HOOVER, Ala. — No, Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said, he’s not scared of South Carolina stud defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
Mark Richt, on the other hand, would understand if he was.
“I’d be scared of him if I was in the game, this guy was coming after me,” said the Georgia coach, a former Miami quarterback. “I think [Clowney’s] having fun. I’m sure he said it, you know, while he was smiling and grinning. I think we need to let guys have some fun once in a while and not make a big deal about it.”
Two days after Clowney said Murray, Clemson’s Tajh Boyd and Arkansas’ Tyler Wilson were scared going up against the dominant lineman, Murray knew the question was coming when he arrived with the Georgia contingent for SEC Media Days.
“My response? ‘Here we go,’” Murray said. “Let’s just get it knocked away. I think the word fear was misused for respect. Definitely a lot of respect for him. He’s definitely one of, if not the best, player in the country, an unbelievable player, a very talented player, a guy that you really do have to game plan for and set a plan for him. Definitely not scared, but definitely respect him greatly with what he’s able to do on the field.”
Murray, who took a beating and kept on ticking (eventually) after going up against Auburn’s Nick Fairley in 2010, said he “enjoys getting hits. I’m not scared of getting hit by anyone by all means. I’m not worried about who says what or this and that.”
Murray said Clowney’s comments “were all over Twitter,” so he learned of them quickly.
“It pretty much blew up and people tweeted at me, ‘Did you hear what Clowney said? Did you hear what Clowney said? Did you hear what Clowney said?’ Whatever. … If I’m worried about what’s going on in front of me I’m not doing my job.”
Zach Mettenberger is looking forward to finally playing a game at Sanford Stadium on Sept. 28.
“It’s going to be great,” said the LSU quarterback who starred at Oconee County High and was dismissed from the Bulldogs in the spring of his freshman year. “As a kid growing up as a Georgia fan and with my mom working there, I always dreamed of playing between the hedges. Now I actually get that opportunity, just wearing purple and gold. The dream has changed a little bit, but I still get to live it.”
Mettenberger, whose mother, Tammy, is an administrative assistant in the Georgia football offices, made his second straight appearance at SEC Media Days.
He said he didn’t expect his hometown roots to matter on game day.
“They’re going to cheer for me. They’re going to be like, ‘Yeah! Go Zach! Are you kidding?” he said. “They’re going to want to boo the crap out of me. I might get a freaking brick thrown at me. It’s just going to be like anywhere else when we go on the road. I’m anticipating for the worst for sure, but it’s still going to be fun going back there.”
Murray figures that either Mettenberger or Murray would have decided to transfer to get playing time if Mettenberger wasn’t booted off the team.
“I don’t know anybody else that had to go back and play the team that they got kicked off of,” said Mettenberger, who plead guilty to two counts of misdemeanor sexual battery.
He’s now in his second years as LSU starter while Murray is in his fourth season as Georgia’s starter.
“We pushed each other on an off the field, which made it a lot of fun,” Murray said.
Singing praises of Gurley and Marshall
Georgia has had its share of attrition in recent years at tailback, but Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall are viewed as a breath of fresh air.
Richt called them “poster boys for collegiate athletics. They are tremendously talented guys, obviously. They’re handsome kids. They’re smart. They have tremendous character and leadership abilities.”
And both sophomores are on the preseason All-SEC team.
Gurley’s on the first-team and Marshall on the second. Both also were named Wednesday to the watch list for the Doak Walker Award for nation’s top tailback.
Kicker Marshall’s punishments still TBD
The question of who will be Georgia’s kicker early in the season remains unanswered.
Richt didn’t have an answer on the punishment coming for sophomore Marshall Morgan, arrested June 29 for boating under the influence on Lake Sinclair.
“You know what? I don’t know, to be honest with you, with the placekicking,” Richt said. “That’s probably going to be closer to a gameday decision on what’s going to happen.”
A UGA Athletic Association comprehensive action plan committee has yet to meet to discuss Morgan’s punishment since a BUI specifically doesn’t fall under athletic policies.
“A lot of vacation between [athletic director Greg McGarity] and me and other people,” Richt said. “Just really haven’t been able to hook up on that.”
Backup senior offensive lineman Austin Long’s status with the team for this season “is kind of undetermined,” Richt said. “He is going through some academic stuff right now.” Long appeared in two games last season. … Richt said again he would support a league-wide drug testing policy. Georgia has one of the conference’s most stringent policies. “I think that would be a good thing for the league to be in synch in that regard,” he said. “But I’ve got not problem with how we do things at Georgia. I like it, quite frankly, because I care very much about our players and I want them to be safe.” … The SEC said that a total of 1,239 credentials were issued for SEC Media