- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
ATHENS, Ga. -- One might expect that the prospect of playing in a real live football game for the first time in nearly three years would have Christian LeMay feeling a bit nervous.
He says it’s more likely that he might need a wakeup call before Georgia hosts Buffalo on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
“I was a nap guy [in high school],” said LeMay, a redshirt freshman. “I might wake up five minutes before warmups. I’d always be that guy. I’d try to take a nap before we go out there sometimes if they’re taking too long.”
LeMay’s low-key demeanor is extremely different from the typical college football player’s pregame attitude -- particularly the Bulldogs’ excitable starting quarterback Aaron Murray -- but he said it has always served him well. He admits it partially stems from emulating an unusual player for a Georgia player to copy: former Florida quarterback Chris Leak.
“I think I picked up some of those things from my parents. They always have an even-keeled demeanor,” LeMay said. “And also growing up in Gainesville (Fla.) watching Chris Leak and his demeanor. Sorry fans that I said Chris Leak because he’s a Gator, but he was a great guy to watch. His technique was flawless and everything like that.
“Just watching him and his demeanor, I try to take that on the field because he always looked calm. He might have been confused in his head, you never could tell from his eyes and his poise on the field. So I try to emulate that when I’m on the field.”
Bulldogs backup quarterback Hutson Mason’s much-discussed redshirt plan means LeMay is in position to back up Murray this season. While Mason remains ahead of LeMay in the overall quarterback pecking order, he won’t play this fall unless Murray suffers an injury.
That means LeMay is in line to take the field for the first time since 2009, when he led Butler High School to its first North Carolina state title as a junior.
He believes he still has plenty of improving to do, but said he has progressed since spring practice at making the proper checkdowns and reads and generally feels more comfortable executing the Bulldogs’ offense.
“I’ve felt pretty good about what I’ve done this camp and going into the season, so I’ve just got to continue doing what I’m doing,” he said.
Georgia is a 37-point favorite against Buffalo, so it’s entirely possible LeMay will play for the first time on Saturday. Although his return to the field will end a lengthy hiatus, he said he is more excited about the opportunity than nervous about taking his first college snaps.
“I love playing football and I love being on this team, so I’m just ready to go out there and help the guys any way that I can,” LeMay said. “So I’m going to continue to study like I have and continue to learn and continue to ask questions and continue to try to put myself in a good position so if my number is called that I’ll be ready to play.”
4hSam Khan Jr.
5dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough