April 18, 2010

QB's dismissal leaves more questions

Zach Mettenberger may have played quarterback for Georgia this fall; maybe he never would have taken a snap.

What is now certain is that the Bulldogs will enter the 2010 campaign crossing their collective fingers that nothing else goes wrong regarding the position.

According to head coach Mark Richt, the dismissal is a result of violation of team rules.
A graduate of Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, Mettenberger had been issued a minimum one-game suspension by Richt following an alcohol-related arrest on March 7.

So what now?

Well, one thing's for sure.

When Richt releases his first post-spring depth chart, either the name Aaron Murray or Logan Gray will be atop the list.

Even before Mettenberger's dismissal, Gray would have been the only quarterback with any actual game experience.

In 12 games last year, Gray completed 5-of-12 passes for 31 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns.

Murray, meanwhile, completed 9 of 22 for 96 yards with one interception during last week's G-Day Game, although he had very effective in Georgia's two other scrimmages this spring.

Gray, on the other hand, completed 10 of the 17 passes he threw for 132 yards and a one touchdown.

"Anytime you're in a scrimmage or a practice and you start off well it helps to get your confidence and it can help create a good rhythm," Gray said after G-Day. "I was happy for that, but as a quarterback you can't be too high or too low on any particular play."

After the game, Richt was asked what factors would come into play when naming his starting quarterback.

"The things I'm looking for in a quarterback are: Can he hit his target? Can he process all the information that he has to process? Can he handle the job?" Richt said. "This is just the beginning of feeling the pressure of the job. Everybody's got a microscope on what's going on and they've got to learn to deal with that sort of pressure. When we get into the fall that pressure is going to intensify and then somebody is going to get to start and we'll see if he can handle that. We'll get to see if a guy can handle not being first team and how is he going to react to that. There's a lot to learn yet."

Now, there's one less person to teach.

But because quarterbacks aren't allowed to get hit, Richt won't actually get a true take on Murray regarding his ability to take a hit or move around the pocket under pressure until the Bulldogs actually play their first game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Incoming freshman Hutson Mason's name gets bumped up the list as well.

Although Bulldog coaches no doubt still want the former Lassiter star to redshirt, Mason is now only an injury or two away from having to play as a true freshman. Because of that, look for the record-breaking QB to receive even more attention from coaches once preseason drills begin - just in case.

It will also be interesting to see how Mettenberger's dismissal will affect the quarterbacks being recruited by Georgia for the Class of 2011.

The Bulldogs will obviously sign one. But will they now try and take two?

Currently, Georgia has offers out to five top prospects, including Christian LeMay of Matthews, N.C. and Nick Marshall of Wilcox County.

LeMay is one of the country's top pro-style quarterbacks after throwing for 3,296 yards and 44 touchdowns with just two interceptions. LeMay has yet to narrow his list of schools, but his father Stacy LeMay told UGASports last week that UGA has placed itself in "good shape" for his services.

Marshall, on the other hand, is fast earning the reputation as one of the country's top dual-threat stars and lists Georgia, Florida State and Georgia Tech as his three favorite schools.

Georgia also has offers on the table for Huber Heights (OH) quarterback Braxton Miller and last week offered Santa Ana (Calif.) standout Max Wittek a scholarship.

The Bulldogs also have an offer out to Myrtle Beach, S.C. standout Everett Golson, who has verbally committed to North Carolina.

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