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October 10, 2012
To say it's been a crazy past couple of days for Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray would be about as big an understatement as you could make.
Saturday was bad enough after Murray and the Bulldogs lost to South Carolina 35-7, only to return home and find that his house had been egged and rolled with toilet paper.
But that was just the beginning.
Sunday morning, Murray's father Dennis informed him that he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
Fortunately, the news is good.
Wednesday, Aaron Murray addressed the media for the first time since after the game on Saturday.
"We found out Sunday and my brother (Josh) and I pretty much got in the car and drove to Tampa right away," Murray said. "Surgery was on Monday so we were up all day and all night, and he got out today which is great. He's doing well."
Murray said his parents actually attended Saturday night's game in Columbia, and told him of the diagnosis at Murray's house Sunday morning.
"They still hadn't gotten all the facts, and they really didn't find out until Friday the day before the game," Murray said. "They wanted to know they had everything down for sure until they told us and wait for the bye-week so it would not be too much on my mind."
Head coach Mark Richt said he felt for what Murray had to endure.
"It's never a good time to hear about your father. I had a situation like that, but what it does is get everything in perspective," Richt said. "After what had happened with the game, then to find his house was bad, but it paled in comparison to hearing about his dad. Still, in some ways I think the news probably helped in some ways for him to get over the South Carolina game and move on."
Murray said doctors completely removed the thyroid. The elder Murray will return to see doctors in a few weeks to make sure the cancer has not spread to other parts of his body.
The quarterback is just glad the entire ordeal from this past weekend is over.
"It was rough, between the game which was definitely not our best performance, then to go home and find out our house is egged and TPed. It was tough," said Murray, whose weekend was capped off by a speeding ticket while passing through Gainesville, Fla. "We know the majority of our fans, 90 percent, are with us through thick and thin, but to know that someone would do that it really is disturbing. Then to find out the next morning about my father just about made my head explode at that point."
Linebacker Jarvis Jones missed his second day of practice Wednesday while recovering from a sprained ankle.
Also, backup offensive lineman Xzavier Ward had to leave drills during the first period to work with a trainer on one of the adjacent stationary bikes.
Richt also said that two players suffered what are believed to be minor injuries during Wednesday's practice, but would not elaborate. Georgia's policy this year is for coaches not to comment on injuries.
When will Drew see time?
Richt was asked if sophomore defensive end Ray Drew is ready to start playing a larger role on defense.
Apparently, not right now.
"Not at this point," Richt said. "They're still playing the guys they feel that are most ready to play. You won't find a more likeable guy than Ray, but right now he's not at the point where he's earned as much time as he would probably like. But that's why you practice and when he does get an opportunity, he'll have a chance to earn more playing time."
One player who does appear to be rising up the charts is defensive end Garrison Smith.
Smith has played in all six of Georgia's games, but Richt said Wednesday that moving forward the junior would "likely see more time."
"He'll probably start getting more rotations than he's been getting," Richt said.
This and that
Richt said the team had a "fun day" in full pads. "We treated it like spring football, we've got a lot to get better at, and we wanted to go live and tackle," said Richt. "You take a risk when you do that in mid-season, but we're not competing this Saturday so we scrimmaged a bit today. It was great competition, and I think the guys enjoyed it."