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Questions answered for Dogs, sort of
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More coverage of Saturday's G-Day game
ATHENS — Going into the Georgia spring game Saturday, two burning questions seemed to swim in the minds of the Bulldog faithful.

The first, just who was going to be starting at quarterback for Georgia in September?

The second, would the switch from the 4-3 defense, which features four down linemen and three linebackers, to the 3-4 defense, which features the opposite, create the desired high-pressure, attacking defensive effect in Athens?

After Saturday only one of those two burning questions still remains: who’s going to start at quarterback?

To attempt and answer that question, the Bulldog faithful might want to look through the statistics of the game.

After all, stats never lie.


Junior Logan Gray, who has been in offensive coordinator Mike Bobo’s system the longest, was the first quarterback on the field for Georgia, starting for the red team.

Gray’s first pass was a 23-yard completion to red-shirt sophomore Tavarres King. After two rushes by sophomore Washaun
Ealey for a net gain of two yards, Gray once again took to the air.

This time the Gray-King connection failed and junior Drew Butler came on to punt the ball away.

So, in his first series, Gray was 1-for-2 for 23 yards in five plays. Not bad.

After the punt, the guy who’s seemed to be the leader in the quarterback chase, red-shirt freshman Aaron Murray, took the field directing the black offense.

Murray’s first play from scrimmage was a four-yard completion to sophomore wide receiver Rantavious Wooten.

After a Dontavius Jackson rush of nine yard, Murray dropped back for another pass.

Unfortunately, Murray was sacked by senior defensive tackle Brandon Wood for a loss of eight yards.

A Jackson hand-off then resulted in a 13-yard gain. Murray’s third pass-attempt was an incomplete to red-shirt freshman wide receiver Rhett McGowan.

Trent Dittmer, a senior from Cartersville, came in for a 26-yard punt.

Murray, in his first series, was 1-for-2 with four yards and -8 yards rushing.

Gray and the red team came back on the field with 7:01 left in the first quarter.

In the series, Gray was 2-for-3 with 12 yards and a touchdown. He also had a ten-yard scramble on a third down and seven.

That’s a good series by any standard.

Murray came back on the field with 1:33 left in the first quarter. In his last series of the quarter, Murray was 1-for-1 for -4 yards in a three-and-out for the black team.

So, at the end of the first, Gray was 3-for-5 with thirty-five yards passing, a touchdown and ten yards rushing. Murray was 2-for-3 with zero yards passing and -8 yards rushing.

In the second quarter, red-shirt freshman quarterback Zach Mettenberger took the field for the first time. Mettenberger was considered second on the depth chart by most coming into the spring game, where he directed the black team to start.

Mettenberger went 2-for-3 for 58 yards and a touchdown in his first series of the spring game to leave the score tied at 7-7.
Gray’s third series of the game began with 8:21 left in the first half.

During the series, Gray was 1-for-4 with -2 yards rushing. The drive ended with a missed 61-yard field goal from Blair Walsh.
Mettenberger came back onto the field with 5:08 left in the half. His first pass, to tight end Derek Rich from Gainesville, was completed for 20 yards. Mettenberger’s second pass of the series was batted down by Darryl Gamble from Bainbridge.

His third pass, once again to Rich, was complete for 30 yards. Unfortunately, sophomore defensive back Shawn Williams forced a fumble which was recovered by Jeremy Sulek of the red team.

Once again, Logan Gray took the field directing the red team. During the ensuing series, Gray went 3-for-4 for 33 yards.

However, Carlton Thomas lost the ball on a forced fumble by Demarcus Dobbs and Mettenberger and the black team took over with :23 left in the first half.

Twenty-three seconds turned out to be more than enough for Mettenberger, who completed a 39-yard pass to tight end Arthur Lynch, who then rumbled in for the touchdown.

At half, Gray was 7-for-13 for 102 yards and one touchdown. Murray was 2-for-3 for zero yards and Mettenberger was 5-for-7 with
147 yards and two touchdowns.

At this point, a front-runner seemed to be emerging and that trend continued.

In the end, the final quarterback statistics read Logan Gray, 10-for-17 for 132 yards and one touchdown. Aaron Murray, 9-for-18
with 96 yards and an interception and Zach Mettenberger, 6-for-10 for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

Based on these stats, Bulldog nation should be confident in assuming that Mettenberger will be the starter on opening day.

Not so fast.

Coach Mark Richt said after the game that he and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo would not only evaluate the spring game, but all the spring practices before deciding who a frontrunner was.

That’s one question still unanswered.

However, one of Bulldog nation’s burning questions seems to have been answered Saturday.

On the defensive side of the ball, coach Todd Grantham’s new 3-4 defense had one interception, two forced fumbles, two pass breakups, seven sacks of the quarterback and six tackles for a loss.

A pretty good defensive stat line, even if it was only an intrasquad scrimmage.

But the most important defensive stat of all may be found in the assisted tackles. For the last several years there have been worries that the Bulldog defense has been keen on the big hit. Focusing more on the one-on-one highlight tackle in the open field
instead of the more gang-like tackles which usually lead to less yardage for the other team.

On Saturday, there were 49 assisted tackled for the two defenses compared to 45 unassisted tackles. Although the two numbers are close, the trend definitely seems to be that the Georgia defense is coming to the ball in numbers, instead of one-on-one.

Justin Houston, a junior defensive end from Statesboro put it best, “I think the defense did a great job.”

While the quarterback question will remain up in the air until next week, it seems the question of the defense has been answered.
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