ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s quarterbacks enjoyed greater success in Saturday’s scrimmage than perhaps at any point thus far in spring practice, but Coach Mark Richt said Aaron Murray and company’s passing statistics might have been a bit deceptive.
Since the quarterbacks are off limits for defensive players to tackle, it's often at the coaches' discretion to determine whether they have been sacked -- and the coaches prefer to let plays continue rather than blow them dead.
“I thought we threw it and caught it a lot better. It started out not very good at all, but as the scrimmage went on, more plays were made,” Richt said. “The other thing too, of course, you’re trying to make a judgment on whether a play would have been a sack or not and you try to err on the side of letting the ball get thrown, so there’s probably a few of those big plays that might have been sacks in a real game or a quarterback knockdown or a hurry.”
Murray completed 8 of 13 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown in the scrimmage, while Hutson Mason went 12-for-19 with 151 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Parker Welch was 5-for-10 for 57 yards and a score and Christian LeMay was 3-for-6 for 28 yards and an interception.
But Georgia’s defense continued to hold the upper hand overall, Richt said, often overwhelming the Bulldogs’ rebuilding offensive line.
“The offensive line is being challenged every day,” Richt said. “As you could see, there still wasn’t a whole lot of room to run the football. When the ball did get moved, it was moved moreso through the air. The O-line’s definitely got a way to go. There’s no doubt about that.”
The Bulldogs were without running backs Keith Marshall (hamstring) and Richard Samuel (concussion), both of whom are questionable to compete in next Saturday’s G-Day game according to Richt.
He added that safety Bacarri Rambo (hamstring) is also questionable for the spring game and that safety Shawn Williams injured his knee in the scrimmage, but team doctors did not believe it was serious enough to warrant surgery. Cornerback Devin Bowman “got the wind knocked out of him” in the scrimmage, but later returned.
Other notes from Saturday’s scrimmage:
* Corey Moore led the defense with nine tackles and an interception. “He did good. He’s coming,” Richt said. “He’s a very aggressive football player when it comes to coming up and making the tackle. He’s a good athlete. He’s learning a lot. He’s getting a lot better. He’s going to have to play for us. He’ll have to function for us.”
* Cornerback Blake Sailors had one of the biggest hits of the scrimmage. “Today Blake Sailors had a real big hit on a little wide flare, really separated the ball from one of our receivers and played real physical there,” Richt said.
* More Richt on the offense’s performance in the scrimmage: “The offense made more plays than they had all spring long, but the defense still is pretty stout,” he said. “Again, if we were playing live football, how many of those balls would have gotten thrown, I imagine a few of those would have either not gotten thrown or would have been disrupted.”
* Richt said nose guards John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers -- and the defensive line in general -- have been highly impressive this spring.
* Richt said David Andrews, Chris Burnette, Dallas Lee and Kolton Houston have played center at points this spring.
“We want to make sure we’ve got enough guys that can snap the ball in the heat of the battle and then just keep practicing and keep evaluating them and try to decide who’s going to be the No. 1 guy,” Richt said. “It’s been kind of a round robin. We haven’t settled on anybody yet.”
* No decision has been made on how they will divide the rosters for G-Day, Richt said. Last year the players were allowed to draft teams themselves -- an option Richt said “is still open for debate.” He said the coaches will likely begin settling on rosters early next week.
“I kind of want to see how we came out of this scrimmage just to see where we’re at,” Richt said.
Statistics provided by UGA from Saturday’s scrimmage:
Murray 8-13, 125 yards, TD
Mason 12-19, 151 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Welch 5-10, 57 yards, TD
LeMay 3-6, 28 yards, INT
Brown 5-90, TD
Scott-Wesley 5-38, TD
Bradberry 4-72, TD
Erdman 3-23, TD
Moore 9 tackles, INT
Wilson 7 tackles, sack, pass breakup
Drew 5 tackles, sack
Geathers 2 sacks
Vasser 6 tackles