It will be interesting to see how Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo attacks Georgia Tech with Hutson Mason at quarterback instead of Aaron Murray.
If Murray had not gone down with a torn ACL, Georgia would probably test a Georgia Tech secondary that was beaten deep by Clemson on Nov. 14 when it had passing touchdowns of 41, 76 and 44 yards.
Mason showed he can move Georgia’s offense in a spread attack with an impressive showing against Kentucky in relief of Murray, but will a player that gets the ball out fast take his shots downfield?
“We won’t know if he’s as good vertically as Aaron Murray until he plays for a bit,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson said. “He’s clearly very accurate when you watch the tape in the little bit he’s played in. Everything that I’ve heard in the state for the last two or three years since he’s been there every time there’s a scrimmage or every time there’s practice, they’re always raving about him. I know a couple of years ago when they were struggling a little bit, people were yelling for him to be the quarterback. So clearly, he’s talented.”
Mason’s career long completion is 46 yards against New Mexico State in 2011. He’s thrown only 82 career passes, most in mop-up duty. Georgia Tech defensive coordinator Ted Roof said on 790 The Zone that he’s watched every snap Mason has taken this year. He didn’t expect Georgia to change a lot in an offense that he said was throwing about eight or nine screens a game recently.
Georgia receivers this week mentioned Brice Ramsey and Christian LeMay as having the biggest arms now at the quarterback position.
I didn’t hear receiver Michael Bennett make this comment, but Charles Odum of the AP quoted him saying that Mason “has got a little bit weaker arm” than Murray.
Johnson said this week that he thought Georgia has confidence Mason can run their offense and can “do all the things that Muray can do. He can throw the field out and has a strong arm.”
The deep ball still can continue being a weapon, receiver Chris Conley told me.
“I think so,” Conley said. “Hutson has anticipation. The ball’s going to come out earlier, but he can definitely get it done.”
Johnson said that Clemson had talented receivers, but “we struggled on the back end. We had a hard time playing the deep ball and gave up some big plays. They caught us in cover 2 once with a safety shallow and the other times we just didn’t make a play on the ball. We gave up the deep ball. One we may have got nudged a little bit, but the others we just misplayed.”
Bobo said in 2011 that the deep ball was something Mason was continuing to work on.
Mason said then that his strengths were his accuracy and playmaking, but he wanted to improve his arm strength.
“I feel like I throw the deep ball well,” Mason said this week. “Really just depends on what our game plan is going into Tech. The deep ball is a low percentage throw, but if we like our matchup with our receivers we’ll feel confident in throwing it.”
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