try to get a base knowledge and the rest of the week is to work on different segments of their defense."
For the year, Murray is 69 of 104 for 1,150 yards with just 10 touchdowns and only two interceptions.
Richt says that's what total dedication will do.
"He's an outstanding student, first of all. So he just finds time to take care of the schoolwork, and then he finds time to take care of studying this game plan and putting the extra time in," Richt said. "I know he's here on Sundays, and he's probably here when I'm not looking."
Wide receiver [db]Michael Bennett, who leads Georgia in receiving with 21 catches for 275 yards and two touchdowns, could only shake his head.
"He's got some weird study habits when it comes to being a quarterback. He's here all the time. He puts a weird amount of hours in here; I could never play quarterback but good for him," Bennett said. "He's pretty much all football."
Murray's efforts certainly paid off against the Commodores.
The native of Tampa, Fla. completed the first 12 passes he attempted, which is No. 3 on Georgia's all-time list behind the 15 straight completed by Quincy Carter (1998 vs. LSU) and Eric Zeier (1993 vs. Georgia Tech).
He's not shy about spreading the wealth, either.
Fifth-ranked Georgia has had three different receivers - Marlon Brown, Bennett and Tavarres King - go over 100 yards, with Brown doing so two occasions, including last Saturday against the Commodores when he grabbed five passes for 114 yards and a score.
"Aaron's just very passionate about it. He loves it," King said. "He wants to succeed and he wants everyone to succeed around him. He just wants to be the best."
Even if it doesn't leave him much time for anything else, Murray laughed.
"I'm an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of guy," he said. "I'm in bed between 10 and 11. There's not a lot of time to socialize."
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