ATHENS -- It was good. It was bad. It was Brice Ramsey.
After a first-half clinic on passing efficiency from Hutson Mason, Georgia took a peek into its potential future. Ramsey, the heir apparent (so it seems) as the Bulldogs’ 2015 quarterback, started the second half with a 38-0 lead. He’d leave with 55-3 advantage in the fourth to make way for another quarterback candidate, Faton Bauta.
But, in between Ramsey’s entrance and his exit, he gave a glimpse into what the future might look like in the post-Mason era.
“He looked relaxed. He looked calm. He looked confident,” Mason said. “It’s real good for a young guy.”
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After a few Brendan Douglas runs to start the second half, Ramsey took a shot downfield, showing off the arm strength that has earned a reputation of its own. His target, wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, had 1-on-1 coverage on the outside, so Ramsey lofted the ball about 55 yards on the fly, an impressive toss.
The only problem: It fell 10 yards behind McKenzie, who was forced to shuffle back to attempt a back-shoulder catch.
“That kid is so fast, you’ve got to get the ball out quick,” Ramsey said. “I’m not afraid to let it go. I tried to (get it to him), but he was just too fast for me.”
The drive, however, didn’t end there. The following five plays, all Ramsey throws, resulted in something positive -- a shifty first-down reception by Jeb Blazevich (20 yards), a completion to Kenneth Towns, a pass interference penalty on a pass intended for Jonathon Rumph, a pretty touch pass from Ramsey to Shakenneth Williams that was actually ruled incomplete but looked good on both ends, before ending the drive on a 12-yard touchdown strike to Rumph.
That was the good.
“I saw them stack the corner up, and a whole bunch of open grass in the end zone, so I just threw it to a spot and he went and got it for me,” Ramsey said.
The outcome seemed positive, however, in retrospect, Ramsey wishes the tempo would’ve have been a little faster on the initial scoring drive. So on the following two possessions, Ramsey tried to amp up that speed.
“When I got in there, the team kinda slowed down a little bit, so that first drive we weren’t moving too fast,” Ramsey said. “That second and third drive, I tried to get in there to get them fired up, get them rolling.”
It seemed to work on the second possession, at least, completing two of his three passes on that drive that ended in a Quayvon Hicks touchdown run. Whether that tempo served to be as effective in Ramsey’s final drive is a different story.
After going 8-of-11 for 92 yards, Ramsey reminded everyone in attendance that he is still only a redshirt freshman. He eyed down Williams on a 10-yard slant route.
Enter the bad -- his first-career interception.
“That ball was thrown a little bit behind. The timing just wasn’t there. You get a couple guys who don’t work a whole lot with each other. The route could’ve been a little more crisp. The throw obviously could’ve been in a better spot,” head coach Mark Richt said. “It’s a shame we had an interception. We hadn’t thrown one in a long time.”
With that, Ramsey’s day ended to make way for Bauta.
Nothing jumped out. His touchdown drive looked like calm and collected one. His interception looked much the opposite.
Either way, it looked a lot like what the future might hold for the Georgia quarterback position.
“What you saw from Brice out there (Saturday), he does that every day in practice. One thing I can say, he’s learning from his mistakes. He’s picking up great habits from Hutson,” Rumph said. “The sky is the limit for the young man.”