Sep 10, 2009

The Cox Rumor: A Closer Look

Today has been a strange, confusing day for Georgia football fans. First, rumors appeared everywhere that Logan Gray would start at quarterback against South Carolina due to some type of arm/shoulder problem with Joe Cox. Then, ESPN even picked up the rumor and confirmed that their "source" told them the same thing. Finally, UGA coaches and officials stated that Cox will, in fact, start on Saturday.

I can understand if this was just a rumor started by anyone that got out of hand, but there were multiple reputable websites that reported on this.

The first place I saw the story reported was UGA They claimed to have "three sources close to the team" that told them "Gray in fact took all the snaps with the No. 1 unit Wednesday and appears will start Saturday's game against South Carolina."

ESPN then posted a similar story, that they had a source close to the team who basically said the same thing.

But then, when things almost seemed confirmed, the Atlanta Journal Constitution posted that they received a text message from Coach Mike Bobo saying that Cox would start. And then Mark Richt at a press conference reiterated: "Joe is the quarterback." When asked about the shoulder/arm injury rumor, Richt replied, "What we have been doing with Joe is giving him off Wednesday as far as throwing the ball." His reason? "He's getting old."

It was obviously a joke, but a little concerning to me. According to the media who were present at the conference, Richt never plainly said "Yes" or "No" concerning the arm rumor.

So what's going on? UGA and ESPN both had as many as 4 sources whom they trusted enough to publish their claims as online reports. But even if the only reason these sources were convinced that Gray would start is because he took all of the reps with the first team on Wednesday, why does Joe Cox need to take a break on Wednesdays? Coach Richt's reason is to keep him "fresh," but then he practices on Thursdays.

I'm seeing only a few possibilities here:

1. Joe Cox is perfectly fine, and Coach Richt is just strangely holding him out of Wednesday practice.

2. Cox is having arm problems that the coaches don't want to make public, but he will still start Saturday.

3. The rumors were true and the coaches/team want to keep it a secret.

I know that #3 is unlikely, but #1 doesn't seem to make much sense either. So that leaves #2, which is perhaps most worrying of all. If Cox isn't 100%, why would the coaches still be playing him? Maybe they have a lot of faith that Cox is the best QB we have. But if an unhealthy Joe Cox is that much better than any of our 3 other quarterbacks on the roster, then I am very worried.

I hope #1 is the correct answer here, but that doesn't clear up any of the confusion.

What's your take?

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