Huntindawg asks: It seems like Murray struggles in a scrimmage every year, particularly the first one of fall camp. Do you feel that his struggles are due to defense normally being ahead at this point in fall camp and how does this year compare to others?
Well we are a few weeks later, and Murray sure did pick it up. After his Murray-vs-Florida-like performance, Murray picked it up in a big way in scrimmages… at least that's what Mark Richt, Claude Felton and the rest of the Bulldog football industrial complex would have us believe.
Aaron Murray is going to have to do it this season. There are going to be times during the year where Georgia needs him to win the game. That didn't happen against South Carolina in 2012, but in every other game of last season Murray did what he needed to do to get the job done. In some games he was the reason, and the only reason Georgia won the contest – a Murray-less Georgia squad wouldn't have beaten Kentucky or, frankly, Florida last season.
We all pay attention a ton to what Murray does – that's what we do – he's one of the most relevant players nationally in college football. The scrimmages are all gone – its go time for Murray now.
Even though he has been listed as a starter we have not heard a lot about Bailey or Thornton. Do you think they will remain starters throughout the season?
I think both Michael Thornton and Sterling Bailey will both hang on to their spots as starters, but they will rotate a ton. In my opinion that duo is not as talented as the two guys they are replacing, but that's OK. There are a slew of ways to be effective on the football field. This season Todd Grantham will rotate on the defensive line a fair amount… if we are to believe what we have seen and heard during August.
Will UGA have the best offense and/or running game in the SEC?
Not the best, but the 2nd-highest scoring being A&M. The run game will be in the top four this season…
Green isn't quite as good as Sanders, no, but he's very effective. I watched Camden County a lot the last two years, and Green made a lot of plays for the Wildcats. I think he makes his name in silver britches on special teams.
Are there any players that you know didn't participate greatly in summer workouts?
Not really, no. That's really not well publicized.
While spending time around the team, what seems better or worse about this year's squad versus previous years? Good and bad?
This is an older bunch across the board with the exception of the safeties. That's the one thing I would say. Guys like Murray, Gates, Andrews, Mitchell, Swann, Lynch, Lee and so on have been around the block. A lot of experienced guys… just not at safety.
If you had one day left on earth, where would you eat your last meal in Athens and what would it be?
I'd probably eat with my family at either the Grill (for old time's sake), or at Johnny's on the eastside. Just a pizza there; a malt at the Grill.
What redeeming and endearing qualities did Fletcher have that you dream about late at night?
How are all the injured coming along? I know this was touched on earlier in the week, but do you feel we will use some of that speed in the returns this year (punts) or go the safe route again like in the past (fair catches)?
For the most part, and I think people need to remember this in the future, Georgia is pretty healthy for this game with Clemson even though they've dealt with a slew of issues during August…
I'd expect a lot of Rhett McGowan with Malcolm Mitchell sprinkled in there when a big play is needed. Just go back and watch the Florida game of 2012… that's the game where it was all on the line. That's the game you need to see what Georgia will do, and who they trust when the game matters at a high level. Mitchell was out there returning punts against the Gators.
Who do you see so far that might get some meaningful snaps at carrying the ball this fall out of the 3 freshmen rbs?
That's still hard to answer. Right now I would go with Brandon Douglas in the short term, but A.J. Turman in the long run. We will see. This is the one position I am having a very, very difficult time figuring out. The short answer is that whoever the #3 is won't see the field much…
Are UGA posters and fans just more "half glass empty" than other fan bases. IYO, what is the most pessimistic SEC fan base? Rank Possibly>?
I think Georgia is the most pessimistic for sure. I'd rank them, but I really couldn't say. I just know that Georgia fans are abnormally pessimistic compared to its winning percentage.
Why do Tech and Chicken fans think UGA fans proclaim winning the Natty every year in the preseason if I never see it? Drugs and high fat food making them dizzy at the Varsity and at the coop!
I don't know any Tech fans, so I don't know what you are talking about… they have "fans"? Oh, South Carolina… the delusion never ends. But who isn't that way in the summer?
You know what? Good for them. Ignorance is bliss.
Anyway possible to sign the top forty recruits in the state of Georgia each year so that our fans will think that the coaching staff knows how to recruit?
That's impossible on a slew of levels – as you know. The better question would be: is there a time in the future where Georgia and Georgia Tech could both lock down 30 of the top 40 players in state? I'd say the answer to that would be no – at least as things stand right now.
If a faded red shirt looks pink, what does faded purple look like?
It looks like awesomeness times two.
Does the team look to be in better shape than in years past (going by the pictures they do overall)?
Not really, but I think it is going to seem that way because of the rotation of players on the defensive side of the ball. I do think that Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall "look" better than they did last season – which is really saying something. I have no expectation that Marshall will have a better 2013 than Gurley, but I do have an expectation that Keith will have a better 2013 than his 2012.
Is it time to start getting really nervous about Safety for the Clemson game given the suspension of JHC and Tray Matthews missing an entire week of contact?
I do think this is the spot of weakness for sure heading into the Clemson game. Tray Matthews is not going to play four years of football at Georgia… yes, he's that good, but is he that good this quick? That's the issue. Connor Norman is going to get the start (likely), but how much will be play over the course of this game? Safety is the spot to be concerned about for sure.
Is it possible that if all UGA's safeties are suspended or injured that we would play with just 9 guys on defense?
I would have to consult my rulebook, but I think the defense does not have to have 11 players on the field. Seriously, could Georgia win a game with only nine guys playing defense against the likes of North Texas? I think probably it could, but that's something that would be interesting to see. I really don't have a witty response on this one – it's beyond me at this point. Safety is a bad situation right now – maybe not as bad as we are making it, but bad enough.
