“The most common thing I get is: ‘You need to eat more,’” he said with a chuckle.
So he does – seafood, steak and potatoes… the way they “do it back in Missouri.”
Still… seafood for a guy from the heartland? Don’t put Logan Gray in a box – and don’t put him at wide receiver – at least not after this spring.
That experiment ended after Mark Richt, perhaps giving in to way too much peer pressure, allowed offensive coordinator Mike Bobo to put their probable future starting quarterback in at wide receiver during some spring practice. Slightly skeptical, Richt was fine with the move – until Gray got injured. No more wide receiver (for what it’s worth Richt still allows the seafood).
Gray enters the 2008 season firmly in a back-up role at quarterback behind entrenched starter Matthew Stafford. But that doesn’t mean Gray won’t play. The Missouri native, Richt has indicated in the recent past, will get some playing time this fall. What’s unclear is how much and in what role. At a minimum he will have to earn playing time over junior Joe Cox, who is listed as the number two quarterback.
Rotating, or at least sharing time, at quarterback is nothing new for those wearing silver britches. David Greene swapped in and out with D.J. Shockley for three years. Joe Tereshinski, Cox and Stafford all got at least one start in the 2006 season. So it’s not improbable that Gray will get out there in the fall – although him starting seems unlikely.
“I think things have really gone well for me with the coaches bringing me along,” Gray said. “I had an idea that I was going to redshirt last year coming into it, but I’ve been able to learn the system without getting thrown into the fire. I don’t think I lost anything by redshirting.”
Gray indicated that he paid attention to the signal callers in front of him in 2007. He hopes that will give him leverage for a productive 2008.
“I learned a lot from the older guys,” he said. “I was able to watch Matthew and Joe on the field to see how they do things. To see Matthew react during a game situation is a good thing for me. I didn’t know how things were going to be because this was my first year.”
And what a first year it was. From the ups and downs of September and early October to the Blackout and Sugar Bowl later in the year – Gray picked a good time to be a Bulldog. But a good year for Georgia didn’t prevent Gray’s home-state Tigers of Missouri from doing well, too.
“I heard a lot about Missouri. I was proud of the guys from my high school that played there. I am happy for them, but I am glad I am here,” he said. “It never bothered me because I wanted to leave. Even if I didn’t have a chance to play college football I wanted to leave Missouri to get away for college.”
The only problem with being so far away from home is getting back home – something Gray wishes he had the ability to do more often.
“The biggest thing for me is that I can’t just get into the car and go home. You can’t just get into the car and drive home for the weekend. You have to stay here. You don’t get to see your family as much as you would like, but they have been very supportive,” Gray said.
Gray said that it took him some time, but that he finally “caught back up” after being behind because of contracting mono last summer. He arrived on campus about this time last year, which is a month later than most of his peers.
“I think mono did effect my 2007 season,” he admitted. “I got down here late and started off by playing catch-up. I didn’t get as big as I would have liked right off the bat.”
That’s ok because now, coming into the season he knows he can impact, Gray is tipping the scales at 185 – a far cry from what he showed up at last year. So maybe that seafood (and other food) diet is working well, even for the guy who grew up nowhere near the sea.