|Aaron Murray says his coaches made the right call in Atlanta. (US Presswire)|
The moment that Aaron Murray's final, fateful pass in the SEC Championship Game was tipped by Alabama's C.J. Mosley into the hands of Georgia wideout Chris Conley -- ending the game without even one additional shot into the end zone after first-and-goal -- the second-guessing of Mark Richt began.
But Murray came to his coaches' defense on Tuesday, saying that not only did he support the decision to call a play, but that the play-call would have worked if Mosley hadn't made what might be fairly called the biggest play of the 2012 college football season.
"Oh, it's a touchdown," Murray said of the play minus Mosley's intervention, per the Macon Telegraph. "It's a 50-50 ball. The guy's facing
"I don't see any problem with the play call at all. It's not like we were designed to throw a short pass. It was a fade into the end zone and either a catch or an incompletion."
As he had done previously, Richt reaffirmed his decision not to spike the ball.
"If you run a system where you're used to going fast, it's no big deal. You just run the next play. If you spike it, you give [the defense] a chance [to get ready]," Richt said. "The problem wasn't the play; the problem was that the ball was tipped."
Richt's explanation and Murray's support won't do much to stop the second-guessing, of course; a quick spike might have even gotten the Bulldogs a third shot at the score. And if Richt is right that a spike would have given Alabama time to set its defense, the Bulldogs' ever-so-slight delay in getting the play in, the players aligned and the ball snapped suggested they could have benefitted from a mental regrouping, too. That Mosley was able to get close enough to Murray to bat down a fade makes that argument even more compelling.
But in the end, whatever decision Richt made or whatever play-call came in from the sideline, it was going to come down to execution. On that play, it was Mosley who executed and the Bulldogs who didn't.