March 13, 2009

Focus: Quarterbacks

Media and fans can debate from now until the season-opener against Oklahoma State what kind of quarterback they think Joe Cox will be for Georgia this fall.

Only time will tell about that.

But there is one thing Cox can guarantee, he's going to bring his own brand of energy to the position he can now call his own.

"I think I'm going to be able to bring some fire to everybody. I'm a real rah-rah kind of guy," Cox said. "I've always been that way and that's how I play. If I can just transfer that feeling to a couple of other players then it could spread like wildfire. I've always looked to guys like Bret Favre and how he goes out there acting crazy on the field. That's the guy I want to be when I play."

Nothing against former quarterback Matthew Stafford:

The strong-armed Texas native will likely be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, but Stafford was more of a quiet leader, someone who preferred to let his actions on the field do his talking for him.

Not so with Cox, who said other than his on-field demeanor, fans won't notice much difference between Georgia's offense from last fall

"I don't think it will change at all. We still have the same type of guys and it always hurts when you lose two superstars (Stafford and Knowshon Moreno) and another one in Mohamed (Massaquoi), but the good thing about football is once somebody leaves somebody has to step up and we've got plenty at every position. We're looking forward to getting started as soon as we can," Cox said. "I think it's going to help not being preseason No. 1. We've got to earn everything we get this year and I think that's going to bring everybody together and hopefully get everybody on the right track."

Cox is determined to make the most of his opportunity and said he cannot wait to hit the practice field when Spring Practice gets underway Tuesday afternoon.

"We're going to have to have a good spring," Cox said. "It's been tough, the waiting. I was talking to one of my friends saying it feels like I haven't played football for 10 years. But I'm excited about it."

Head coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs couldn't have a better man to lead Georgia into the post-Stafford era than the Charlotte, N.C. native.

Considering he's approaching his fifth season in the Georgia system, its easy to understand why.

"Someone is going to have to knock Joe out of the box the way I see it right now. Joe absolutely understands our system very well and he's a very accurate passer," Richt said. "He's similar to D.J. Shockley in that even though he wasn't a starter he's one of the leaders of our football team."

Richt isn't forgetting about Logan Gray, who will be a redshirt sophomore in fall.

Gray missed a lot of time working with the quarterbacks last season due to his time on special teams, but with his ability to hurt opponents with his legs as well as his arm, the Missouri native will get his first real shot to show what he can do.

"Of course Logan is very talented so it's going to be interesting to see him do his thing in the spring, too," Richt added. "But right now Joe is the No. 1 quarterback although we'll see who wins the job going in."

True freshman Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger will get a crash course as well.

"They'll get thrown right into it," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "There's going to be a lot those guys will have to absorb in the 15 days we have for practice. It's going to be interesting to see how they respond."

Cox said he will give the two what ever assistance they can.

"I've already been working with them quite a bit," Cox said. "Both guys have a ton of talent it's just a matter now of learning the system, which is something I'll help them with as much as I can."

Stafford gave Cox some words of wisdom himself.

"I think the No. 1 deal is you've got to have fun with it. There are a lot of media and pressure in situations that can really bog you down and make this situation not as fun, but it's still a lot of fun," Stafford said. "The guys that we have in our program to play quarterback are fully-equipped to take over. They'll add their own little twist to Georgia and I'll be excited to watch them play."



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