Murray takes hard hit but returns to game

smerson@macon.comNovember 10, 2012 

AUBURN, Ala. -- The potentially difficult decision the Georgia football team hopes it never has to make almost occurred Saturday night.

Early in the second quarter, quarterback Aaron Murray had to leave the game after taking a hard hit. Parker Welch, a sophomore walk-on, entered the game for one play in Murray’s place.

Murray was able to return, but if he didn’t, it would lead to the Hutson Mason dilemma: Mason, a junior, is the team’s No. 2 quarterback but is hoping to redshirt. The team only wants to take the redshirt off Mason if Murray is out for an extended amount of time.

So how does Georgia judge that in the heat of a game? Mason, speaking earlier in the week, put it this way: “I had a conversation with (offensive coordinator Mike) Bobo this week, and as of right now if Murray was to go down in the Auburn game I’d be going in. It being this late in the season, it’s basically just a week by week thing. And we’re just kind of taking it from there. But I do know I spoke with Coach Bobo, and I’m preparing as if I’m the No. 2 guy this week. I think what they’ll do is if Murray goes down, somebody else will go in first, and they’ll get a prognosis of how serious Murray’s injury is. And then if it is really serious then I’ll probably go in from there.”

Mason agreed that the way this has been handled actually has helped him not to feel like he has taken a year off. That not only puts him in better position if he is rushed into duty in 2012, but in 2013 and beyond.

“It’s weird because I’m redshirting, but I’m getting so many reps. It has helped me get a lot better,” Mason said. “I try and compete every day and try to show the coaches if Murray leaves next year that I want to be the guy. And I try to take every rep for every snap to prove to them to show to them that I’m reliable and dependable. Not for only this year but for the years to come.”

King honors Brown

Marlon Brown’s career might be over, but it seems like he’s still out there. Fellow senior receiver Tavarres King wore Brown’s No. 15 on Saturday night, as a means of honoring his injured teammate.

King made Brown proud in the second quarter, making a beautiful touchdown catch. On third down, King twisted his body and reached up to grab a 17-yard pass, and a replay review confirmed that King barely got his foot inbounds.

It was the 19th touchdown catch of King’s career, moving him into a tie for fourth in school history, with Brice Hunter.

O-line movement

Right guard Chris Burnette, dealing with a shoulder injury, didn’t make the trip to Auburn. That created some juggling among the starting five.

Kenarious Gates, normally the left tackle, moved to left guard, and Dallas Lee shifted from left guard to right guard. Mark Beard, a sophomore, then replaced Gates at left tackle.

It marked the end of an 18-game starting streak for Burnette, while it was the first start of Beard’s career. Gates had been the starter at left tackle, and Lee the starter at left guard, for the first nine games this season.

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