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Murray key to UGA's success
Georgia Football Heal
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray is surrounded by reporters on the first day of practice at Sanford Stadium Monday in Athens. - photo by Associated Press

    ATHENS — Mark Richt isn't afraid of starting a freshman quarterback.
    Having only freshmen at the position is a different matter.
    Richt acknowledged it is "scary" to have only four freshmen quarterbacks, including new starter Aaron Murray, in team meetings.
    "The quarterback room has got to be the youngest room maybe in the history of college football," Richt said Monday before Georgia's first practice.
    "You've got a redshirt freshman, a true freshman on scholarship and then two walk-ons. That is all that is in that quarterback room right now, so it's scary in there."
    Murray found some humor in quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo's challenge.
    "I feel real bad for coach Bobo but he has, what, five kids under the age of 5, so he has a little experience dealing with this," Murray said.
    Bobo's five children, including triplets, are 6 or younger.

Bobo said Murray is "self-motivated and driven."

"He's not a guy who is just going to sit back and say 'I'm the starting quarterback at the University of Georgia,'" Bobo said. "He's working his tail off and he's fully dedicated. He's preparing and part of having confidence is preparing well in what we do."

The only player on Georgia's roster who has game experience at quarterback is Logan Gray, a junior who was the backup to 2009 senior starter Joe Cox.

Gray requested a move to receiver after Murray was named the starter at the end of spring practice.

With Gray at his new position, Hutson Mason of Marietta's Lassiter High joins Murray as the only scholarship quarterbacks.

Murray, from Tampa, was held out last season as a redshirt. Mason and walk-ons Parker Welch of Jesup, Ga., and Greg Bingham of Columbus are new to the team.

Another 2009 redshirt, Zach Mettenberger, was dismissed from the team in April before pleading guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery in May.

Murray entered preseason drills as the only quarterback who had even been through a practice.

"It's very weird, especially coming from last year with two older guys," Murray said. "Now I'm the older guy and I haven't taken a snap yet and I'm still considered a freshman."

Richt said he has asked Gray to keep up with his playbook at quarterback while working at his new position.

"Right now we're asking him to mentally get the work (at quarterback)," Richt said. "We're not giving him any physical reps right now. A lot will depend on how we feel Hutson is coming."

Richt has started two freshmen — David Greene and Matthew Stafford — at the position in his first nine seasons as Georgia's coach.

Stafford started as a true freshman in 2006 before becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft.

Murray, who enrolled early in 2009, went through the 2009 and 2010 spring practices.

"The good news is Aaron is really doing a very good job, and he knows the deal extremely well," Richt said.

Murray worked with receivers, tight ends and running backs on passing routes in volunteer workouts without the coaches this summer. Richt said those practices were key in Murray winning over his older teammates, including tight end Aron White.

"I've never seen anyone who watches as much film, especially at an early age," White said of Murray. "He picks things up pretty fast. I think he's growing into a bigger leadership role on the team. He always at the front of the pack, being vocal and making sure guys are working. He's going to do just fine."

Murray said he has talked with Greene and Stafford. He said Greene "calmed me down a little bit" by passing along some tips.

Murray didn't try to hide his excitement on Monday as he sat in the locker room for Georgia's media day at Sanford Stadium.

"I pretty much haven't been able to sleep the last month or so," he said. "I'm extremely excited about this. It's something I've been waiting a long time for. It's going to be a great feeling coming out of this tunnel and going onto the field for the first game."