First of all, let's just discuss the ridiculous caliber of the 2013 SEC quarterback class. There's Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel; Heisman finalist and three-time BCS National Champion (with a BCS MVP to boot) AJ McCarron; two quarterbacks who have been to the SEC Championship in Aaron Murray and Connor Shaw; and Jeff Driskel, who couldn't quite recover from the deer-in-the-headlights situation at LSU last year, but could emerge as Tebow's heir, as he was once-heralded anyway. That doesn't include LSU's Zach Mettenberger, Ole Miss' Bo Wallace, or MSU's Tyler Russell, all of whom are capable of huge games on any given night and are all threats to string some of those games together in 2013.
The class is stacked, and might have four first-round draft picks amongst them. What the others lack in talent, they make up for in experience.
Aaron Murray is blessed with both. Unfortunately for him, it has mostly been filled with highs during the regular season and lows when it comes to his moment to steal the national spotlight.
“You come up five yards short,” Murray said to Yahoo! Sports in reference to his near-comeback against Alabama in the 2012 SEC Championship, “it’ll give you nightmares.”
It has also become fuel for the fifth-year senior. Murray has taken command of the players' offseason workouts, using strategies he learned while completing his industrial-organization psychology degree. In case you didn't know, Murray is also doing his thing in Georgia's classrooms, studying doctoral level statistics and psychology classes from UGA's internationally ranked PHD program.
Murray applied techniques he solicited from business leaders and gleaned from tape of mic'd NFL players during games to a survey, learned what he need to do most from his teammates and identified leaders within the ranks.
Those guys are his sergeants. They're in control of smaller groups within the squad that work together and keep each other motivated during workouts in the offseason. Since coaches can't be involved in these workouts, Murray has become the official Summer Coach.
"On the flight down here, he was saying how he can't wait until camp starts because he won't have to coach anymore," Richt said at SEC Media Days . "He's been coaching all summer. He says it takes a lot of energy to coach and practice. He's done a super job of organizing our offseason workouts."
There will be many factors that determine who winds up on top in the always-loaded SEC, but Murray will enter 2013 knowing that lack of preparation amongst the troops will not be one of them. When you're preparing for an SEC grind, and Murray knows exactly how tough and unforgiving that can be, the team that has been buying into a player-lead mission all summer has a huge advantage. His career numbers and a decent shot at an SEC title (and possible BCS Title berth) gives Murray as good a chance to win the Heisman as anyone else heading into the 2013 season.