Mason Wants Intensity

ATHENS - Quarterback Hutson Mason has been the backup guy for a while now with Aaron Murray on the team, but that hasn't taken away from his on-field intensity.

Georgia had its first scrimmage of Fall Camp on Wednesday. Mason hit on 12 of 18 pass attempts for 197 yards and a touchdown. Murray threw for 198 yards and a touchdown as well, but also threw three interceptions. If positions were based on unofficial opening scrimmage statistics, it would seem Mason was the starter, but that's not the case.

"There's always room for improvement," Mason said. "There were a couple of throws I missed that could have made it a better scrimmage. Those are the ones that really leave a sour taste in your mouth."

But Mason's numbers were solid; better than Murray's even. Shouldn't the backup be proud of that? Mason sets high expectations for himself, but more importantly for his teammates.

"You don't want to just do good, you want to do great," Mason said. "We'll get back in the film room and fix it."

Mason did point out his positives from the first scrimmage, which consisted of staying mobile and creating plays for the second team offense.

"I think I made a lot of plays and extended some plays today," Mason said. "I think I threw the ball well on the run today."

On top of that, Mason tried to bring something to the entire team that it has lacked of late… a spark.

"I tried to bring some enthusiasm and passion," Mason said. "I tried to push the guys and be uptempo. I tried to go fast."

Of course, the offense did just complete its first day of two-a-day practices on Tuesday. Maybe that's the reason for its flat play throughout the first scrimmage.

"I don't know if that's because it's day seven of camp, but everyone's tired physically and mentally," Mason said. "I'm tired, but it's no excuse. We've got to have better upper class and senior leadership, whether you're a starter or a backup. You can only go as far as the leaders on your team can go."

There is leadership on the team, whether it's in the older guys or a few first-years who just like to get the team fired up. Coaches try to push for the team to get fired up as well, but coaches alone aren't enough to inspire a team.

"Coach [Mike] Bobo always tells us it can't be coach-driven enthusiasm," Mason said. "It has to be player-driven. We hear so much yelling from the coaches that it does get tiring, so we need upperclassmen to step up and tell people when they're not doing their job."

As far as Mason's concerned, doing his job is running every defense he faces off the field, whether it's against first or second stringers.

"That's what I'm going for," Mason said. "Am I going up against the best defensive guys I can go against? Whether I'm with the ones or twos, I want to go against the best guys."

Mason said he was a little discouraged by what he saw from the first team offense in the scrimmage. Whether it was caused by fatigue or just bad rhythm, Mason said there was no excuse for the first team offense to come up short today."

"The one offense was going up against the two defense and there are a lot of guys on that defense who are third string and second string guys because of injuries," Mason said. "That really makes no excuse for not dominating. It's more of a reason for us to be putting up big numbers."

So who won the scrimmage you ask? Mason offered his opinion on the matter, and post-game stats say he's more than likely right.

"The defense played better than us today," Mason said. "Some days you have that. Not every day is going to be great, but we'll come back out and fix it. We'll be ready for the next scrimmage."

Mason's attitude toward helping his team hasn't changed, though. He still takes every snap like he's fighting for the starting job. The junior referred to the Bible verse Colossians 3:23 when describing his attitude toward his playing time situation.

"To do all my work and do it for the glory of God and not for anybody else," Mason recited. "There are a lot of things you can't control out there. I can't control my reps, but I can control my effort and my attitude. I can control how I push the other guys, whether that's the ones or twos."

Mason said his fellow backups feel the same way, and everyone is trying to nip at Murray's heels for a chance to play.

"Me and the backups are competing for a backup position now as well as a starting job," Mason said. "It has to be something you train yourself to do. A lot of small things done right are what equal greatness and success. It's cliche, but it's very true."

The backup guys can't wait for Murray to leave to work hard for playing time. It has to start now according to Mason. No one comes to college to ride the bench.

"I take it as everyday's a competition," Mason said. "Next year when Murray's gone you're not going to all the sudden flip the switch and have to compete. You're competing from day one when you step out here as a freshman."

There's only one way for Mason to reach that starting role.

"I try to just give it my best," Mason said. "Preparation and opportunity equals success."

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