April 9, 2011

QBs leave a mark

Saturday's second scrimmage of the spring at Sanford Stadium certainly had an offensive lean, as quarterbacks Aaron Murray, Hutson Mason and Christian LeMay each put up some impressive numbers against a defense still without some of its key performers due to a multitude of injuries.

Murray was 11-of-16 for 125 yards, with a touchdown while backup Mason was 12-of-19 for 192 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. LeMay, meanwhile, completed both of his passes for 67 yards and one touchdown, a 66-yarder to Michael Bennett on a broken play.

"The passing game was huge," said wide receiver Tavarres King, who caught three passes for 77 yards and a score. "We put up some good numbers."

But as head coach Mark Richt was quick to point out, a number of key injuries likely played a role as the first team defense was minus four of its key players - linebackers Christian Robinson and Jakar Hamilton along with cornerback Brandon Boykin and Sanders Commings - each of whom did not play due to concussions.

Linebacker Alec Ogletree (strained hamstring) also sat out the scrimmage, one of 18 players to do so due to various ailments, including running backs Washaun Ealey (hamstring) and Ken Malcome (groin).

"That was part of the struggles, there were just not a lot of guys participating," Richt said. "But fortunately, a lot of those guys we should get back next week. It's certainly not a situation where guys are in danger of missing the season. We should be good."

Richt brushed off a question about the concussions, and whether four at this stage in spring practice was a concern.

"When you hit, you get them," Richt said.

With Ealey and Malcome out, Georgia didn't do much on the ground, with Carlton Thomas leading the way with eight carries for 27 yards, followed by Caleb King with seven for 16.

Bennett led all receivers with three catches for 94 yards, followed by King with three for 77, Marlon Brown four for 57 and a touchdown, Orson Charles three for 45 and walk-on Brandon Harton with four for 33.

Saturday's scrimmage pitted the first team offense against the first team defense with the second units also squaring off against the other.

Defensively, Williams and linebacker Richard Samuel each had seven tackles with Williams getting one of the defense's two interceptions. Redshirt freshman Brandon Burrows had six tackles and one sack while backup outside linebacker Chase Vasser had an interception, a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and a sack.

"The running game didn't do much, but the guys protected pretty good and I thought we caught the ball pretty well," Richt said. "There was certainly sometimes where the quarterback would have been hit, so I don't know how many sacks there would have been or if the ball would have been disrupted. There might have been another sack or two and certainly the quarterbacks would have been knocked to the ground, but we don't allow them to do that."

New format for spring

Instead of pitting the red against the black for next week's G-Day game, Richt will allow players to "draft" each team.

According to Richt, each team will be represented by one offensive and one defensive player, who will take turns selecting until each team is filled.

"I wanted to do this for years but the assistants always talked me out of it," Richt said. "Not this year."

Tavarres King was asked who his first three picks would be if he got to select.

"I've got to have Aaron (Murray), I've got to. Let's be real," King laughed. "After that, I'd have to go with the little man Harton, then I'm getting Orson. That's how I'd do it."

G-Day is set for next Saturday at 1 p.m. Admission is free but fans are asked to bring a food gift for the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, or a donation for injured Georgia baseball player Johnathan Taylor, who is still recovering at the Shepherd's Center in Atlanta.

This and that

Richt said he won't make a final decision regarding a possible redshirt for LeMay until later, but certainly seemed to be leaning in that direction when asked by UGASports. "Probably not. We'll have to go into the fall, but you watch him and you know you recruited the right guy, but you also know he's just trying to figure it out," Richt said. "Somebody asked me if the season were to start today who would be the second team quarterback, but it would not be LeMay. He does not know enough yet, but that's why he came here now and this summer to learn and have a better chance in the fall. He's learning and he's doing good." … Richt said he's been impressed by the progress of Jakar Hamilton, who despites sitting out with a concussion, has apparently made some big strides. "I see a guy who is serious about wanting to earn a starting job," Richt said. "He's spending extra time on his own to try to learn and get better as opposed to a year ago. He's just locked in mentally and really seems to be focused. He knows his window of opportunity is short and he wants to prove that he can do it."

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