After the 2013 season came to a crashing end for Aaron Murray with a torn ACL, the Georgia Bulldogs were forced to think about life after Murray a little sooner than they expected. The senior quarterback has been a fantastic playmaker and leader for Georgia throughout his career but the Bulldogs had to move on in a hurry following his injury. Mark Richt seems committed to junior Hutson Mason as the quarterback for 2014 and the team got a preview of what he can do in their season finale against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. If that game was any indication, expect the UGA offense to pick up the pace in 2014.
Mason became a record-setting quarterback at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Georgia, before coming to Athens in an up-tempo, no-huddle style of offense that pushed the pace. So it was no surprise when Mason took over the offense that he tried to dial up the tempo a bit and looked his best when the Dawgs were pushing the pace. When he stepped in against the Kentucky Wildcats right after Murray’s injury, Mason showed what he was capable of, leading a 43-yard touchdown drive in just 53 seconds while completing 4-of-5 on the drive.
He did it again against Tech after Georgia fell behind 20-0, leading a drive late in the first half with his foot on the gas. After a sluggish start for the whole team, Mason kicked it into gear and led a one-minute drive where he connected on a perfect 5-for-5 passing for 71 yards and ran for a 16-yard gain as well. He capped the drive connecting with Todd Gurley on a 9-yard touchdown pass that got Georgia on the board and closed the gap at halftime to just 20-7 before rallying the Bulldogs the rest of the way in the double-overtime thriller.
Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo recognizes that Mason offers a different look with his ability to run the no-huddle compared the to more deliberate Murray. But he doesn’t see the Georgia offense become the Oregon Ducks or Baylor Bears anytime soon. Mason’s ability to run the no-huddle will certainly become a tool for Georgia next season, particularly with their depth at the skill positions, but Bobo will still adjust the pace depending on game situations to give the team the best chance at winning.
So while Georgia probably won’t put the pedal to the metal all season long next year, having that extra gear to change things up with Mason under center could provide a nice spark to the Bulldogs’ attack in 2014.