Georgia has decided against an Aaron Murray Heisman campaign to start the season, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on Thursday.
UGA’s associate athletics director for communications Claude Felton, who is one of the nicest guys in the business, said he’d let Murray speak for himself in 2013.
“Today is a different age than the days of what many remember and what is perceived a as the traditional ‘Heisman Campaign,’ ” Felton said in an e-mail on Thursday. “The most important things in my view are name recognition, being on television, and playing well when you are on TV. Name recognition is not an issue with Aaron, who has been around now four years.
“He’s the only QB in SEC history to throw for more than 3,000 yards three consecutive years already. Virtually all our games are on television. Three of our first four games this fall are against teams potentially in the nation’s pre-season top ten–Clemson, South Carolina, and LSU. We’ll see how things stand at the end of September.”
Notice Felton doesn’t say Georgia ‘won’t’ run a Heisman campaign for Murray, but he adds, ‘We’ll see how things stand at the end of September.”
I have a couple of different theories on why Georgia is not running the campaign.
First, remember, Aaron Murray gets tired of talking with the media. He doesn’t like the attention and wants to avoid distractions. Remember when he didn’t talk to the media leading up to the SEC Championship Game and everyone thought it was a big deal? He wanted to concentrate solely on the game then, and he wants to concentrate solely on the season now. He returned to Georgia for one reason only: to win a championship, not a Heisman Trophy.
Felton doesn’t say whether UGA advised Murray or even asked his opinion, but I bet they did. Murray has given so much to Georgia, the least they could do in return would be to strike up a Heisman campaign for him at his request. I’m confident Murray added his input.
Secondly, Georgia has two Heisman candidates, not one. In addition to Murray, stud running back Todd Gurley will be in the thick of it, especially if he has the type of year he had last year and Georgia keeps barreling toward a championship.
If Georgia runs the gauntlet of Clemson, South Carolina and LSU, I am forced to believe the Bulldogs’ athletic department will not only run some sort of campaign for Murray, but for Gurley, too.
In a semi-parallel comparison, Louisville isn’t running a campaign for Teddy Bridgewater either, at his request. In a completely opposite situation, Northern Illinois is running a massive campaign for their quarterback, Jordan Lynch, which features a website and Twitter account.
In the past, athletic departments have marketed players by putting up billboards, sending out bubblegum, t-shirts and even binoculars for Ray Rice and dumbbells for Dan Persa.
But Murray already has one of the top pedestals of any quarterback in the country by playing for Georgia, who will compete for a national title in 2013, and he doesn’t need any more preseason hype clouding the brain.
He enters the season with 10,901 yards and 95 touchdowns and will go on to set virtually every SEC passing record this year. You can see all the records he could break in 2013 here.
The last thing Murray needs is some Heisman propaganda as a distraction, and the last thing he wants is for you to ask him about it.
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