August 14, 2013

No. 1 units shine


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Although there are obviously still aspects of his team's played that need to improve before the Aug. 31 opener against Clemson, Georgia head coach Mark Richt said he is starting to see some positive signs.

That includes the play of his No. 1 offense and his No. 2 defense, both of which apparently had some impressive moments during Wednesday night's second scrimmage of the preseason at Sanford Stadium.

"When you do like we did and go ones versus twos, you hope that you're No. 1 offense is going to have a pretty good go against your No. 2 defense and vice-versa, and that's about how it's gone," Richt said. "If your second offense was thrashing your No. 1 defense then you've really, really got a serious problem, but that's not the case. I think both No. 1 units did a good job."

The statistics would appear to bear Richt out.

Offensively, quarterback Aaron Murray enjoyed a solid outing, completing 14 of 18 passes for 173 yards with one touchdown, and one interception, while backup Hutson Mason completed 9 of 19 for 107 yards, and like Murray, also threw for a touchdown and a pick.

Freshman running back Brendan Douglas led all rushers with seven carries for 50 yards, with Keith Marshall rushing six times for 39 yards, J.J. Green 9 for 34 and Todd Gurley 5 for 33. Gurley scored a pair of touchdowns and also caught three passes for 72 yards.

"Brendan Douglas was very impressive today. He ran the ball very well and ran with power. He ran with some vision and he continued to pass-pro pretty well," Richt said. "He's not perfect in that area. There was one time he should have gotten out on a route. That's another thing in the pass protection assignments, sometimes you've got to know and when to do that and one time he stayed in when he should have gone out."

Malcolm Mitchell led all receivers with four catches for 58 yards, while Michael Bennett and Blake Tibbs each caught a touchdown.

Defensively, safety Josh Harvey-Clemson led all tacklers with seven stops and three pass breakups, with Leonard Floyd adding four tackles, including a tackle for loss.

Toby Johnson recorded the game's only sack with freshmen Brendan Langley and Shaq Wiggins each intercepting passes, along with Lucas Redd and Kennar Johnson. Langley returned his pick for a 48-yard touchdown.

"I thought Brendan and Shag played well. (Langley) also had a fine breakup off a fade in the back of the end zone that would have been a touchdown had he not jumped up and batted it way. On the Pick-6 he had he did a good job breaking on the ball," Richt said. "Both those guys have pretty good ball skills so when you can get a bunch of corners who can put themselves in position to make a play, and they snatch the ball like a receiver it's great. They're pretty confident kids coming out of high school."

Richt also had kind words to say about Floyd, who missed last week's scrimmage following his recent hand surgery.

Wednesday night, he was clubbed up and ready to go.

"Leonard moved very well. Leonard created some issues," Richt said. "He's very talented and I think he's going to be an outstanding pass rusher. Playing with the club didn't help him tackle, but he did fine."

Overall, Richt was happy with what he saw with the scrimmage.

"I thought we had a lot more energy this time than last time, and we should have. We had Sunday off, we had Tuesday off and we just had short kicking practice on Monday so it gave everybody a chance to really be fresh and they showed it," Richt said. "Both No. 1 units won the day, although there was a drive that the No. 2s took down the field, got it inside the five before the No. 1 defense forced them to kick a field goal, which was big."

Perhaps the biggest news of all came afterwards when Richt said team trainer Ron Courson came up to him and reported there were no additional injuries in the nearly two-hour scrimmage.

With just one scrimmage to go, Richt's assistants will now go about the business of grading the film before finalizing the depth chart.

"We've got to grade it, obviously, so it will be a day or two before we start to figure it out but it won't be exact until probably next Wednesday," he said. "When we have that practice game, we'll have a really good idea how we're going to line up."

NOTES: Richt had said he expected to have some news on offensive lineman Austin Long who has not practiced this year, but afterwards said he did not. "I'll let you guys know when I hear something." … Safety Tray Matthews (right shoulder sprain, left hamstring strain) and Corey Moore (right knee sprain) did not scrimmage. Others on Georgia's post-scrimmage injury list included Davin Bellamy (left thumb, limited), Reggie Davis (right knee sprain, limited), Marc Deas (elbow, out), Shaquille Fluker (illness, out), Tim Kimbrough (right knee sprain, out), Rhett McGowan (right ankle sprain, out), Jay Rome (left ankle sprain, limited), A.J. Turman (right knee sprain, right ankle sprain, out), Chase Vasser (left ankle sprain, limited) and Rantavious Wooten (right hamstring strain, limited).

Statistics

Rushing: Douglas 7-50, Marshall 6-39, Green 9-34, Gurley 5-33 2 TD. Passing: Murray 14-18-1-1 173 TD, Mason 9-19-1-1 107 TD, Ramsey 3-11-2-0 65, LeMay 1-5-0-0 5. Receiving: Mitchell 4-58, Bennett 1-8 1 TD, Lynch 4-35, Erdman 3-21, Gurley 3-72, Tibbs 2-21 TD, Douglas 2-31. Nine others had one catch. Defense: Harvey Clemons 7 tackles (3 pass breakups), Herrera 3 tackles, Norman 4 tackles, Stripling 4 tackles, Floyd four tackles (tackle for loss), Carter three tackles, Redd three tackles (interception), Thornton 3 tackles, Toby Johnson 2 tackles (sack, tackle for loss), Swann one pass breakup, Mauger one pass breakup, Atkins one tackle (tackle for loss), Kenner Johnson (interception), Wiggins (interception), Langley (one interception, one pass breakup), Bowman pass breakup.

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