Who really won the G-Day game?

Christian LeMay showed a lot of promise on the winning touchdown drive. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Christian LeMay showed a lot of promise on the winning touchdown drive. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

When I was a kid and we attended G-Day games, a favorite joke was to ask who won the game and answer, “Georgia.”

Ask me who won Saturday’s G-Day game on a sunny but breezy day in Sanford Stadium, and I’ll answer “the defense.”

Doesn’t matter whether they were wearing red or white jerseys, Todd Grantham’s troops looked surprisingly solid Saturday, despite the fact that most of the first-string secondary wasn’t participating because of injuries.

In the first half especially, the Red and Black team offenses had trouble sustaining drives, as witnessed by the baseball-like halftime score, with the underdog Reds leading 5-3.

And, in fact, the most scintillating player on offense in the intrasquad game was borrowed from the defense: Branden Smith, who had a couple of nice runs and caught two passes, including a beautiful 28-yard scoring play on which he juked cornerback Derek Owens and raced down the sideline.

The defensive player who generated the most chatter, however, was sophomore nose guard Kwame Geathers, the spring defensive MVP, who made such a statement on the field that Grantham has indicated we may wind up seeing him in the game at the same time as incoming JUCO star John Jenkins rather than just backing him up.

Geathers seemed to be having his way with starting center Ben Jones at times Saturday. He was commanding double-blocks, just like you want of a nose in the 3-4 scheme, made four tackles (two for loss) and in general just stopped up the middle, a big change from last year.

Of course, when both sides are Georgia Bulldogs, one aspect of the team looking good means another part of the team didn’t. The offensive line is, of course, still reeling from the loss yet again of Trinton Sturdivant, but the middling showing of the running game and the eight sacks given up by the two teams didn’t exactly fill you with confidence about our OL.

Glass half full or half empty? Geathers looked so good Saturday that I’m voting half full.

Other thoughts and observations from G-Day …

We saw a lot of starters Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason, a good bit of Christian LeMay and, this being G-Day, a surprising amount of playing time for scout teamers Parker Welch and Greg Bingham. Murray looked solid, hardly breaking a sweat, though he did give up a safety on his first play from scrimmage. But the two best offensive drives of the day were the game-opener when Mason led the Reds down the field (before the first of Carlton Thomas’ two fumbles ended it) and the 10-play, 75-yard comeback drive by the Blacks, engineered by LeMay and featuring a nice catch by Orson Charles to set up the 12-yard touchdown run by Ken Malcome. LeMay looked relatively poised, had a really nice fake at one point in the drive and showed a lot of promise. …

As mentioned earlier, the running game was, well, missing for much of the day. Caleb King looked pretty good, what little we saw of him. Thomas had a couple of nice runs, others that, more typically, didn’t go anywhere, and those two fumbles. Malcome, who’s been hampered by injury this spring, also showed some flashes, particularly on his scoring run. Generally, though, the ground game was unimpressive. …

Not surprisingly, Tavarres King and Charles looked like the class of the receiving corps. As for the continuing game of where-in-the-world-is-the-Marlon-Brown-we-expected, the junior did have four catches for 47 yards but also missed badly on what should have been a long completion from Murray. …

Redshirt-freshman defensive back Connor Norman had one of those out-of-nowhere days in the injury-depleted secondary, with his name frequently called out by PA announcer Brook Whitmire. He ended up with five tackles, three pass deflections and a great, reaching interception. If Sanders Commings does indeed move to safety, the rise of Norman in the DB corps could be welcome news. …

Matt Stafford won the halftime QB challenge, as expected. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Matt Stafford won the halftime QB challenge, as expected. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

OTHER NOTES OF INTEREST

Matt Stafford won the halftime quarterback challenge, but since he’s the only one of the four contestants who’s still an active player, it would have been shocking if he hadn’t been the winner. … My old Athens High classmate Andy Johnson was the coach of the winning team in the pre-game letterman flag football contest for the second straight year. Among those former players still showing some juice were Fred Gibson, Garrison Hearst and Kelin Johnson, who showed up late on the field but ended up making a couple of nice catches. … My former Redcoat brother had clued us in that the word was the band will be playing from the west end zone stands this season, as they did last year at G-Day and again on Saturday. A good move that should make them much easier to hear throughout the stadium. … A pre-game announcement on the video screen about the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game said both Georgia and Boise State will wear their home colors in the Georgia Dome. Game exec Gary Stokan told fans he wants to see a lot of us in red, too. Awright, RED-OUT! … Isaiah Crowell wasn’t playing Saturday, but he was easy to spot on the field and signed quite a few autographs over the hedges (as did departing Dog A.J. Green). … We wound up Saturday at Foley Field, where the Diamond Dogs took a 7-2 win over the No. 4-ranked Florida Gators. It was already a good day in Athens, but that was the perfect capper.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

144 comments Add your comment

D A DoubleU G

April 16th, 2011
11:46 pm

Great day in the Classic City!! Too bad the dogwoods bloomed so early this year, and they are already gone.

I am stoked that the band is moving to the West End Zone. They sounded great today, and will be an asset when opposing teams are driving down there this fall.

