By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Saturday's G-Day game 'a great day for Georgia'
New Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham calls a play Saturday at the annual G-Day game at Sanford Stadium in Athens. - photo by John Kelley
ATHENS — Georgia’s spring football game had moments of excitement followed by a healthy heap of conservative play calling, which is to be expected with an intrasquad scrimmage.

Zach Mettenberger had two touchdown passes for the Bulldogs, Logan Gray threw for another and most importantly Georgia survived its spring football game Saturday with no serious injuries in front of an estimated crowd of 38,700.

The game also had more than its fair share of straight-ahead run plays, which suits Georgia coach Mark Richt just fine after a grueling tune-up for the summer.

“Today was a great day for Georgia,” Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. “It was a great crowd, great weather and very entertaining.

“If you like offense then you liked the first half. And if you like defense, then maybe the second half was more for you.”
One of the two main storylines for the annual G-Day game at Sanford Stadium was this year’s quarterback battle between Aaron
Murray, Mettenberger and Gray. Each of the hopefuls made some nice throws.

Still, the coaches aren’t going to judge next year’s starter based off their performances in one afternoon. They’ll instead rank the QB’s based on the entire spring football session — which is now complete — a pecking order which Richt says is soon

“They all did well today,” Richt added. “We’re going to have to look at 15 spring practices to see where the position is.

“We’re going to release a post-spring depth chart, but that will be after (offensive coordinator Mike) Bobo and I look at the entire spring.”

The most exciting offensive play was on Mettenberger’s (6-for-10 and 150 yards) pass to tight end Arthur Lynch, who bounced off linebacker Shawn Williams at the 10 and scored on a 39-yard touchdown in the second quarter for the black team, which won 17-7 over the red.

Gray (10 of 17, 132 yards) and Murray (9 of 18 and 96 yards) were both fairly even on the day.

“I thought it was a great scrimmage,” Gray said. “It was very beneficial for all of us to get some reps, and I think we all performed well in more of a game-time atmosphere.”

Fans also showed up to see Georgia’s new 3-4 defensive base under its new coordinator Todd Grantham.

Both sides of the defense looked solid, considering how new the system is, and avoided giving up too many big plays to the offenses and limiting the running yardage (184 yards total).

Starting running back Caleb King was held out for precautionary measures after hurting his knee, making way for Carlton
Thomas (59 yards on eight carries) and Dontavious Jackson (11-44) to see more touches.

“The defense played with high energy and did some good, clean tackling,” Richt said. “I was very pleased.”

Richard Samuel, converted to linebacker from running back, was also held out of action.

All three touchdowns during the game came in the first half. Gray’s touchdown pass in the first quarterback went for 7 yards to red-shirt senior wide receiver Kris Durham (three catches, 58 yards), who was sidelined the entire 2009 season with a broken shoulder.

Gray and Durham also connected on a 34-yard pass play in the second quarter.

Tavarres King, a Habersham Central grad, was one of Georgia’s leading receivers on the day with a pair of catches for 45 yards, including a 23-yard pass from Gray on the game’s opening play. Murray’s longest pass was for 22 yards to King midway through the fourth quarter.

G-Day is also the day for the unheralded players to get in on the game: Mettenberger’s first touchdown pass of the second quarter went for 20 yards to Rhett McGowan. The drive started with a 38-yard completion to Rantavious Wooten, a sophomore who is expected to see extensive playing time this season.

The only two fumbles in what was a relatively well-played spring game, came in the second quarter. The game’s only penalty was called in the third quarter along with the only interception, made by Marcus Dowtin on a pass from Murray.

Tight end Derek Rich, a North Hall High grad, had a pair of catches (20 and 30 yards) on a second-quarter drive from Mettenberger. Georgia red-shirt freshman linebacker Chase Vasser, a Chestatee High graduate, had a pair of assisted tackles in the second half.

Murray, widely regarded as the favorite to win the starting quarterback job, saw the majority of the fourth quarter snaps. After the completion to King for 22, he also connected with Washaun Ealey and Wooten, but also had a pair of passes to Orson Charles sail behind the intended receiver.

Georgia’s top returning wide receiver A.J. Green saw limited action but still came away with three catches for 28 yards.

On defense, the most noticeable change came with Cornelius Washington and Justin Houston transitioning to the outside linebacker position from the defensive end position.

Washington finished the game with a pair of sacks and Houston added a sack, which is nothing more than touching the quarterback in the spring game.

“I think the defense did a great job, especially holding the first-team offense (red team) to just seven points,” Houston said. “It was a great confidence builder since they’ve been sticking it to us all spring.”

Three linebackers led the game in tackles: Nick Williams (7), Christian Robinson (6) and Dowtin (6). Darryl Gamble, Bacarri Rambo and Kiante Tripp each added a pass break up for the Bulldogs.

“The defense is coming along great together,” defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. “We are all in this thing together, learning a new system.

“It just shows how much we’ve come together as a group this past spring.”
Friends to Follow social media