HOOVER, Ala. -- Aaron Murray leaned back, smiled and laughed. He knew the question was coming.
Two days before, South Carolina star end Jadeveon Clowney had said that three quarterbacks were “scared” of him, and “Aaron Murray is one of them.” Two days later, after some time to think about it, Murray was asked his response.
“You know, I think the word fear was misused for respect. (I) definitely have a lot of respect for him,” Murray said Thursday at SEC media days. “He’s one of, if not the best player in the country. Unbelievable player. Very talented player. A guy that you really do have to game plan for and set a plan for him.
“I’m definitely not scared. But definitely respect greatly what he’s able to do on the field.”
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Clowney, entering his junior year and expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NFL draft, has knocked around Murray early and often in their two games. But Murray, playing behind an offensive line that has had issues, has been hit by defenders other than Clowney.
“I enjoy getting hits. I’m not scared of getting hit by anyone, by any means,” Murray said. “I’m not worried about who says what, or this and that. All we can do is keep working hard and having a successful summer, like we’ve had so far. ... Like I said, no fear and all respect for what he’s able to do on the field.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt also laughed off the comments. He said he got to know Clowney “a bit” during some awards banquets, when Clowney and Jarvis Jones were hanging out together.
“He’s got a good sense of humor,” Richt said of Clowney. “I think there probably were a bunch of guys scared of him. I’d be scared of him if I were playing against him.”
Murray’s close friend and housemate Arthur Lynch, the starting tight end, said there was probably only one person of whom Murray is truly afraid.
“I think he’s more afraid of his mother, personally,” Lynch said. “There’s no doubt Clowney is one of the best defensive players in college football. Now there might be some guys that are scared of him. I’m sure there’s a lot of people that are. But I’ve known Aaron for a long time now, and if there’s one thing Aaron doesn’t shy away from it’s a challenge.”
Georgia faces South Carolina on Sept. 7, the second week of the season.
Morgan’s status unresolved
While Richt made a swift announcement on one discipline situation this summer, he’s holding off on a second one.
Speaking before his appearance at SEC media days, the Georgia head coach said there had been no decision yet on the status of Marshall Morgan. The sophomore place-kicker was arrested for boating under the influence on Lake Oconee.
“You know what, I don’t know, to be honest with you, on the place-kicking,” Richt said. “That’s probably gonna be closer to a game-day decision on what’s going to happen.”
Richt said a committee that is supposed to determine Morgan’s status -- because BUI is not explicitly in the discipline handbook -- has not met. Athletics director Greg McGarity and Richt have had a lot of vacation overlap this summer, he said.
“We just haven’t been able to hook up on that yet,” Richt said.
The only suspension that has been announced is for sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons, who is out one game after a marijuana violation. That means Georgia has to figure out how to replace him at the star position (nickel-back) for its opener against Clemson.
“I don’t know if we know for sure what it’s gonna look like when we kick off that first game, with his absence,” Richt said. “He was the starter at the end of spring, but we’ve recruited a lot of good players.”
Murray might be the big name on the Bulldogs’ offense, but it was Lynch who was named a preseason, first-team All-SEC pick, while Murray was picked for the third team. Lynch was asked if he was going to hang that over Murray.
“Maybe if it’s that way at the end of the season. But something tells me he’ll end up on there,” Lynch said. “But it’s cool to be recognized for that, especially being known (before) as a one-dimensional guy, and with the depth we have, to be mentioned among the top players in the league.”
Lynch and tailback Todd Gurley were the only Georgia players to make first team.
Four Georgia players made the second team: running back Keith Marshall, guard Chris Burnette, linebacker Jordan Jenkins and cornerback Damian Swann.
Murray was joined on the third team by receiver Malcolm Mitchell and defensive end Garrison Smith.
O-line personnel updates
Senior Austin Long, a second-team offensive lineman, is in limbo due to an unspecified academic situation. Long is still a member of the team.
“He is going through some academic stuff right now,” Richt said.
There has been no change in the status of offensive lineman Kolton Houston, who remains NCAA ineligible because of a long-running drug test issue.
“I really was hoping for something by now,” Richt said.