ATHENS - ATHENS - Mark Richt wasn't too surprised when Aaron Murray announced he was returning for one more year as Georgia's starting quarterback
"He told me after the (SEC championship), a day or two after the game: 'There's no way I could leave,' and all that kind of thing," Richt said on Thursday. "But he did hedge it at the end: 'I feel this way from the emotion of it. That's how I feel right now, somewhere along the lines I have to weigh it with my family.' But I knew, he expressed how he felt after the game."
The news was a bit more surprising to Hutson Mason, who told the Mariette Daily Journal a day later that he was "frustrated" at the situation. Mason, who redshirted this season in order to ensure at least a year on campus without Murray, was hoping for two years.
But Mason also said he was sticking around at Georgia, and on Thursday Richt reiterated that Mason is the No. 2 quarterback, and that he wants to get Mason some game action in 2013.
"If we weren't trying to redshirt him, and he was the second team guy, which in essence he was, he'd had played a lot this year," Richt said. "He might have even played more than what our second-teamers did, based on the faith that we have in his ability to function well. He might have gotten in there a series earlier here or there. I think he'd had played a lot then, and hopefully we'll have the opportunities to do the same this year."
But that doesn't mean a David Greene/D.J. Shockley type of set-up.
"I'm not sitting here saying we're gonna do anything like that," Richt said, later adding: "Like I said before, Hutson's to the point where he certainly knows what to do. And he's ready for the next step, which is playing time. But like I said before, what that looks like I don't know."
Murray and Mason are at least settled in the top two roles. But behind them are a bunch of quarterbacks whose role is yet to be determined: Christian LeMay and Parker Welch shared the No. 2 role this year, Faton Bauta redshirted, and Brice Ramsey is now on campus, having enrolled early.
There is no pecking order yet, Richt indicated.
"The other guys, they've still got things to learn and perfect, and get to the point where they're ready to go," Richt said. "Aaron obviously is the starting quarterback. Aaron's the guy right now, everybody knows that, there's no question about that part. But you know if something happened to Aaron would Hutson be ready to play, yes he would. Given that whatever game circumstance comes up would Hutson be able to play and play well, I think so, absolutely. That's kind of where we are.
"But guys after those top two, they've still go things to learn and try to perfect."