Quarterback Hutson Mason admits he's still not as proficient running Georgia's offense as starter Aaron Murray.
Considering he's just a sophomore, that certainly comes as no surprise.
But although there's still room to grow in that important sense, the Bulldogs' top backup at quarterback believes he's capable if and when his opportunity comes.
"As far as knowing it (the offense) like the back of my hand, I wouldn't say I was there, but I'm extremely, extremely comfortable. If I had to go out and play a game, I could do it," Mason said. "I still make mistakes. I strive every day to have a perfect practice, and I've failed since I've been here, so that obviously shows I've got stuff to work on, but just being here for a year, I feel immensely happy about my game, the playbook and just going through install."
"I know my progressions. Anything Coach (Mike) Bobo asks me I can get it. I'm not to where Murray is yet, but I know this offense."
It's that knowledge that Bobo cites when he says that when the Bulldogs open their season in two weeks against Boise State, Mason will be Georgia's No. 2 QB.
During a recent interview, Bobo said unequivocally that the 6-foot-3, 196-pounder will be Murray's top backup, after completing 9 of 17 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown for the Bulldogs as a true freshman.
"Hearing that gives you a lot of confidence. You want to believe that the guy who recruited you, your position coach has confidence in you. You want to make him look good," Mason said. "You worry about what the coaches think of, especially because he's your position coach. I just try to go out every day to compete with myself, to compete with Aaron because I tell you what, if I can push Aaron then I'm pretty good myself."
Bobo said freshman Christian LeMay's day will come.
Along with Chris Conley, LeMay was an early enrollee for the Bulldogs and has used his time wisely to lean the Georgia system as best he can.
But as Mason learned last fall, that's not an easy thing to do.
"Right now he's still trying to get a handle on everything, especially during these first acclamation days. We're installing the whole playbook and we're throwing a lot at him," Bobo said. "He's running everything we're installing. Once we get out of acclamation we'll script more what we're going to do when he's in there and it will be more about what he knows and what suits him. I think you'll see him start to improve tremendously then."
Until then, Mason will be the man and the one likely to be leaned on in case the unthinkable happens and Murray is not able to play.
"It's a friendly competition. I try to push myself first, mentally, if I get tired and stuff like that but I also try and compete with myself and with Murray because he's the No. 1 guy and we're competing for that No. 1 spot," Murray said. "Like I said, I know if I can go out with the 2s against the No. 1 defense and make things happen, plus compete with Murray at a high level, I've got to feel pretty good about myself."
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]