I was just wondering what you've seen or heard on Christian LeMay. I just don't see that guy getting any serious PT with the guys in front of him. Is there any chance there for a position change?
It's been a tough road for LeMay, but he's not done anything to make me think he's going to change positions. He's a quarterback. I don't see him playing anything else. He's at one of the top quarterback-producing programs in the country… really one of the top programs on that front in the last two decades.
Basically, he's Blake Barnes… and that's fine. He's still got time to figure out how to get the starting job, and he entitled to do that. But Brice Ramsey is going to be difficult to hold off, and jumping Hutson Mason might be just as difficult. He's just stuck is a tough spot, but I don't see him moving positions.
As you see it right now if Clemson was tomorrow. Give me your starting line up offense and defense.
Will Ramsey take masons job from him next year at some point?
Wow, that's a great question – and a tough one. Probably not, but I wouldn't rule it out. We just don't know how "good" Ramsey will be at this time next year. Does experience beat out talent every time? How good is Ramsey? Wait a second… how good is Mason?
We don't know. We do know that in the long term Ramsey is the better prospect, but next year isn't the long term.
Here's what I expect as of the end of fall camp at Georgia in 2013: I expect Hutson Mason to go into spring as the starter. I expect Brice Ramsey to challenge him to get series in the fall. I don't expect Ramsey to beat out Mason in the spring, but that's possible. I do expect Ramsey to play meaningful snaps in 2014, but I expect Mason to be the starter, and when people say: "Georgia's quarterback" they will be talking about him. But, damn, keep an eye on Ramsey – he's very, very good. The buzz around him will continue to grow until he actually plays.
If you did not do what u did for a living what would you do?
Hopefully something that pays a little more – maybe a baker?
What's a better will ferrel movie? Step brothers or anchorman?
Come on man – Anchorman… and that's not close.
Could you take fletch in fisticuffs?
Come on man – Yes… and that's not close.
What will UGA's record be after the first four games? Or first three SEC games.
I'm just going to be a straight homer and say 4-0; 3-0. Dawgs figure it out – they could certainly lose end the month of September with one win… that would be an adventure.
How would you game plan against the big guy in SC that is afraid of Aaron Murray (or at least that is the way I heard it)?
I think you just hope Clowney has a bad night, but you throw everything that makes sense at him – and maybe some stuff that doesn't make sense in hopes to contain him some. The best thing is this: get a lead of some sort and run the ball. Or run the ball right at him – make him play all night.
Have you ever seen a better game than UGA vs AL last year?
I was talking to Claude Felton about a day or two after that game about that very subject. No, I have not seen a college football game that good in person ever. Georgia has played some nutty games, but none were as "good" as that one was. That was the best game in the last few years period. People keep talking about the 2011 field goal game between Bama and LSU, but that game wasn't for everything.
The 2012 SEC Championship Game was terminal – the winner was going to win it all, and the loser… well the loser was going to be the hell out of whoever showed up in Orlando.
The 2012 SEC Championship Game was a classic in every sense of the word.
Why do people outside of the SEC continue to think they have a shot at the national championship game when the best game is in Atlanta each year?
They always have a "shot" because they get to play the game (except in 2011), and this could be the year when things fall in a way in which the SEC could lose its stranglehold. But until it happens it is going to be hard to believe.
Will the SEC repeat as national champions this year and how long will this continue?
Probably; there's really no telling. Since 1992 the SEC has won the national title about every other year. The truth is that the 1980s – when Georgia was the only SEC team to win it all in the decade – was an anomaly. Take away Nebraska's wonderful run in mid-1990s, LSU's upset of Tennessee in the 2001 SEC Championship Game and USC of the early 2000s (actually… they already did take that away), and the SEC could have even more titles.
It is amazing the lengths at which football is important more here than anywhere else. It's just not the same. I can't figure it out – but its not the same at all.
Why does Steve Spurrier whine so much? Is he getting too old to properly throw a visor?
You know, he's got a bad hip, and that's effecting a lot of his mobility… I think he can't put as much effort into it as he once could. On the whining front – I really don't know the answer… he's always been that way, but he's got more to complain about now than when he was at Florida.
Have you bought any signed autographs from any Texas A&M sites or players lately?
I got the dog (is it Lassie?) to pawmark the game program at the 2009 Independence Bowl – Joe Cox then took it and threw it in the fire to keep the Dawgs warm on the sideline. Thanks Joe. I hate you. That was a keepsake of my time in Shreveport (may I never be forced to return).
Does Fletch realize yet that he was trained by Scout.com legends or is he still in denial?
Only years later does the young padawan learner understand the way of his Jedi master.
PayneHall comes back with:
Will Fletcher Page intrude into the discussion of this mailbag? Is there no limit to his insecurity?
No, there is no limit to his insecurity – and he doesn't appreciate your doing that. And I am told his mother doesn't appreciate you saying that he intrudes, either.
This one time I was eating with "Big Fletch" (as he calls himself) in a north Georgia town that shall remain nameless (but rhymes with Piawassee – which, as I understand it, is Indian for get that red-headed boy out of here before I shoot him for messin' round with my daughter), and everyone came up to him and asked him how he was doing… this that and the other – like me or anyone there really cared.
When I said to him: Who are all of these people? He said that they all "loved him" and that he was the finest writer ever to have come from the hills and mountains of Piawassee. When I pointed out that he was the only one from that area who knew how to read he just looked at me, cross-eyed, and tried to stop drooling while saying: "Hey man, my mom loves me. And my dad told me every day I went to high school how great I was."
High School? Those were the best nine years of Fletcher Page's life.
Look out Fletcher… Ryne Rankin is coming to hurt you, and I am going to hold you down while he does.
Well, that's if for this version of the modified mailsack. See you on the flipside… until then: