LeMay makes strides in backup QB race


ATHENS, Ga. -- On a largely drama-free G-Day, Christian LeMay and Jay Rome combined to provide a reason to pay attention in the waning moments of Georgia's spring game.

The two redshirt freshmen connected on a 66-yard touchdown pass with 59 seconds to play, pulling their Black team within a point of the Red team at 32-31. LeMay's two-point pass attempt to Rhett McGowan glanced off the receiver's fingertips, allowing the Red to escape with a victory, but the sequence was big for LeMay, who hopes to become the Bulldogs' backup quarterback this fall.

"It doesn’t matter if I'm playing checkers, I want to win," LeMay said. “I was like, 'Hey, guys, we're about to score.' I believe that if we have any time left on the clock, we can score -- especially with the offense that we have and the players.

"I just saw Jay on the route, liked the matchup, and Jay made a great play. I can't wait to see the replay on it. He made a great play and ended up in the end zone. We were just a couple inches away."

LeMay ranked among the afternoon's offensive standouts, completing 7 of 10 passes for 154 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He led the offense on five drives, two of which ended with touchdowns and one with a field goal.

Red team defensive end Garrison Smith also deflected a LeMay pass, which Ramik Wilson intercepted and returned to the Black 11-yard line, setting up a field goal.

Overall, however, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt liked what he saw from the youngster, who went 3-for-4 for 55 yards -- including a 26-yard completion to Rantavious Wooten and a 21-yarder to Taylor Bradberry -- on his first possession under center.

"I thought LeMay showed a very nice touch at times," Richt said. "The first square-in that he threw, or crossing route that he threw, he hung that one in there -- and I was standing right behind him on that one. That was very well protected and a good route concept, and he did a good job of throwing the ball on time and on the money."

LeMay went 3-for-6 for 38 yards in last spring’s G-Day game, just three months after enrolling early and participating in spring practice. He said he feels considerably more comfortable guiding the Bulldogs' offense a year later -- which was exactly the goal for his second spring on campus.

"It was different for me just because it was another year in, a couple more plays that have been added to the memory bank and I'm a little more comfortable," LeMay said. "I'm just going out there with a better understanding of the offense, a better understanding of the receivers and how they're thinking and what they're going to do.

"Just over a year's time you would hope that you would learn something, so I was just going over there and showing what I learned. I feel like I did an adequate job, but a quarterback's job is never done."

Richt reiterated after G-Day that the coaching staff's goal is for junior Hutson Mason to redshirt this fall to provide a year of class separation between himself and junior starter Aaron Murray.

That leaves the competition open for LeMay, freshman signee Faton Bauta and walk-on Parker Welch to battle for the backup job -- a competition that began in earnest this spring. LeMay said he leaves spring practice with an overall positive feeling about the progress that he displayed in that time.

"There's always points where I'm going to look back on the film and say, 'Why did I do that?' But you're going to have those moments," he said. "The thing is, you want to learn from it. So I'm just going to go back and get into the film room and learn what I can do to improve and get ready for this upcoming season."

LeMay has also begun this spring to generate trust between himself and his skill players, after working with them only sparingly last fall. Rising senior receiver Tavarres King said he is seeing an increasing level of confidence from the redshirt freshman quarterback.

"I like what I see out of him," King said. "He's playing with a lot of confidence. I feel like at that position, that's what you've got to play with. In this league, that's what you have to play with, so I'm very excited about what I'm seeing from him."