Sept. 27, 2012
ATHENS --- Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense have been creating history this season, becoming the first Bulldogs team to score 40 points in four consecutive games.
Murray said after the Bulldogs' victory over Vanderbilt that the foundation of the offenses success has been the play of the offensive line. For two weeks, Murray has been rewarding his linemen for not allowing a sack. He has rewarded them with ice cream.
"It's awesome, it's just another thing for us to get some more camaraderie," said freshman right tackle John Theus. "We're a great group of guys that love each other and fight for each other. It's just another thing for us to come together, get close and ice cream's good but free ice cream is even better."
Theus makes up one-fifth of the Bulldogs' line that has proved so effective as the Georgia season has progressed. The other four starters are Chris Burnette, Dallas Lee, Kenarious Gates and David Andrews
After Georgia defeated Florida Atlantic without giving up a sack, Murray took his lineman for ice cream to reward them for a job well done. While the Commodores did record a sack on Saturday, the quarterback took the blame, meaning another expensive ice cream trip.
"Anytime you keep your quarterback upright that's our goal as an offensive line. Nobody wants to get the quarterback hit," Lee said. "I guess that's Murray's way of saying thank you for not getting him hit. We're all 300 pounds so of course we love ice cream."
Taking time away from football is important to the relationships of the unit, as well as their relationship with the man they try to protect. It also gives Murray the opportunity to show his appreciation for the five men in front of him.
"I love it, my fiancée can attest that I am an ice cream fanatic. I try to cut it out during the season but Aaron's brought it back on Sundays so that's been great," Burnette said. "It makes you feel appreciated and it's just a good time bonding with the guys on Sunday. It just shows how much we enjoy spending time with each other in general not just on the field. We genuinely like each other."
Burnette's bond with Murray stretches back to the junior guard's freshman season at Georgia, when the two were roommates. The selfless character Burnette has seen in Murray since their primitive Bulldog days is as prevalent as ever according to the lineman. Burnette said his quarterback cares about his teammates more than looking after himself.
While only four games into his Bulldog career, Theus has become an early stalwart for Georgia. Like Burnette, the fact that Murray goes out of his way to help the freshman means a lot to Theus.
"Aaron does a great job and so do all the guys. Whenever I come out rough or have a rough play, they're always going to pick me up," Theus said. "Aaron always shows his appreciation, even if it's not with ice cream."
One of the quieter members of the line, Lee has worked hard to become the regular starter at left guard. After missing the end of last season, including the Southeastern Conference Championship game and Outback Bowl, Lee has once again become an indispensible member of the Bulldogs' new-look offensive line.
Being back on the field allows him to enjoy the perks, including the ice cream. The junior from Buford, Ga., however would prefer his quarterback to keep the meetings a little more private.
"It keeps being more and more people showing up at the designated time because Murray keeps tweeting it," Lee said. "We told him if it happens again you probably shouldn't include the time because people just keep showing up. It's entertaining that he has that much effect on people. It's fun to see."