For the first time since 2009, someone other than Aaron Murray will be the starting quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs this season. Murray claimed the job as a freshman, and never let it go, becoming one of the legendary quarterbacks in Georgia football history. Murray also set several Southeastern Conference records in the process.
Now, however, Murray is gone to the NFL, and it’s time to find his replacement. When Murray went down near the end of last season with a knee injury, Hutson Mason started in his place.
Mason was solid, but certainly not spectacular, in his two starts at the end of the 2013 season. Overall, he connected on 60.9 percent of his passes for 968 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
In a bowl loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Mason was 21-of-39 passing for 320 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.
Mason has been Murray’s backup for three seasons, and he has patiently waited his turn. Mark Richt will certainly give Mason the first chance at the job, and Mason will likely be the man behind center.
But Richt and his staff also must look to the future. Mason has only one season of eligibility left, which means Georgia will likely be searching for another starting quarterback next offseason.
That is why Richt and the Bulldogs would be well-served to get redshirt freshman Faton Bauta into the game often this season. First of all, the playing time will benefit Bauta when he could become the starter next season. And secondly, because Bauta would bring a change of pace to the game for Georgia. Mason is more of a pocket passer, but Bauta can make plays with his legs and his arm, which could make the Georgia offense more dangerous this season.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.