ATHENS -- Hutson Mason is going to be Georgia’s quarterback in the fall. It was known at the beginning of spring practice, and the fifth-year senior quieted any chatter of a possible uprooting in Saturday’s G-Day.
Mason looked like the far superior quarterback throughout Saturday’s game against Georgia’s No. 1 defense, and he finished 18-of-27 for 241 yards and a touchdown. Mason displayed great accuracy on short and intermediate routes, but he felt that he could have thrown the deep ball a little better.
“I thought we left some deep balls out there,” he said. “I thought I left some deep balls out there that I could have been more accurate on.”
Mason did connect with senior wide receiver Chris Conley on a 53-yard pass near the end of the third quarter, but his best throw of the day reminded fans of a vintage Aaron Murray throw.
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“Just the kind of coverage they were playing down there in the red zone, it was tough,” Mason said. “You were either going to have to throw it up or throw it back shoulder. I knew Reggie (Davis), who is probably 5-10, I didn’t really want to throw it up to him. I threw it back shoulder, and that’s how that worked out.”
Georgia head coach Mark Richt said that he thought Saturday was Mason’s least impressive scrimmage of the three, but he complimented the signal caller for the up-tempo offense he conducted.
Richt had good things to say about all four of his quarterbacks, but third-year sophomore Faton Bauta looked like the No. 2 quarterback Saturday, a player who could give Georgia some good minutes if Mason were to go down.
Bauta connected on 16-of-28 passes for 232 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also picked up 35 rushing yards on six attempts and was the only quarterback to wear a full-contact jersey.
“What I wanted to erase was when a guy would tag off on a quarterback and the refs were blowing it dead,” Bauta said. “I wanted to make sure that wasn’t really a factor when I was in there playing because I know I’m capable of making plays with my legs if I have to. I think it was to my advantage (Saturday).”
The Palm Beach, Fla., product struggled in his first few series, but he played well in the fourth quarter, throwing for gains of 47 and 41 yards on two perfectly placed deep balls. Bauta hit Uriah LeMay for a 41-yard touchdown pass and redshirt freshman tailback A.J. Turman out of the backfield for a 4-yard score.
During spring camp, Bauta has been in competition with redshirt freshman Brice Ramsey for the Bulldogs’ backup position, and Richt said that remains the case.
Ramsey took snaps with both the No. 1 and No. 2 units, finishing 2-of-13 for 78 yards and an interception. Both Ramsey and Bauta said the No. 2 spot was an open competition and look forward to continuing their contest.
“We are still competing. That’s not for me to say,” Bauta said. “He is going to keep competing, I’m going to keep competing, Hutson is going to keep competing, (Jacob) Park is going to keep competing. As long as we keep competing, the most important thing is whatever is going on with this team.”
Park looked like an early enrollee Saturday and only threw the ball five times, completing two passes. He showed signs of promise with a rollout completion to Conley, but he threw into traffic on another throw, which resulted in a Tristan Askew interception.
Little appeared to change: It’s Mason’s offense, and his first backup has yet to be determined.
“I think it’s been a good battle, quite frankly,” Richt said. “Faton did a nice job (Saturday) and Brice probably had his least impressive practice, but that doesn’t mean that all spring long he hasn’t done a lot of good things. He is still learning, as well.”