UGA roundup: Murray returns to practice

The official word from Georgia on Monday was that quarterback Aaron Murray practiced as normal.

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray practiced Monday for the first time since suffering a bruised chest and bruised left knee in a loss to Auburn on Nov. 13.
Richard Hamm

Not so, said offensive tackle Josh Davis.

"He didn’t give me no chest bump," Davis joked.

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That’s understandable considering the redshirt freshman is coming back from a bruised chest and bruised left knee.

Murray practiced Monday for the first time since sustaining the injuries against Auburn on Nov. 13 and seems on track to start Saturday against Georgia Tech.

Murray wasn’t made available for interviews after the two-hour, full-pads workout that was closed to the media, but receiver Tavarres King had an upbeat assessment of how Murray looked.

"Awesome," King said. "He took a couple of days off last week, but he’s back rolling. He looked good. He looked better than ever."

Coach Mark Richt said Murray "did a pretty good job" in practice, but said there’s a difference between quarterbacks practicing and playing in an actual game.

"Aaron’s doing well," Richt said on his radio show. "He got to practice today. He went through the whole thing. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready to play, but because we don’t hit our quarterbacks in practice, he was able to do everything we were going to ask him to do.

"I’m not sure how he would have handled getting hit and tackled to the ground and having the full weight of one or two guys land on him. But he does feel a lot better. He threw the ball extremely well."

Richt said "there’s no doubt" that Murray wants to play.

He said Murray told him, ‘Coach I’ve got five more days,’ so I hope by the end of the week he’ll feel good enough to go."

King said Murray threw him "a couple" of deep balls."

"He looked great," Davis said. "Aaron looked good. Moving good, throwing good."

Butler again a finalist for Ray Guy Award

After winning the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s top punter last year, Drew Butler will return to Orlando this season as a finalist for the award.

Blair Walsh won’t be along for the trip this time. Walsh, a finalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2009, wasn’t among three finalists named on Monday for the award for the nation’s top kicker.

The winners are announced at ESPN’s college football awards show on Dec. 9.

Butler, a redshirt junior, is third in the Southeastern Conference and 15th in nation with a 44.95-yard average. That’s down from his nation-leading 48.1 average last year.

Florida’s Chas Henry and Iowa’s Ryan Donahue, both seniors, are the other Ray Guy finalists.

"I’d love to see Drew come back with it for the second straight year," Walsh said. "That would be pretty cool."

Henry leads the nation with a 47.3-yard average. Filling in for an injured kicker, Henry booted the game- winning field goal in the Gators’ 34-31 overtime win over Georgia Oct. 30. Donahue is 21st in the nation with a 44.34-yard average.

The finalists for the Groza Award are Oklahoma State’s Dan Bailey, Southern Mississippi’s Danny Hrapmann and Notre Dame’s David Ruffer.

Walsh is 18-for-21 on field goals, tied for ninth in the nation in field-goal percentage.

Receiver A.J. Green also did not make the cut for Biletnikoff Award. The finalists are Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles and South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffery.

Scouting in person

In the crowd of 42,110 at Bobby Dodd Stadium watching Georgia Tech’s 30-20 win over Duke last Saturday were several Georgia players enjoying the Bulldogs’ weekend off.

The contingent of more than a half-dozen Bulldogs included Murray, King, receiver Kris Durham and linebacker Christian Robinson.

"It was pretty fun," King said. "We just wanted to go check them out. It’s a lot different than watching film."

King said some Georgia Tech fans "gave us a little grief," but others were "cool."

"We wanted to see how big they were and how physical they played and see some of their tendencies," King said.

This and that

Among the 22 players who will be playing their last game at Sanford Stadium Saturday, according to Georgia, are linebacker Charles White and offensive lineman Ben Harden. The redshirt juniors are ending their careers with a year of eligibility remaining. …Upgrading the talent on defense will be a focus in recruiting in the coming weeks. "There are a few junior college guys we’re looking at that we think could give us a lift," Richt said. … Saturday’s captains are all seniors: defensive end Demarcus Dobbs, linebacker Akeem Dent, fullback Shaun Chapas and special teamer Chad Gloer. Other seniors will wear the captain’s "C" logo. … Calling the game for ESPN on Saturday night will be Mark Jones and Bob Davie.

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