By FLETCHER PAGE
There is still no definitive word on who will be Georgia’s starting quarterback after Saturday’s scrimmage.
Coach Mark Richt said after practice he, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, have not a declared No. 1 guy, but a glance at the statistics sheds light on the situation.
Redshirt freshmen Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray enjoyed the best day, statistically speaking. Mettenberger went 7-for-10, with 157 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. His touchdown came on a beautifully thrown deep ball, thrown to Rantavious Wooten for a 65-yard score.
Murray finished 10-of-15, with a touchdown and an interception. He connected with A.J. Green on a post route for a 40-yard touchdown.
Junior Logan Gray didn’t enjoy as much success, sacked three times, throwing 6-for-14, with only 37 yards.
Despite the numbers, Richt said there is still no favorite.
“I don’t know where we’re going yet, but they’re all competing and doing a good job,” he said.
Mettenberger’s great day is bittersweet, since he will most likely serve a one-game suspension to start the season.
With the battle narrowed to two, at least for the season-opener, Murray appears, from Saturday’s numbers, to have a slight edge on Gray.
However, there is still nothing official, and at least two more scrimmages for further evaluation.
“No, right now all of them are taking the same amount of reps,” said linebacker Akeem Dent. “So we’ll see how that goes.”
TESTING THE WATER
If you asked defensive coordinator Todd Grantham about his defense after the first half of Saturday’s scrimmage, he would have given a glowing review.
Richt said the defense got the best of its offensive counterpart in the opening half, but the second half tempered the opinion.
The offense made some plays, both from passes and running the ball, bringing the upstart defense back to earth.
That’s the up-and-downs of installing a brand new scheme.
“I think at the end of the first half, he probably felt better than by the end of the scrimmage,” Richt said. “I think we all understand that we’re still learning. I think the things the coaches are looking for, are the players doing what they ask, are they playing with intensity, are they hitting hard, are they getting better daily. I think that part, I think we’re all pleased with it.”
Richt said he was pleased with the tackling effort, and the way the secondary attacked the ball. Safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams each snagged an interception, Williams racing his to the end zone for a touchdown.
“Right now, we’re really being aggressive,” Dent, who finished with six tackles, said. “I know there were a couple times we gave up a big plays, but we kind of settled down, and made some stops.”
The scrimmage was the first time players received play calls from Grantham in the heat of battle. Dent said the calls weren’t as aggressive as they have been the past week in the practice, figuring Grantham was allowing the defense to get accustomed to every aspect slowly.
“I feel like everything is going along from a defensive standpoint,” Dent said. “Guys are really catching on to the plays, and to what coach Grantham really wants the defense to be about.”
A surprising name provided outlier stats during Georgia’s Saturday scrimmage.
Sophomore receiver Rantavious Wooten hauled in 6 catches, for 146 yards and a touchdown.
After struggling with drops this spring, Wooten’s performance was a needed boost.
“Actually, Rantavious was struggling a little big until today,” Richt said. “Today was good medicine for him. He just dropped more balls than we’re used to seeing, but today, he caught everything. I’m sure that will get him over the hump.”
Wooten finished off the play of the day, a 65-yard touchdown from Mettenberger, on a well-executed pump-and-go. The defensive bit on the play-fake, as Wooten streaked wide open.
“I felt like I just had to get back to the groove, and I took today as the perfect opportunity to show that I am the playmaker that they see me as,” Wooten said. “If they get me the ball, I’m going to make a play. That’s the mindset that I had. I just approached the game like that and came out and made plays.”
A.J. Green scored on a 40-yard reception, catching a pass over the middle, and finishing the run by evading tacklers. The score was Green's lone reception, as he didn't take as many reps as Wooten.
“On offense, as usual A.J. Green,” Dent said.
The offense flexed it’s ground game as well, as Caleb King had 79 yards on only six carries. He jumpstarted the offensive attack early, reeling off a 55-yard scamper.
“That was the first big play the defense gave up,” said Dent, “was Caleb going for a real long run.”
Washuan Ealey rushed nine times for 64 yards, and Carlton Thomas logged eigth carries for 25 yards.
Georgia almost made it through the scrimmage with no injuries.
Unfortunately, A.J. Harmon, second-string offensive tackle, injured his leg, Richt announced.
“I don’t know exactly severe,” Richt said. “I just don’t know for sure.”
Running back Dontavious Jackson did not participate, out with a sprained ankle. Also sidelined: Marlon Brown, Bruce Figgins, Mike Gilliard, Israel Troupe, Trinton Sturdivant, Tanner Strickland.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
By FLETCHER PAGE