ATHENS, Ga - Aaron Murray has never been one to dodge the microphones, but the University of Georgia quarterback has adopted a self-imposed gag order as he prepares for the biggest game of his career.
Murray and his Bulldogs are one win away from a shot at their first national championship in 32 years, but for now, the normally talkative quarterback is keeping mum, at least publicly.
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Coach Mark Richt granted Murray's request to steer clear of all pre-game interviews.
Some in the UGA Athletic Department were surprised by the request.
Murray's roommate was not.
"He just wants to focus," said linebacker Christian Robinson. "He's a very motivated person and he wants no distractions."
Meanwhile, the swarm around players still talking to the media is growing. Tuesday's media day drew three times the number of cameras that is typically seen on campus. That includes members of the national media.
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ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski, who was in Athens on Tuesday to talk to Georgia's players and coaches, says he sees something different in this Bulldog team.
"There's a toughness there that wasn't around in previous years," said Wojciechowski. "I would hate to meet them in a dark alley right now."
Georgia played in the SEC Championship game last year, but the stakes were completely different. Unlike last year, a win means Georgia will play Notre Dame to determine who is the king of college football.
Georgia's last national championship came in 1980 when they beat Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.
Stores now have "Atlanta Bound" t-shirts to celebrate this year's trip to the SEC championship game. Sales have been steady.
The manager of the Off Campus Bookstore in Athens says sales of Bulldog merchandise dropped off toward the end of last season.
Not this year.
"Interest has increased," said Eric Harvey. "One more win and it will really take off."
By then, Aaron Murray will have lifted his one man gag order. He plans to talk to the media after Saturday's game, win or lose.
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