One can argue that Aaron Murray is one of the greatest Bulldogs ever to wear the red and black (at least statistically). Known for playing with incredible heart, Murray is the SEC leader in career completions, yards passing and touchdown passes and is up and down the Georgia record book as well. After college he turned pro and was part of a few franchises as a backup quarterback before retiring from the NFL and is doing a handful of things including broadcasting games for CBS Sports Network.
Recently I spoke with him and asked him a few questions about his time in the NFL, his time at Georgia and what he is doing no.
Dave McMahon - After a few seasons in the NFL, you decided to call it quits… how hard of a decision was that for you?
Aaron Murray - "It was tough… seeing my buddies out there working and having fun… you always got that itch to go out there… but retirement is something that I have been preparing for …. I have my gig with CBS and with Colliers (International) that I enjoy, but I still throw the ball around every now and then."
DM - Who did you learn the most from in the NFL and what did he teach you?
AM - "Alex Smith… He was an unbelievable mentor. His career has had its ups and downs and he has had to deal with so many offensive coordinators and coaches… He has taught me how to be a complete professional."
DM - People talk about how much faster or different the NFL is to college. How would you describe it?
AM - "It definitely is. Defenses are so much more complex. They have a lot more time to scheme. In college you have only so many hours and you have to deal with school as well and in NFL, this is your job… plus the speed increases a lot at every level."
DM - You decided to try broadcasting out and you are covering games for CBS Sports Network and also part of some of the studio shows. How did this come about and is this something you have always wanted to do?
AM - "It is something that I always wanted to do after my NFL career was over. I actually have prepared for it the last few off-seasons by doing some radio shows… Plus it helps being at a big SEC school where I was constantly being interviewed there."
DM - Who gave you the best advice about broadcasting?
AM - "Gary Danielson has been awesome. We got on the phone together and talked about game preparation. He also invited me to be in the booth during the Tennessee / Florida game. Just being in the booth with him and Brad (Nessler) was so helpful especially the way he uses the monitors and how much preparation he does for each game."
DM - Switching to your time at Georgia . You didn’t grow up in Georgia. What was your first memory of anything dealing with the “Georgia Bulldogs?”
AM - "First time I remember watching them was probably the Hawaii game and I saw how great they were. I then went to a Mark Richt camp and talked to their coaching staff and learned about the offenses by (Mike) Bobo and I thought this could be a great place to be and it turned out I loved every minute of it."
DM – Overall, why did you choose Georgia?
AM - "A lot of the same reasons I just mentioned… the coaching staff, the offensive scheme. There was not many negatives at Georgia."
DM - You redshirted your first season. We will get more specific on the current quarterbacks but Georgia’s last two quarterbacks were made starters early into their true freshman season. Do you think you would have been ready for the same role?
AM - "I think I could, but I wouldn’t been as prepared. As I redshirted, I got to see what it was like in some of the other stadiums and their atmosphere. Also I got to go against our first team defense on the scout team and when I threw an interception there were no ramifications compared to being out there for real."
DM - What do you remember about your first game that you played as a Georgia Bulldog?
AM - "I was in awe. I was under center and I couldn’t believe I was doing this. It was a dream come true. I was playing in front of 93,000 fans. It was great. I remember my first pass was to Branden Smith was a little screen that wasn’t thrown too well. My first touchdown was to Kris Durham and it was a fade and I also threw an interception. I got all the experiences. Plus we got the win… it was a special moment for me."
DM - What moment do you remember the most about your career at Georgia?
AM - "It was senior night. Even though I got hurt in the game. It meant a lot to be out there with my family and just seeing and hearing the support the fans gave me and my family."
DM – Where was the toughest place to play?
AM - "South Carolina. Their fans were really got into it especially when they played that song (Sandstorm) and the way their whole stadium was jumps up and down. Also, at Tennessee with just the size of that stadium. It was really difficult to call plays and you had to make sure you were sharp on your hand signals."
DM - Unfortunately you and the team never won the SEC while you were there, but you came close a few times especially one. What was said as a team by the coaching staff or players after that loss to Alabama?
AM - "We all knew that we fought our hearts out in the game. We were the two best teams in the nation and unfortunately someone had to lose. No one pointed any fingers."
DM - You are coming back to Athens for the Mississippi State game as a fan. How many times have you been back to Athens for a game since you left?
AM - "A few times. I was lucky that my NFL schedule had off weeks when Georgia had big games."
DM – What do you miss most about Athens (non-football)?
AM - "The food, the music. It is a great scene. I love downtown and the campus. I love walking around and seeing the history and the beauty of the campus."
DM - Is there a restaurant or store that you miss from Athens that you wish you had where you live now?
AM - "Last Resort. It is a favorite of mine and my family."
DM – Switching to this season’s team. What do you think about the two quarterbacks (Eason and Fromm)?
AM - " I like both guys. They both impress me for being so you and being put in a difficult situation for starting as true freshman. I would go into battle with either one of them.
DM - What does this team need to do to make it to the SEC Championship and win it?
AM - "The offense needs to improve some. They are still trying to find its identity.
DM – Last question. Your brother Josh won “The Bachelorette”. What did you think of his performance and would you ever do a reality show?
AM - "I gave him so much slack for it, but it was entertaining watching him… being on a reality show is not for me."
--- Aaron Murray will be signing autographs this Saturday prior to the Mississippi State game at the UGA Bookstore from 5 to 7. Murray can also been seen broadcasting games for the CBS Sports Network throughout the fall as well as on a podcast with former Dawg Drew Butler called the “Punt and Pass Broadcast”.
Aaron Murray - Stats at Georgia