ATHENS - Hutson Mason will be the No. 1 quarterback when Georgia holds a spring scrimmage on Tuesday, as Aaron Murray is set to be in Atlanta accepting a leadership award. Mason has longed to be the top quarterback in a meaningful game at Sanford Stadium, or anywhere really, which has often led him to think about going elsewhere.
Everyone knows that Mason nearly transferred after the 2011 season, before being offered a chance to redshirt. But Mason revealed last week that he also thought about it a few months ago, when Murray announced he would be returning for his senior season. Mason didn't think about it as seriously as the previous time, but it at least required another meeting with head coach Mark Richt.
The circumstances were different this time: Mason knew that he would have to transfer down a level, beyond the FBS level, if he wanted to play right away. But Richt also assuaged Mason's concerns about never getting a chance to play this year because of Murray's presence.
"He said he wasn't going to promise anything," Mason said. "He just told me if I decided to stay he thought I'd be happy with my playing time. So I'm just excited for my opportunity. Whenever that comes, I don't know, I'll be ready."
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Richt has said publicly that Mason will play, but it won't be an arrangement similar to D.J. Shockley and David Greene in the early 2000s.
After Murray announced he was returning for this season, Mason told the Marietta Daily Journal, his hometown newspaper, that he was “frustrated." The bluntness shouldn’t have been surprising, as Mason is quite candid, and last week he didn't back off the statement.
“I think everybody who was in my shoes would say that,” Mason said. “I put in, we put in, all these guys put in all this work, and our reward is 12 Saturdays a year. It’s not a lot. At times it can get very frustrating and emotionally beat-down because all the work you can put in and you’re not getting the reward, and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
"But me and Murray have always had a great relationship. My role is the same this year, but I’ve always believed when I get that one shot you’ve gotta make the most of it, whether it’s in practice, or in the film room with coach Bobo. And the thing is I think the coaches know I’m ready. I’ve been at that point where I’m dependable. They can trust me if I go int that game. Now it’s just about going in there and backing up that talk.”
I'll have more from Mason in Wednesday's papers, including his performance in the scrimmage. And stats and notes from the scrimmage, which is closed to the public and media, will be posted as soon as possible.