One of the singular moments of Georgia's opening game victory was on the one hand not of great import, but on the other was potentially of defining significance in the Bulldogs' future. It came when Hutson Mason threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Logan Gray late in the third quarter.
That the Bulldogs were able to take dominating control of the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana Lafayette early on allowed for Aaron Murray to emerge with a satisfactory showing and earn a respite on the sideline to create playing time for his understudy.
No one but an opponent on game day is allowed to make physical contact with college quarterbacks. Nonetheless, you never know when there will be an assault from the blind side; a cleat gets caught in the turf and stresses a limb or joint; or a follow through brings the quarterback's hand in contact with a helmet. Every little bit of game action is a move toward seasoning for the young quarterback who may be summoned in an emergency.
The call for the double post route was given to Mason by offensive coordinator, Mike Bobo on the sideline. There is a calmness, an ever-readiness, a savy and a compatibility with the surroundings-even if things are crashing about-that has given the offensive coaches confidence that Mason will be able to measure up when he is called on.
First time out, first play and he throws a touchdown pass. But up in the handicap section in the West stands, his mother, Kelly Mason, missed it. Blame that on technology. She was sitting with her mother Patsy Hutson. Friends back home were watching the game on TV and texted Kelly to say, "Looks like they are going to put Hutson in." She relayed the messages to her mother. Friends Dorothy Finger and Ginger King, sitting on the other side of her mother asked, "What did you say?" Kelly repeated the information. Then she refocused from all the distractions and saw Logan Gray reaching for Hutson's throw.
This is a new experience for the family. If serendipity ever kissed a family, it has flat laid one on the Masons. Mike Bobo gave me the story of Hutson's near sprint from a 170 pound string bean of a quarterback with a so-so arm to a confident backup which strengthens Georgia's quarterback position and has allowed Logan Gray to concentrate on contributing to the team as a wide receiver.
There is plenty to appreciate about the Mason family, who is enjoying Hutson's success with humility. All honors go to the heart, not the head. Jack Thompson, a teammate of mine living in Dahlonega, called to tell me about Kelly's first Bulldog game, revealing that until Hutson's interest in Georgia, Kelly was an avid Tennessee fan.
"She was my secretary the last six years I was with Digital Equipment Corporation. She is a very nice person," Jack said.
Kelly had a physically demanding day on Saturday, unwittingly parking on the East side of the stadium and having to push her mother in a wheelchair to the West side so that they could get in place for the DawgWalk. These challenges aside, it was a memorable day for Kelly, her husband Kirk and daughter Ariel.
"When I first saw Hutson, I realized he needed to grow and develop arm strength," Bobo said. "He was not a prospect initially, but he gained ten pounds his junior year and came to our football camp. I saw tremendous improvement.
"Then, as a senior, he gained ten more pounds. Now he is 190 pounds. He threw for a lot of yards at Lassiter High. He reminded me of David Greene and just has a knack for making plays."
The consensus of the coaching staff was to redshirt Mason, but when the team lost Zach Mettenberger and Logan Gray opted to play wideout, opportunity knocked for Mason.
"He competed his rear off," Bobo said. "He has earned the right to be No. 2. He just keeps making plays. He plays relaxed and is not bothered by anything. We like his potential."
Kelly, who speaks with a warm and delightful chuckle, which reflects engaging humility, added: "We have a strong faith and are overwhelmed. We were blessed last Saturday."