The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

November 26, 2012

Murray imposes media blackout for SEC title game

— ATLANTA (AP) — With Georgia one win away from playing for a national championship, quarterback Aaron Murray has suddenly imposed a media blackout.

The school said Monday that Murray met with coach Mark Richt and got permission to be relieved from his media responsibilities leading up to the Southeastern Conference championship game between the third-ranked Bulldogs (11-1) and No. 2 Alabama (11-1).

The winner of Saturday's game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta will advance to face top-ranked Notre Dame for the BCS title (12-0).

Murray has always been one of Georgia's most accessible players, usually meeting with the media on Tuesdays and after games. But he gave a hint that his approach would change when he didn't hang around following last week's win over Georgia Tech, appearing to catch the sports information staff off guard.

One of his best friends, linebacker Christian Robinson, said Murray simply wants to make sure his entire focus is on beating the Crimson Tide.

"I don't think this has anything to do with the media," Robinson said. "I don't think he's trying to send message. It's just something he decided to do this week as far as being prepared."

Murray, a fourth-year junior, is the nation's top-rated passer and the first quarterback in SEC history with three straight 3,000-yard seasons through the air. But he has struggled at times in Georgia's biggest games.

In the Bulldogs' lone loss this season, a 35-7 blowout by South Carolina, Murray completed only 11 of 31 passes for 109 yards, including an interception. He was just 12 of 24 for 150 yards against Florida, with three interceptions, but the defense bailed out the Bulldogs in a 17-9 victory.

Robinson, who shares a house with Murray, said the quarterback spent the entire day Sunday studying film at the football complex.

"He's a great competitor," Robinson said. "I know this one means so much to him. He works his tail off every day. People don't see that sometimes. He just wants to be completely ready and not have any distractions. Sometimes, talking to the media takes a little time away."

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