September 4, 2010

Mason, Gray thrilled with first touchdowns

Quarterback Hutson Mason and wide receiver Logan Gray sat just five feet away each other in the team interview room following Saturday's 55-7 win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

It certainly seemed apropos.

The Bulldog' victory was one neither will forget as Mason's first pass as collegian went for a 26-yard strike to Gray, the first touchdown of the career for the former QB.

"I'd say that's a pretty good way to write it," smiled Mason, who became just the seventh quarterback in NCAA FBS Subdivision history to have thrown a touchdown on their first career passing attempt. The only other Bulldog to throw a touchdown on his first pass was former running back Thomas Brown against Florida in 2005.

"I didn't even know I was going to throw on the first play, much less a touchdown pass," Mason said. "Coach (Mike) Bobo called it from the sideline and I said 'let's do it.' Logan was my second progression; the rest his is history."

Gray's probably still smiling.

It's been a difficult season for Gray, who was beaten out in the spring by Aaron Murray for the starting quarterback job.

After considering a transfer, Gray decided to return after coaches told him he could play receiver. Saturday's scoring catch made the decision look like a wise one.

"It's been a long journey. I played quarterback here for three years, so this is just about as exciting as it can be," Gray said. "The first person I saw coming off the field was Aron White, one of my best friends, and I think he might have been even happier than I was. It certainly brought a smile to my face."

Mason said Bobo told him on Wednesday that he would likely begging into the game.

The question was when.

"He let me know earlier in the week," Mason said. "I feel like I've prepared myself well for this opportunity. I knew the game-plan; I knew what to do. It was just a matter of when I was going to get my shot."

To be safe, head coach Mark Richt admitted after the game that the team actually worked Gray out some at QB. Although the Missouri native showed little signs of rust, Richt re-affirmed that Mason will remain the No. 2 quarterback.

Suspended Dawgs to return

Richt declined to comment on the status of receiver A.J. Green, who was held out of Saturday's game while he awaits word on his status from the NCAA.

However, Richt did give the go-ahead regarding three suspended players - Washaun Ealey, Alec Ogletree and Tavarres King - who sat out Saturday's contest following their recent arrests.

"Washaun I talked to and basically he's done everything I've asked him to do. He had a very good attitude today and was in the game encouraging his teammates and unless something stupid happens between now and the next ball game, we'll be readying him to play," Richt said. "Tavarres will play. Alec, I don't think he will have a suspension and we did plan on playing him. We haven't regrouped and talked about it but I think he might have been starting or the No. 1 backup on four of our kicking teams. I think we're still looking to play him."

Richt wants improvement from offensive line

Georgia rushed for 184 yards, but Richt said his offensive line's run blocking left a lot to be desired.

"It was good, but it was not dominant. I thought it left a little to be desired. Again, we'll have to look at the film because sometimes the back doesn't hit it where he's supposed to hit it," Richt said. "Sometimes in the first game you'll see some looks that maybe you didn't prepare for. Sometimes you run into some things that are brand new, but from my vantage point I don't think they threw a lot of stuff on us that was brand new. I think when we look at the film we'll realize we should have and could have run better than we did."

Carlton Thomas led the Bulldogs with 61 yards on 13 attempts, followed by Caleb King with 10 carries for 47 yards.

Injury update

Left tackle Trinton Sturdivant didn't play due to a stomach virus, but other than that the Bulldogs appear to have escaped the game unscathed.

"Other than some bumps and bruises, I think we're ok," Richt said.

This and that

True freshmen T.J. Stripling, Derek Owens and Alexander Ogletree were the only true freshmen to see action Saturday. … Wide receiver Kris Durham honored Quintin Banks by wearing his teammate's No. 31 jersey. Banks retired last month after re-occurring knee issues. A different Bulldog will wear No. 31 in each of Georgia's games this year. Durham further honored Banks by setting career highs in catches (five) and yards (83). … Branden Smith became the first Bulldog to start at wide receiver, defensive back and special teams (kickoff coverage) since Champ Bailey in 1998.



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