ATHENS — Aaron Murray, the SEC’s all-time leading passer, has a unique perspective on the Georgia football offense and what new quarterback Jamie Newman needs to work on.
Murray speaks as a CBS analyst, but also, a recent XFL quarterback with the XFL’s Tampa Bay Vipers who uses the same QB coach as Newman.
In short, Murray suggested that to run Todd Monken’s version of the Air Raid offense, Newman needs to get better touch on his passes.
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“It’s something Jamie needs to work on,” Murray said on Birmingham’s WJOX 3-Man Front program. “It’s a little bit less of him trying to muscle the ball, and I think it’s a little bit more of Jamie needs to loosen up a little bit.”
Murray said it’s an issue for many quarterbacks with Newman’s muscular frame and build.
“A lot of time with quarterbacks, their traps (trapezius) and their side bodies get a little bit tight, so they don’t have the ability to get their arm above their head,” Murray said. “Go back to Tim Tebow, pushing the ball, you get some quarterbacks that are so big and strong, they have a tough time getting that ball up and down and over.
“That’s why he does throw the hitch well and the g- ball well, because you don’t have to get your arm up and throw over an offensive linemen, to get it into those windows in the middle of the field,” he said. “I think for him the best thing would be to get a foam roller, roll out his dang traps and chest and loosen up a little bit so he can get that arm a little bit higher to get the ball up and down for those 10 or 15 yards.”
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No doubt, intermediate throws are key in most all Air Raid offenses, which spread the field and rely on tempo to keep defenses off balance and susceptible.
Murray said he saw Justin Fields make that growth between his short time at Georgia and season at Ohio State last year.
“I remember watching him in spring heading into his freshman year, and he was just trying to rifle everything,” Murray said. “He was a number one recruit , incoming freshman, rifle arm, and everything was fastball, fastball fastball, and I talked to him about it, and actually we use the same quarterback coach here in Atlanta.
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“You saw his development from year one of that to what he was doing last year at Ohio State, everything was so much more in rhythm, tempo in his throw, if he needed to put it in a window he had the fastball, but you’re just trying to make the ball catchable for your receivers, you’re not trying to put a hole in their chest.
“I think that comes with timing in the offense.”
Newman has the benefit of an extended preseason that is scheduled to resume on Aug. 17.
But outside of the supervised practices, the Wake Forest graduate transfer was worked with receivers in 7-on-7 drills, learning the new route trees, and getting that timing down so he can work on those touch passes Murray talked about.
“If you know the offense, if you know where to go with the football,” Murray said, “you can hit that back step, hitch up, let it go, nice and easy, make it catchable for the receiver.”
All-Time SEC Passing Leaders
1) Georgia QB Aaron Murray (2010-2013), 13,166 yards
2) Missouri QB Drew Lock (2015-2018), 12,193 yards
3) Georgia QB David Greene (2001-2004), 11,528 yards