Wednesday, October 6, 2010

It’s Not My Fault: Aaron Murray

Through the first five games of the 2009 season, the Georgia Bulldogs compiled a 3-2 record. This included shootout victories over South Carolina and Arkansas where the Bulldogs put up big offensive numbers. However, the two losses early that season saw Georgia struggle to score points against Oklahoma State and LSU. Senior quarterback Joe Cox had shown flashes of brilliance, but often tried to do too much resulting in interceptions.

In 2010, freshman Aaron Murray has stepped into the starting role. As the only new starter in the preseason depth chart, many were concerned about an inexperienced player under center. While the Dawgs have struggled to a 1-4 start, Murray has actually been a bright spot for the Georgia offense. A quick comparison between Murray’s stats from the first five games of the 2010 season against Cox’s stats from the first five games of 2009 provide further proof that Aaron Murray has certainly not been the problem for the Georgia offense.

Joe Cox – First 5 Games of 2009

Pass Attempts: 144
Pass Completions: 85
Completion Percentage: 59%
Yards: 1,209
Yards per Attempt: 8.4
Touchdown Passes: 11
Interceptions: 6

Aaron Murray – First 5 Games of 2010

Pass Attempts: 132
Pass Completions: 80
Completion Percentage: 60.6%
Yards: 1,100
Yards per Attempt: 8.3
Touchdown Passes: 8
Interceptions: 3
Aaron Murray has attempted 12 less passes than Cox had at this point in the season, but has completed a higher percentage for nearly the same yardage per pass attempt. While Cox clearly has an edge in touchdown passes (11 to 8), remember that he threw 5 of those in the shootout victory over Arkansas and also threw for twice as many interceptions during that period. When you factor in rushing statistics, Murray’s number look even better when compared to Cox.

Through 5 games, Murray has rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns despite being sacked 12 times. Through 5 games in 2009, Joe Cox had a negative total for rushing yards and had failed record a touchdown. While Murray has been sacked 12 times in 5 games, Cox was only sacked 11 times all season in 2009.

At this point in the season, Aaron Murray would be my pick for offensive MVP. Keep in mind he has compiled these statistics without the services of AJ Green for 4 games and Kris Durham for one game. Georgia certainly has a number of problems on offense, but Murray is not one of them.

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