ATHENS, Ga. — No experience? No problem.
OK, so it’s not quite that simple for Georgia’s current quarterback competition, but the low man on the totem pole for the job is pretty excited about what the future has in store, in large part because so much remains unknown.
“One of the things that most excited me about it was that when I come in, from Day 1, I’ll have the chance to compete for a job — whether that’s the starting position from Day 1 or to be the backup,” said Hutson Mason, Georgia’s lone quarterback commitment for the 2010 signing class.
Mason will join redshirt freshman Aaron Murray and Zach Mettengerger along with rising junior Logan Gray in the race to become Georgia’s starting quarterback this fall. In the meantime, however, Gray could be on the verge of a position change.
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“With the chance of Logan Gray moving to the secondary or receiver, you’d be looking at two redshirt freshmen and a true freshman at quarterback for Georgia,” said Mason, who threw for 54 touchdowns and led his team to a 13-1 record as a senior at Lassiter High in Marietta, Ga. “That’s extremely young. There’s zero experience there. Whoever’s going to be the starter is going to have a lot of pressure on him as a young guy.”
The prospect of the Bulldogs opening the 2010 season without a quarterback who has taken so much as one snap on game day on its roster can be a bit troubling, but the lack of experience doesn’t indicate a lack of talent.
Murray has wowed coaches with his work ethic and athleticism during his first season at Georgia, and while Mettenberger’s arm strength has been praised since Day 1, his strides in the fundamentals have impressed quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo.
Still, there are always kinks to work out as a rookie, and Mason said he already has been getting plenty of advice from Mettenberger. The two quarterbacks have been friends for several years, and Mettenberger has already warned Mason that, in addition to the playbook and the game speed, picking apart an SEC defense isn’t anything like doing it in high school.
“You go from trying to pick out three coverages to 20 coverages, and you have to know all of that stuff,” Mason said. “(Mettenberger) said that was the most difficult part was reading defenses and being able to determine what kind of defense they’re in, who’s coming and who’s not coming and stuff like that.”
Mason had dinner in Athens last weekend with a couple of other Georgia recruits and managed to squeeze in a conversation with Bobo and head coach Mark Richt, too.
Rather than lament the lack of experience, Mason said, the coaches were busy talking about the immense talent of the Bulldogs’ young playmakers, noting the bevy of big plays made by freshmen and sophomores in 2009.
That, more than anything, is what has Mason so excited about what lies ahead.
“The future looks bright for us, and that’s no different at the quarterback position,” Mason said. “Someone’s going to have to step up for us. There’s two redshirt freshmen and one true freshman. Someone’s going to have to become the man and take the ball and run with it. I think they’re excited.”