ATHENS — I got a chance to talk to former Georgia and current Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Aaron Murray for a good long while as he recently drove from Charleston back to his home in Atlanta following a recent appearance there along with friend Connor Shaw.
The main purpose of that conversation was to discuss UGA freshman Jacob Eason and the challenges awaiting him as the Bulldogs’ latest great hope at quarterback. But as always, Murray was generous with his time and accommodating about answering questions.
So here are his thoughts on a few other subjects:
Q: What do you recall the quarterback competition being like when you arrived in January of 2009?
A: “It was Joe Cox and Logan Gray and then Zach and I. It was Joe’s job. Joe had been there. It was his fifth year and he played well when he got in the game. He knew the playbook and he was able to do his thing. So it was a learning year. But I got to compete still and got after it a little bit.”
Q: Did you know you weren’t likely going to play that first year when you signed?
A: “When I committed, I still wasn’t sure if Stafford was going to stay or leave. So in my mind I was committing and Stafford was going to be a senior and Joe was going to be a senior and then after that it was going to be open range. I thought maybe I’d come in and compete a little maybe and get ready for next year.”
Q: Do you think sitting out that first year helped you later?
A: “As a competitor you want to get out there and play. But sometimes it’s good to sit back and learn it and just absorb everything and learn the playbook and then see it live in action. This play works well against this coverage and watching it live. I think it helped my career. It’s the same way in the NFL. I’ve learned and learned and grown the last two years in the NFL. You learn from your coaches, learn from your teammates. I definitely feel like I’m a lot better now than I was two years ago. There’s nothing wrong with standing and learning. Sometimes you see these guys thrown in the fire in college or pro and if they struggle a little bit it can throw them off.”
Q: Georgia’s has struggled a little at quarterback since you left two years ago. What’s your thoughts on the legacy of the position?
A: “It’s a new year with a lot of new coaches, a new offense and everything. So I think it’s pretty exciting in general, not just at quarterback but every position. Change is exciting. There’s a lot of excitement around the program.”
Q: What are your thoughts on Jim Chaney as offensive coordinator?
A: “He was the coordinator at Tennessee when Tyler Bray was there. I talked to Tyler a couple of months ago about it and he was raving about him and about how he really helped him develop as a quarterback when he was at Tennessee. He put up some good numbers there. When Tyler was there they had one of the top offenses in the SEC. So I think whoever the quarterback is has a chance between the new OC and good talent around them. So we’ll see. They need to get Nick Chubb healthy. That will make any quarterback better.”
Q: Have you talked to Mark Richt since the coaching change?
A: “Yeah, I talked to Coach right after it happened and a couple of times since then. He’s doing good. He’s obviously disappointed and he loves Georgia. But he’s excited to be home in Miami. That’s where he’s from. They have a great team. I think they had eight wins last year. They have a good quarterback. I think it’s a good situation. He’s kind of rejuvenated and ready to rock and roll.”
Q: What’s your thoughts on Kirby Smart?
A: “I’ve met Kirby a couple of times. I got to talk to him for a while last summer at a charity golf tournament. I’ve gotten to know him a little bit, just watching him off the field and sharing with other coaches and players who knew him at Alabama. I’ve heard nothing but great things about him. So I’m excited for him to get the job and see what he can do.”
Q. What’s the status of your NFL career?
A: “I’m just working. That’s my biggest thing. Alex (Smith) had a great year this year and the team had a great year. So my goal is to keep slowly working, working, working, gaining the trust of the coaches. I’ve just got to demonstrate that by continuing to show my mastery of the playbook, my understanding of the concepts and the coverages and earn their trust. I just have to show them progress in the games and when OTAs start in a couple of months and preseason. They just have to be able to trust you in case something happens and you go on the field. They need to know you can go out there and perform. So I’m just trying to show them that I’m ready to go.”