Murray is All or Nothing This Season

Aaron Murray took the stage at SEC Media Days to answer questions about the 2012 SEC Championship and his return to Athens.

Aaron Murray may have thought answering questions about the previous SEC Championship game was in the past, but Thursday's Media Days proved otherwise.

Murray arrived on the scene around eight in the morning with a big grin on his face. He's good with media, he's no stranger to the event and he's a recognizable face for Georgia's program. No surprise as to why he's there.

Murray began with a few television and radio appearances before taking a stroll through the crowded hallways of Hoover's Hyatt Regency. He knew the cameras would be on him, so he had ideas of his own. As Murray exited a private radio interview, he pulled out his cell phone and began to video the reporters who were shoving cameras in his face.

"Hey guys, how we doing today," Murray asked. "I'm going to interview you guys today."

Murray was playful and cooperative, as usual. However, he knew the day hadn't even started yet. The tough questions were far from answered. One of the those highly-asked questions concerned Murray's decision to return for his final season.

Murray repeatedly stressed the role the Alabama loss in the SEC Championship game played in his decision to return.

"It was definitely the SEC title game," Murray said. "When you come that close to winning a championship and having a chance to compete for the National Championship it's hard not to give it one more go."

Murray's main reason for returning had to do with the final minutes of last season's conference championship. That game took away Georgia's opportunity to play for the National Championship, and Murray wants it back.

"It would mean a lot," Murray said. "We've come so close and come so far in the past three years. We were five yards away from winning an SEC Championship and competing for a National Championship last year."

Murray has confidence in his offensive unit, but big concern for Georgia fans this offseason has been the departure of its top defensive players. Murray doesn't share those concerns.

"I think our defense is awesome," Murray said. "They're young, but they come to work day in and day out. They're extremely hungry because they know they have the opportunity to come in and play right away."

Along with the respect Murray has for his defense, he shares that respect for another conference foe.

South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney made some comments about Murray being 'scared' of him and his fellow defensive linemen earlier this week. Once again, Murray disagreed.

"I'm not worried about it," Murray said. "I respect the dude. There's a difference between fear and respect."

Murray's demeanor quickly changed when asked about past roommate and future conference opponent, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger. Murray looks forward to Mettenberger's return to Athens.

"It's going to be fun and exciting for him to come back and play in his hometown," Murray said. "It's going to be a great SEC game as well. Anytime you play an SEC game is fun."

Murray's relationship with his former teammate is still existent. Murray said he speaks with Mettenberger often, and even reminisced about the days when the two lived together.

"We were very competitive, no matter what it was," Murray said. "Whether it was on the field or playing a FIFA video game, we would get into shouting matches."

Murray has his sights set on the match-up with Mettenberger and the Tigers, but not until he gets past the challenges presented by Georgia's first two regular season opponents. Georgia opens up on the road at Clemson, followed by a home match-up with South Carolina. Whether it's his competitive nature or just the thrill of facing off against Clowney again, Murray is ready.

"I'm definitely looking forward to starting out with big games like Clemson and South Carolina," Murray said. "Obviously right now we're completely focused on Clemson, but when the time comes for South Carolina we'll be ready to go and well-prepared."

Another big game in Murray's mind, to no surprise, is the rivalry game with his home state. Murray said winning every conference game is essential, but there'a s little added value to the annual Florida game.

"For me it's a little personal because I'm from Florida," Murray said. "I have a lot of friends that go to Florida and there's a lot of trash talk before the game, so you've got to deal with that."

Murray said he is prepared for what this season has to bring, and Georgia will use every weapon in its arsenal to win those crucial match-ups.

"The reason I came back was to win championships," Murray said. "I'm not even thinking about records. If Todd [Gurley] and Keith [Marshall] ran for 100 touchdowns each and we won it all I'd be the happiest man in the world."

Murray confirmed his comments about his willingness to rely on a strong running game when asked about being named to the Preseason All-SEC Third Team. Murray said he knows how loaded down the SEC is with talented passers.

"Very talented quarterbacks up and down," Murray said. "Not even just the three who are mentioned. There is a very deep group of quarterbacks in this conference right now, and it says a lot. Rarely do you think about this many talented quarterbacks in the SEC, but we're pretty loaded right now."

Though Murray may later prove himself to those who voted him third, he just wants to help his team win right now.

"I just want to put our team in the best position possible, play in and play out," Murray said.

For now, Murray continues to watch the previous SEC Championship game in order to prepare himself for another shot at the title.

"Every night it goes through my mind. I've watched that thing four times now," Murray said. "I'm just trying to learn something new every time I watch it."


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