ATHENS — Aaron Murray manages to stay upbeat, even during the tough times.
If the Georgia quarterback is feeling any pain, he hides it well.
"Fake it until you make it, I guess," Murray quipped this week, managing to roust one of those familiar smiles.
While in the midst of what is shaping up to be his best season statistically, the fourth-year junior has endured plenty of setbacks — all of them, it seems, piling on about the same time.
First, there was a four-touchdown loss at South Carolina, which again denied Murray a signature win. Then, he returned to Athens to find the rented home he shares with teammates had been egged and covered in toilet paper, apparently by irate fans. Finally, the worst news of all: His father had been diagnosed with cancer.
"Probably the worst 12 hours of my life," Murray tweeted at the time.
He hustled off to Tampa, Fla., to be with his dad, who underwent surgery and is doing well. Then, after getting stopped for speeding on his way back to Georgia (of course!), it was time for Murray to put all his personal issues aside.
"As the quarterback, I've got to make sure I have a high energy level no matter what is going on in my life," he said. "I've got to make sure I go out there every day in practice and run around, yelling and screaming and having fun. I've got to make sure that my guys see I'm ready to go."
On Saturday, Murray will get another chance to fill the biggest hole in an otherwise impressive resume when the No. 12 Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) face third-ranked Florida (7-0, 6-0) in Jacksonville.
Despite his gaudy numbers — which include more than 8,000 yards passing and a school-record 75 touchdowns — Murray has yet to lead Georgia to a victory over a Top 10 opponent.