Georgia‚Äôs new No. 2 quarterback is a lot like the Bulldogs former No. 1 quarterback in one particular way.
‚ÄúEverybody talks about Aaron Murray,‚Äù offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. ‚ÄúThis guy works as hard as Aaron Murray.‚Äù
This guy in this case is Faton Bauta, who backs up Hutson Mason now with Murray‚Äôs college career over after a torn ACL.
‚ÄúWhen I did first get here as a freshman, I did look up to (Murray) a lot,‚Äù Bauta said. ‚ÄúMight as well pick up the things he does, what does he do? Maybe you can get some things out of his daily routine that you can implement in yours.‚Äù
Murray earned a reputation as a player who spent countless hours in the film room to get better during his time at Georgia, where he leaves as the SEC‚Äôs career passing yardage and touchdown passing leader.
Bauta has similar traits, said Bobo, who coaches the quarterbacks.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know what y‚Äôall can see when y‚Äôall are over here, but he‚Äôs always over here working and staying out after,‚Äù Bobo said after practice this week. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs probably still out there right now. A guy we recruited as an athlete, we give a shot at quarterback. He‚Äôs got his mind set that he wants to play quarterback. He‚Äôs still got to improve on some things and do some things, but he‚Äôs a strong-willed individual that I‚Äôm excited to see compete in the spring and maybe in the bowl game.‚Äù
Bauta, a 6-foot-3, 216-pound redshirt freshman from West Palm Beach, Fla., is a threat with the ability to use his feet with quarterback power runs. He‚Äôs rushed for 29 yards on three carries in limited playing time. Murray ran at times with the zone read.
Bauta said his approach hasn‚Äôt changed at all now that he‚Äôs moved up a spot on the depth chart, a spot he‚Äôs not content to be in.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want to hear, ‚ÄòHe‚Äôs the hardest worker,‚Äù Bauta said. ‚ÄúI want to hear, ‚ÄòHe‚Äôs the best player.‚Äô‚Äù
After the Gator Bowl, Bauta will be among those competing for the backup job in the spring, along with redshirt freshman Brice Ramsey and incoming freshmen Jacob Park.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs going to be fun,‚Äù Bobo said. ‚ÄúLet‚Äôs win this game and then I‚Äôll be ready to compete with those guys this spring.‚Äù