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June 8, 2009
ATHENS, Ga. - Yes, fifth-year senior Joe Cox will be Georgia's starting quarterback when the Bulldogs open their season at Oklahoma State.
But that doesn't mean backup Logan Gray isn't pumped about the opportunity that sits before him.
"First of all, I'm just excited to be in the competition," Gray said. "Joe has been around for a long time, he knows the ropes and he is the leader of the team right now. He's always helped me out, but I'm going to get in there this summer, work as hard as I can and try to compete with him.
"I think that's the mentality you have to have. Even though Joe is probably at the top right now you have to always think like you never know when you're going to get your opportunity, when you're going to get your shot. You've got to prepare every day like you're going to be the guy playing."
Coach Mark Richt is confident that Gray will do an excellent job.
Although he played sparingly in a couple of mop-up roles last fall, Richt said he has seen enough of Gray in practices and in scrimmages to feel comfortable with the Missouri native as the backup to Cox this fall.
"Logan knows the system, so we're not worried about that," Richt said. "But he also brings another dynamic to the position that we haven't had for a couple of years."
Even if he doesn't beat out Cox, Gray suspects offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will design a package or two to get him in the game.
"We haven't talked about it too much, but that would certainly be something I would aspire to do," Gray said. "But the main thing I have to do now is just show the coaches what I can do, what I can bring to the program so they can trust me to put me in some situations like that. It's certainly something that I would like to happen."
Gray certainly appears in shape to handle the task.
After a case of mono his freshman year caused him to drop to approximately 165 pounds, Gray played at 183 pounds last fall and enters summer practice at approximately 195.
"I've put on about 10-12 more pounds on me than I did last year," Gray said. "I can still gain more. I'd like to add about five more, I guess. It's always been hard for me to gain weight."
Gray won't have to worry about special teams for the immediate future.
Last year, Gray saw extensive action as a punt returner and was used as a gunner on kickoffs, but those days now appear to be in the past.
"I think for now unless something happens, that's probably it," he said. "I'm just going to focus on quarterbacking and getting better every single day that I can."
Although Gray jokes that he hasn't been around as long as Cox, he said he feels that his knowledge of Georgia's intricate offensive system is just about where it needs to be.
"I feel like I'm finally getting pretty comfortable. It's funny. I use to be the guys asking all the questions; now the other guys are asking me questions," he said. "Obviously I can still improve and learn. I'm still asking Joe questions every now and then, but all winter I've been studying my playbook, just to make sure I know everything from the front to the back. You can always learn, but I'm finally getting to the point where I don't have to ask questions about stuff."
Gray just hopes that time with the books will pay off with time on the field.
"It might have took me a little longer than it should have because Matthew [Stafford] and Joe were always in front of me and getting all the reps, so I didn't get quite as many," Gray said. "Now, I'm excited to be out there getting a ton of reps and hopefully go out there and just compete."