Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesRedshirt freshman Christian LeMay has a golden opportunity to move up the depth chart, especially if the Bulldogs redshirt junior Hutson Mason.To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice on March 20, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day. We begin our analysis today with quarterbacks. On Tuesday we will look at the running backs.
2011 starter (stats): Aaron Murray, Jr. (238-for-403, 3,149 yards, 35 TD, 14 INT)
Key losses: None.
Reserves (stats): Hutson Mason, Jr. (18-for-30, 254 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT); Christian LeMay, RFr. (Redshirted); Faton Bauta, Fr. (NA)
New faces: Bauta completed high school early in order to enroll in January and participate in spring practice -- a common practice for Georgia quarterback signees.
Spring goal: Murray is obviously Georgia’s starter after setting a UGA single-season record for touchdown passes last season, but the Bulldogs need to begin settling a pecking order behind him.
The coaching staff’s stated goal is to let Mason redshirt this season in order to build class separation between Mason and Murray. That leaves Bauta and LeMay -- neither of whom has taken a snap in a college game -- to battle it out for the chance to be Murray’s top backup in 2012.
Worth watching: It will be interesting to see who makes a move. The coaching staff will likely wait until preseason practice before it begins making decisions on the quarterback depth chart, but this is the first round of a position battle that figures to last well after this season.
The Bulldogs already have a commitment from one of the top quarterback prospects in 2013, Brice Ramsey (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County), so the depth chart will only become more crowded next year -- particularly if Murray stays around for his senior season. One of his backups can really help his cause for the future by outplaying the other contenders this spring.
Area of concern: An injury to Murray would justifiably create alarm inside and outside the program. Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have publicly professed their faith in Mason as an SEC-caliber player, but he has appeared in only eight games in mop-up duty -- and he’s by far the team’s most experienced backup.
Position grade: B-plus. Murray is an All-SEC player and could pop up on some Heisman Trophy watch lists, but he is the only quarterback on the roster who has played in high-pressure situations.
Top Returning Players: SEC East
Final Washington State 45 Colorado State 48 Final 20 Fresno State 20 25 USC 45 Final Buffalo 24 San Diego State 49 Final Tulane 21 Louisiana-Lafayette 24
Final Pittsburgh 30 Bowling Green 27 Final Utah State 21 23 Northern Illinois 14
Final Marshall 31 Maryland 20 Final Syracuse 21 Minnesota 17 Final Brigham Young 16 Washington 31
Final Rutgers 16 Notre Dame 29 Final Cincinnati 17 North Carolina 39 Final Miami (FL) 9 18 Louisville 36 Final Michigan 14 Kansas State 31
Final Middle Tennessee 6 Navy 24 Final Ole Miss 25 Georgia Tech 17 Final 10 Oregon 30 Texas 7 Final 14 Arizona State 23 Texas Tech 37
Final Arizona 42 Boston College 19 Final Virginia Tech 12 17 UCLA 42 Final Rice 7 Mississippi State 44 Final 24 Duke 48 21 Texas A&M 52
Final Nebraska 24 22 Georgia 19 Final UNLV 14 North Texas 36 Final Iowa 14 16 LSU 21 Final 19 Wisconsin 24 9 South Carolina 34 Final 5 Stanford 20 4 Michigan State 24 Final 15 UCF 52 6 Baylor 42
Final 13 Oklahoma State 31 8 Missouri 41 Final 12 Clemson 40 7 Ohio State 35