ATHENS - Georgia held its second of three preseason scrimmages on Wednesday night at Sanford Stadium, going under the lights to get ready for the night-time opener at Clemson. The results, according to what head coach Mark Richt passed along afterwards, were better than the afternoon scrimmage last week.
Richt liked the energy better than the first scrimmage, and said both first-team units "won the day." Although the second-team offense did have one good, long drive versus the first-team defense.
"When you scrimmage like this and you go ones vs. twos, you hope that your No. 1 offense is gonna have a pretty good go against your No. 2 defense, and vice versa, and that's about how it's going," Richt said. "If your second offense was just thrashing your No. 1 defense then you really, really got a serious problem. But that's not the case. I thought both No. 1 units played pretty good, really."
Starting quarterback Aaron Murray had a better second scrimmage, after throwing three interceptions in the first one. Top backup Hutson Mason was also solid, playing mostly with the first-team offense. But the two quarterbacks competing for the No. 3 job both struggled, as Christian LeMay and Brice Ramsey combined to go 4 for 16 with Ramsey throwing two interceptions.
“It’s tough to go against the No. 1 defense with the No. 2 (offense),” Richt said. “It’s historically been that way. I think one of the guys that’s navigated that No. 2 spot throughout his career is Hutson Mason. He’s found a way to make some plays with the No. 2 unit against the number ones throughout his career. But now he gets the benefit of being with the number ones most of his snaps now. It’s tough to go against the No. 1 D. You learn a lot about a quarterback when he’s under duress too. So that’s not always bad. If everything’s not perfect for him you learn a little about him.”
But freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who had thumb surgery nine days before, played, and was impressive, according to Richt.
"He's very talented, and I think he's gonna be an outstanding pass rusher," Richt said.
The newcomer who impressed on offense was freshman tailback Brendan Douglas, who had a scrimmage-high 50 yards on seven carries. Perhaps more impressively, Douglas was doing that with the second-team offense, going against the first-team defense.
"He ran the ball very well. He ran with power. He ran with some vision, he continued to pass (protect) pretty good," Richt said.
Safeties Tray Matthews and Corey Moore, conceivably the starters at Clemson, were both held out of the scrimmage with injuries.
"We need to get them back," Richt said. "Hopefully soon."
But the defensive backs left played well: Sophomore Josh Harvey-Clemons was the defensive star of the scrimmage with seven tackles and three pass-breakups. (Harvey-Clemons is suspended for the Clemson game.) Freshman cornerback Brendan Langley had a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown, and fellow freshman cornerback Shaq Wiggins also had an interception.
"Both Langley and Shaq played well," Richt said. "Those guys have very good ball skills. They can snatch the ball like a receiver. They're pretty confident kids."
Other players who were on the injured list included receiver Reggie Davis (knee sprain), safety Shaquille Fluker (illness), inside linebacker Tim Kimbrough (knee sprain), nose tackle Chris Mayes (concussion), receiver Rhett McGowan (ankle sprain), tight end Jay Rome (ankle sprain), tailback A.J. Turman (knee and ankle sprain), outside linebacker Chase Vasser (ankle sprain) and receiver Rantavious Wooten (hamstring).
On the offensive line, John Theus and Kolton Houston alternated at right tackle, playing with the first and second teams. The line seemed to have a good night, allowing just a few sacks.
"But overall the pass pro was pretty good today," Richt said. "Even the No. 2 unit pass protected pretty good."
Brendan Douglas: 7 carries for 50 yards
Keith Marshall: 6 carries for 39 yards
Todd Gurley: 5 carries for 33 yards, 2 TD
J.J. Green: 9 carries for 34 yards
Aaron Murray: 14 for 18, 173 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Hutson Mason: 9 for 19, 107 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Christian LeMay: 1 for 5, 5 yards
Brice Ramsey: 3 for 11, 65 yards, 2 INT
Malcolm Mitchell: 4 catches for 58 yards
Arthur Lynch: 4 catches for 45 yards
Michael Erdman: 3 catches for 31 yards
Todd Gurley: 3 catches for 72 yards
Blake Tibbs: 2 catches for 21 yards, 1 TD
Brendan Douglas: 2 catches for 31 yards
Michael Bennett: 1 catch for 8 yards, 1 TD
(9 other players had one catch)
Josh Harvey-Clemons: 7 tackles, 3 passes defended (PD)
Amarlo Herrera: 5 tackles, 2 PD
T.J. Stripling: 4 tackles
Garrison Smith: 4 tackles, 1 TFL
Connor Norman: 4 tackles
Leonard Floyd: 4 tackles, 1 TFL
Reggie Carter: 3 tackles
Lucas Redd: 3 tackles, 1 INT
Mike Thornton: 3 tackles
Damian Swann: 1 PD
Toby Johnson: 1 sack, 1 TFL
Quincy Mauger: 1 PD
John Atkins: 1 TFL
Kennar Johnson: 1 INT (24-yard return)
Shaq Wiggins: 1 INT
Brendan Langley: 1 INT (48-yard TD return)
Devin Bowman: 1 PD