ATHENS — The Georgia football team held its first spring scrimmage Saturday in wet conditions at Sanford Stadium.
How’d it go? Well, kind of like the weather.
“I thought the scrimmage was about like the weather. Good and bad,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said.
There was no decisive victor of Saturday’s scrimmage as both sides of the ball had their ups and downs. Richt said that the offense looked sharp in the beginning of the scrimmage, but once the rain came pouring down its production stalled.
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“Defense was playing well during that time,” Richt said. “By halftime, I’m thinking, ‘The defense is playing great and the offense’s looking like their body language isn’t looking real good.’ ”
Once the rain let up coming out of halftime, the offense regained the momentum. The offense got eight drives from the defense’s 40-yard line and scored on its final two after failing on the first six.
Senior quarterback Hutson Mason, who finished the scrimmage 12-for-18 with 152 yards and two touchdowns, quickly drove the offense down the field and capped off the drive with his first touchdown pass to wide receiver Chris Conley.
“The drive that moved the ball down the field in the second was a lot of little quick screens and getting some good yardage off of that,” Richt said. “Getting lined up, running it again, and the last one was a little flare route to Conley to score.”
On the very next play, Mason hooked up with Conley again as he rolled to his right and hit Conley who was coming out of a double move for a touchdown. Conley finished the scrimmage with just those two catches and 54 receiving yards.
Mason received protection from different offensive line groups throughout the scrimmage, but working with the No. 1 unit was John Theus at left tackle, Zach DeBell at left guard, David Andrews at center, Greg Pyke at right guard and Kolton Houston at right tackle.
According to the stats that Richt read off to the media, the offensive line allowed 14 tackles for loss and seven sacks, but he believes those stats to be misleading.
“My guess is a lot of those tackles for loss were with the second and third unit,” Richt said. “I don’t think there were many tackles for loss with the one unit.”
The offensive line worked against a mixture of defensive line groups, and senior defensive end Ray Drew was pleased with his group’s production. Drew said he remembered James DeLoach, Chris Mayes and Jon Taylor all having productive days.
DeLoach finished the scrimmage with four tackles and two sacks, Taylor had three tackles and Mayes’ name was not mentioned on the stat sheet.
Drew finished with three tackles, two tackles for loss, and a sack. Drew, who appeared in 13 games and made seven starts last season, said he was working with the No. 2 and No. 3 units but was not discouraged about not working with the ones.
“It’s about like making Kool-Aid growing up,” Drew said. “You have to figure out which one tastes better. The one with four scoops or the one with five scoops. You have to see what mixes best with what and who mixes best with who.”
Sophomore cornerback J.J. Green’s name also came up in the defensive discussion as he and linebacker Reggie Carter led the defense with seven tackles. Green sported a bandage across his forehead during interviews but was very enthusiastic about his game, pointing to one hit that he specifically remembered.
“I got to hit (Brendan) Douglas. He could tell you about it if you interview him. It felt pretty good hitting the other team. It wasn’t one of those hits where he see me. He didn’t see me,” Green said chuckling.
Green was working at the “star” position along with Sheldon Dawson, which is responsible for covering the offense’s slot receiver. Green covered Conley for much of the day and said he thinks covering a top SEC wide receiver will only help him improve. Richt shared the same sentiments.
“He is very tough, very physical,” Richt said. “For a guy that hasn’t played defense in a while I really like what he’s doing.”