“I’m definitely more aware that veryone’s watching your back, no matter what,” said Murray, who is in competition with Mettenberger and Logan Gray for the starting quarterback job this spring. “You really can’t go anywhere without someone knowing who you are and knowing you’re on the football team. so you really have to be respectful to everyone you meet and watch your back.”
Head coach Mark Richt promised the arrest wouldn’t change the even distribution of snaps given to each quarterback this spring, but admitted that a suspension seemed likely – at least one game according to the school’s athletics association’s policy – and once the season grew near, Mettenberger would have to take a backseat.
That could boost Murray’s chances of winning the starting gig, but this certainly isn’t the way he wanted it to happen he said. In fact, any suspension that may be coming hurts all three of the quarterbacks.
“People are probably going to think it’s a good thing that it’s clearing things up, but it’s making us better, the competition,” Murray said. “It’s making everyone work harder.”
Murray said Mettenberger’s attitude since the arrest has been good, and Murray expects the competition to remain strong throughout the spring, but he’s also well aware of the ramifications that come from off-field trouble.
“It’s definitely an eye-opener because not everyone in the world is going to like you,” Murray said. “When you’re a top quarterback at a top university, people are going to try to bring you down. … Athens is a fun place, but there’s a lot of temptation and trouble and you just really have to be careful what you’re doing.”
On the move?
With Mettenberger’s arrest and possible suspension, the future could also be cloudy for quarterback Logan Gray, depending on how the depth chart shakes out this spring.
Gray had considered swapping positions from quarterback to wide receiver before the spring, but decided to stay put for the time being. But Richt left the door open for a potential position swap after spring practice ended, which could then leave the Bulldogs with only Murray and incoming freshman Hutson Mason at quarterback, should Mettenberger miss time due to a suspension.
Tuesday, Richt said a potential suspension for Mettenberger would not necessarily preclude a position change for Gray, but that the bottom line was that Gray could be called upon any time.
“No matter what happens,” Richt said, “he’s got to be ready to play quarterback.”
One of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s projects for this spring is building some depth on the offensive line. With that in mind, he’s been giving more first-team snaps to tackle A.J. Harmon, who Bobo thinks has the potential to be in impact player down the line if he can simply bit a bit of confidence.
“We’re rotating him a lot in with the ones just to get him some experience playing with those guys and get him some confidence," Bobo said. "He moved over at the end of his redshirt freshman year. This is his second spring, and he’s a little bit behind. It’s learning what to do from a confidence standpoint because there’s no doubt he’s got some ability. We just need him to take that on the field and be able to execute offensively.”