Q&A: Georgia QB Hutson Mason to get his first taste of SEC road

ATHENS — Hutson Mason has now played in 14 games in his Georgia career and will start his fourth game at quarterback for the Bulldogs on Saturday at South Carolina. But he’ll also be breaking new ground when the Bulldogs take the field at Williams-Brice Stadium as he’ll be making his first start on the road in the SEC.

And that’s different.

“Until I talk to y’all I don’t really pay that much attention to it,” Mason said to reporterss during UGA’s weekly media day on Tuesday. “But at the same time you can’t not address having to operate in crowd noise like that. And so we’ve been getting a few drives at the end of practice with crowd noise every day and we’ll do a lot of crowd noise stuff this week.”

Following are some of Mason’s thoughts he shared about Saturday’s game and the season so far. …

On preparation for noise in Williams-Brice Stadium …

Mason: “It’s just different because your snap count changes, your communication changes. It becomes a whole lot harder to tell the O-line what to do when you’re standing from me to you and they can’t hear you. So it takes a lot of sitting down and saying this is how we’re going to do it and make sure everybody’s relaying information. … Those guys have to be able to relay and communicate on their own. That’s the kind of stuff they’ve been working on.”

On coach Mark Richt’s characterization of Saturday’s game as a “bloody fist fight.” …

Mason: “I think it’s pretty true. You know, it’s an interesting game. We’ve kind of got some confidence and some swagger going into it. South Carolina didn’t start off like they wanted to, but they got better in the second game and I don’t expect them to be really the same team that we watched playing against Texas A&M. Each game they’ve gotten better and you can see that watching film. They’re understanding more of their identity and teams like that are dangerous. They’re playing at home and that’s a real tough place to go. One or two things go their way, as we’ve seen in recent years, it’s hard to get the ball turned our way. Every SEC game is that way, but it seems like that one is always a physical, downhill, tough game. You know, may the toughest man win. We’ll see how it goes.”

On Georgia’s offensive struggles over the years in Columbia. …

Mason: As the leader of this offense, I’ve just got to stay in the bubble as far as ‘this is what we have to do to win this game.’ I know history says so-and-so or whatever and I think that just speaks to what a tough place it is to play they have over there. … I mean, I recall what past games were like, but I’m not going through the film library looking for the 1997 Georgia vs. (South Carolina) game. I might go back as far as the current defensive coordinator has been there or something like that. But I’m not driving myself crazy over what happened several years ago.”

On relationship with South Carolina QB Dylan Thompson …

Mason: “He was a guy I met in the recruiting process. He was kind of like me, wasn’t really highly recruited. He was starting a Christian organization over there and he contacted me here at Georgia and that’s where we really became good friends. So we’d trade texts and stuff, and then we went to the Manning Camp together. So we have a pretty good relationship.”

On if he’ll ever have a full complement of receivers …

Mason: “I know they’re going to be back. It’d be nice to have those guys in the two biggest games early in the season. But if we can get through that now, it will really just pay dividends for our team in learning how to win. It wasn’t pretty in the pass game in game one and who knows what it will look like Saturday. But we have guys out there right now who can get the job done. It’s not the Barnum & Bailey Circus out there. We’ve got guys that I trust and who have made several plays for us – Chris, Reggie, Jay Rome, Bennett, Towns – all those guys have made lots of plays over their career here. That gives me more confidence and it’s my job to go pat some guys on the back and tell them to keep their heads up and keep my head up, too. We’ve got guys who can make plays.”

On how to attack South Carolina’s defense …

Mason: “We’re still trying to figure that out. You know, we have our game plan in and we’ve been able to rep our stuff. … I’m trying to watch film every chance I get to find out areas we can attack and areas where we have the advantage. We see areas we can attack both in the pass game and in the run game. But sitting behind a computer screen with a remote and going out there and actually do it are two different things.”

On kicker Marshall Morgan. …

Mason: “I saw him out there working hard all summer. You don’t really notice hard work from a kicker because they’re so weird and so behind the closet. They play X-Box. Sometimes it’s like they’re not even on the team because they’re not there so often. But this summer I can’t tell you how many times I saw him just out there kicking by himself and doing accuracy drills. It’s paid off for him and he’s a great guy. I’m happy for him. Hopefully he can keep it up.”


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