With Murray in starting role, Mason simply waits

Unless you’re Aaron Murray, being a quarterback at Georgia isn’t the most ideal situation to be in right now.

That’s where Hutson Mason finds himself as he prepares to redshirt his junior season in hopes of creating separation between himself and the current starter. Mason, the former Lassiter High School standout, wants the team to strive, even if it means he won’t see playing time in 2012.

“He wants to help the team as much as he can and he’s shown that day in and day out,” said receiver and Mason’s roommate Michael Bennett. “He’s continued to do a great job because he knows the offense backward and forward. I feel for him because I think he can (start) anywhere.”

Mason is a victim of circumstance. Timing just wasn’t on his side when he chose to go to Georgia. He said he’s grown drastically from it, though, and is glad he made the decision to stay in Athens.

“This is just where my heart is,” Mason said. “It was harder for me to think about leaving than it was to think about staying, even though it might not be the ideal situation right now.

“When I came in as a freshman, I wasn’t a very patient person and I’ve learned to develop that. I’m definitely more anxious (about starting), but I’ve developed more patience. I’ve learned a lot in the three years I’ve been here.”

Mason confirmed that he, head coach Mark Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have discussed in-game circumstances where he may be forced to void his redshirt status. Though he wouldn’t go into the specifics of the coaches’ plans, he said it would only be if Murray went down injured.

Third-stringer Christian LeMay, however, will likely get playing time this year, regardless of Murray’s health. Richt hasn’t said much else about how he intends to use LeMay.

“Our plan is to line up with (Murray) as quarterback and try to win the game,” he said. “We don’t have a plan with Christian like we might have had with (D.J.) Shockley back in the day where we knew we were going to play him in the first half. We’ll just see how the game goes and sub if possible.”

Bennett said he’s seen improvements in LeMay’s play since his arrival in Athens last year.

“Christian came in a little confused last year but he’s getting a better grip of the offense and really started to sling that ball,” Bennett said. “He’s got a really strong arm and really starting to show it off. It’s pretty impressive.”

Bobo echoed Bennett’s comments.

“He’s doing a good job and continuing to get better. Like I’ve said and like Coach Richt has said, Hutson Mason is the No. 2 guy and Christian is trying to get ready to play if called upon,” Bobo said. “The other two guys have performed better at this point. LeMay has done a good job, but we feel good about the top two guys.”

Editor’s note: A passage continaing incorrect information about the number of prior African-American starting quarterbacks has been removed. In all, there have been five: D.J. Shockley, Quincy Carter, Wayne Johnson, James Jackson and Joe Dupree, according to the University of Georgia Sports Communications Department.

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