Similar queries arose before the North Texas game this season and the Bulldogs were tied in the third quarter before pulling away.
Mason didn’t play until the game’s final minutes and did not attempt a pass. It’s the only game he’s got into this year.
That’s something that receiver Michael Bennett would love to change.
“Absolutely, yeah,” Bennett said. “He’s a good friend of mine, he’s my roommate. It would be really nice to let him get out there and get some confidence going into next year. Hopefully that will happen.”
Mason took a redshirt last season to create class separation from starter Aaron Murray.
“The way I’ve approached Hutson all year,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said, “is that `Tuesday is your game day. Let’s go out there and play like it’s your game.’ And he had a great game today. He’s been getting every week. He’s had a great attitude and really hasn’t got caught up in, ‘I haven’t got to play this year.’”
Georgia’ made a habit of playing close games, which has kept Mason on the sideline.
“He knows the deal,” Bennett said. “It’s Aaron’s team. That’s just the way it is.”
Mason and Murray were in the film room together on Monday breaking down Appalachian State by formations and talking about which plays might work well.
“My goal every week is to get him in the game,” Murray said. “Hopefully dominate a game and let him play and let some of the young guys play.”
Milestone start for Murray
Murray is hitting the big 5-0.
In starts, that is.
Saturday’s game will mark his 50th career start at Georgia.
“Is this it?” Murray asked. “Oh, wow. That’s a lot of starts. It’s definitely an honor to play this long at this type of university for this type of program.”
Murray is on track to own the program record for starts. Kicker Blair Walsh had 53 and quarterback David Greene had 52.
Murray hasn’t missed a game at Georgia.
“There’s always bumps and bruises along the way and I’ve had my share of minor injuries here or there through my four years of playing,” Murray said. “Luckily, knock on wood, nothing serious has occurred. Hopefully it stays like that.”
Murray has left only two games due to injuries—the Auburn game in 2010 when he said he could have returned and one play against Auburn last year. The hit by Quinton Dial against Alabama after an interception was the hardest he’s taken.
“That hurt a lot,” Murray said.
Coaches preparing Gurley to play as usual
Todd Gurley is practicing this week like he’s going to play Saturday, but Auburn awaits next week.
So how will that factor in to playing time for Georgia’s star tailback?
“If he’s healthy enough to play, he will, and we expect him to be healthy,” Richt said. “We still have to practice a couple of days, but it’s a game. Whoever our starters are, we’re going to play them.”
Gurley rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries and had 87 receiving yards against Florida when he went to the locker room in the first half due to nausea. He returned and played banged-up in the fourth quarter.
“He just had the usual soreness in the game and probably not being in the best shape,” said Bobo, who said conditioning and not the ankle injury that kept him out three games was the bigger issue. “He’s got to go out there and work and improve to get in playing shape and we’re expecting him to play and we’ll take it from there, really.”
Richt was asked if Gurley would get in better shape in practice or in a game.
“I think you get your conditioning in practice, mostly,” Richt said. “We’re going to play him according to what is best for the team at that time.”
Murray got flag after he kept talking
Murray wasn’t surprised that he got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct near the end of Saturday’s win against Florida. An official had warned him it was coming.
“He was telling me he was about to throw a flag on me if I didn’t shut up and I just kept going,” Murray said.
Murray, offensive lineman Chris Burnette and tailback Todd Gurley drew personal fouls after Florida’s Darrin Kitchens charged into Burnette after Murray took a knee.
“You don’t really do that,” Bennett said. “That was kind of dirty.”
“That game is really emotional,” Murray said. “There’s a lot of emotions flowing everywhere. Guys are amped up, juiced up.”
After a Murray second-quarter incompletion, he exchanged words with Florida linebacker Michael Taylor. Murray pointed to the scoreboard, which showed Georgia up 20-0.
“I really don’t like talking trash because in high school the one time I did talk trash, the next play is when I broke my leg,” Murray said. “I was like it’s just bad karma so I’m not just supposed to talk trash.”
This and that
Sheldon Dawson became the fifth different Georgia player to return a kick this season when he had 58 yards on three returns against Florida, including one for 29. Richt liked what he saw. “I think he’s really made a good move there,” Richt said. “I’ve got a lot of confidence in him, and he’ll probably be the first guy to return a kick for us in this game. I think he’s catching a little momentum.”
Tight end Arthur Lynch missed his second straight day of practice with bruised ribs. Richt this week called him questionable. That pushes Jay Rome up to the top tight end spot with walk-on Hugh Williams behind him.
As expected, receiver Chris Conley (ankle) and linebacker Reggie Carter (knee) didn’t practice. Defensive lineman Toby Johnson (ankle) also was out.