Hutson Mason is spending the offseason searching for any way he can to fine-tune his game as he prepares for his one-and-only full season as Georgia‚Äôs starting quarterback.
It turns out he‚Äôs found an app for that.
Mason, who got a jump start for 2014 by stepping in as starter for an injured Aaron Murray for the final two games of last season, has turned to an iPad app called ‚ÄúCoach‚Äôs Eye‚Äù to help him improve his mechanics and his lower body.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs kind of my new best friend,‚Äù Mason said. ‚ÄúEvery little thing I do is just trying to create good habits. When you go out there in the games and in the fall, you don‚Äôt have really time to focus on your mechanics, so you really want to get those down and perfect those.‚Äù
Mason said he‚Äôs worked with quarterback coaches and has studied film of NFL star Tom Brady to emulate his foot work and implement aspects of it in Georgia‚Äôs offense.
‚ÄúThere are just some things he does with his drop that we‚Äôre going to try out this spring,‚Äù offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. ‚ÄúIt will be interesting to see how it works. Hutson‚Äôs a guy that we‚Äôve got to do a good job keeping on balance sometimes. His feet get a little bit too close together and he kind of gets up on his toes. A little bit looking at Tom Brady more of how he keeps a good base in the pocket is what I was showing him.‚Äù
The fifth-year senior from Marietta will take it out on the field when Georgia begins spring practices on March 18.
Subbing for Murray, Mason completed 56 of 94 passes for 808 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in relief in a win against Kentucky and in starts against Georgia Tech and Nebraska in the Gator Bowl when the Bulldogs went 1-1.
‚ÄúPlaying in almost three full games did wonders for his confidence,‚Äù Bobo said. ‚ÄúHe was already a confident kid, but that had to help to go out there and have some success. But at the same time I think it made him realize some things he had to work on to be a better quarterback and help us win games.‚Äù
Mason already earned the respect of his teammates with how hard he worked and practiced as a backup during his career and they saw late last season he has the ability to get the job done, head coach Mark Richt said.
‚ÄúI think it was healthy for Hutson to play and have some success and have some tough times, too,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs going to keep him humble and keep him working knowing he‚Äôs got some things he has to work on.‚Äù
Senior receiver Michael Bennett said he doesn‚Äôt notice a change in the offseason leadership from Murray to Mason, who was able to watch how Murray operated as starter and in the offseason for four seasons.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs more of the same,‚Äù Bennett said. ‚ÄúA lot of hard work and a lot of accountability. He expects guys to show up to stuff. It‚Äôs good to have a guy like that who‚Äôs been in the system for a while.‚Äù
Bobo said Mason is actually more vocal and more demanding on the field than Murray.
Now he‚Äôll do it with the knowledge that this is his time.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm looking forward to what Hutson will do to see him in that role where he knows it‚Äôs his team and his job now,‚Äù center David Andrews said. ‚ÄúThe kid‚Äôs a competitor. He‚Äôs fun to play for and fun to have under center. It‚Äôs going to be a fun spring.‚Äù
Mason knows his window to be the starter is a short one that will end when the 2014 season does.
‚ÄúEvery little thing you have to do as far as preparation as far as holding guys accountable bringing guys along that need to be brought along, you can‚Äôt really sit here and say, ‚ÄòI‚Äôll figure this out or get my feet wet,‚Äô‚Äù Mason said. ‚ÄúYou‚Äôve kind of just got to go all in. If that‚Äôs my point of view, win, lose or draw, I won‚Äôt have any regrets because the regrets will come if I didn‚Äôt say I didn‚Äôt go all in. At the end of the day, I can‚Äôt look back and say I can do this different next year because there is no next year.‚Äù
Follow Marc online at twitter.com/marcweiszer.