140 days til kickoff!!!!
Go Dawgs!!!

D A DoubleU G

April 16th, 2011
11:48 pm

And Bill,

Did you take advantage of the Butts Mehre expansion Open House??

It was a real treat to Dawg fans. We undoubtedly now have facilities that are rivaled by no one!!

D A DoubleU G

April 16th, 2011
11:56 pm

It also just hit me….

Gary Stokan’s announcement the Dawgs will wear home red in CFA Kickoff should put to rest all the gawd-awful rumors of “Nike Pro-Combat” unis….. Right?!?!?!

Stevo

April 17th, 2011
12:13 am

How’d Ken Malcolme look overall? I’ve been interested to see if he will get playing time. He seems good enough, and big to the point where he can muscle forward if blocking breaks down…

Steve Superior

April 17th, 2011
12:14 am

The offense still stinks. But then again daws smells.

Steve Superior

April 17th, 2011
12:15 am

Louie Kablooie

April 17th, 2011
12:18 am

Dawgs are in trouble big time on offense. Our O line still cant runblock through a wet paper bag. Bring back Vince!

Kibbler Elf

April 17th, 2011
12:26 am

Ben Jones got waxed all over the field. He is a fudge pud.

Kibbler Elf

April 17th, 2011
12:27 am

oops thats Keebler

Rain

April 17th, 2011
12:32 am

Bill,

Right on, best 3 drives offense of game were first 2 long drives by Hutson Mason, both ended in fumbles (red team should have had 14 points right there) and then Lemay’s go ahead td at the end. Also thought Mason’s go ahead td in the 4th was another nice drive.

I doubt Mason or Lemay will ever start a game at Georgia though, Murray’s in Richt’s special place, Murray and Richt are a lot alike, spiritual, shy, underachievers at QB. So he and Richt really share a deep connection that I don’t think will be borken for 3 more years. Murray’s too short and innacurate to get drafted in the NFL, so he’ll be a UGA a while. Unless Richt gets fired this season, which will happen if he sticks with Murray. Murray doesn’t have AJ or Durham like he did last year, and Murray only won 6 games with those 2 future NFL receivers.

I guess I came away dissapointed again by Aaron Murray. The coaches had hyped him all up with the Spring MVP stuff, I guess I believed the press. He really started out so poorly in the first half, the safety wasn’t a good start, Murray is a slow starter, as we’ve come to know. But he did seem to pick it up in the 3rd quarter, man is he good in the 3rd quarter. Always has been. I also expected Murray to put up 2 or 3 td’s against a depleted secondary pretty easily with his experience. Frankly, without a remarkably athletic play from Branden Smith, Murray would have blanked td’s again like last season.

Kwame was amazing. But I doubt he’ll ever start. Pretty sure Grantham made Jenkins a bunch of promises ot get him to come.

In other words, a typical G-Day under Richt.

Rain

April 17th, 2011
12:35 am

I realy hope I’m wrong about Murray, but if you watch Murray’s 1st half, you’ll see my concerns. You don’t expect that from someone in their 3rd Spring.

Fire Mark Richt

April 17th, 2011
12:36 am

Four months and counting. Can’t get here soon enough. Go Dawgs!

Lets Face it

April 17th, 2011
12:38 am

Our offense still has got big problems. Defense? Who really knows because the offense sucks. Just like last year. This will be Mark Richts farewell tour. The dean of the SEC is toast.

Rainblows

April 17th, 2011
12:41 am

Rain,
You are an idiot an obviously a Tech nerd. Go find your own blog.

Rain

April 17th, 2011
12:42 am

Unfortunatley, I’d have to agree. This has to be the last year of Richt. Too bad, he’s such a terrific guy. But he just can’t figure out a way to run the ball or score enough points.

I was also dissapointed that while Lemay and Mason connected on deep throws, Murray missed each time, although Brown dropped a catchable ball. But as you can see, without AJ there to haul in every pass from Murray, it’s going to force Murray to be precise, and I’m not sure Murray has anythign close to the precision skills sets of Mason & Lemay. Loved that pass form Lemay to White, went for 36 yards, both Mason & Lemay are so poised, it’s such a stark contrast to Murray’s nerves.

Rain

April 17th, 2011
12:49 am

Tech? What are you talking about, I can’t stand Georgia Tech. What specifically did I write that made you think I liked Georgia Tech?

Burma Shave

April 17th, 2011
12:52 am

Defenses tee off
And go for the sack.
Because your best runner
Is a defensive back.

BURMA SHAVE

Burma Shave

April 17th, 2011
1:01 am

Georgia’s offense
So easy to defend.
Because your best players
All play tight end.

BURMA SHAVE

Rain

April 17th, 2011
1:01 am

Almost all of Murray’s yards and his 1 td came at the wrong time in the game. Not in the 1st or 4th quarter when the pressure was it’s highest. So they really don’t mean anything.

As usual for Murray, that’s his thing.

I’ll take Lemay’s 3 completions in the 4th to win the game anyday.

Burma Shave

April 17th, 2011
1:05 am

Nothin’ left now
But hopin’ and wishin’.
Because Georgia’s problems
Are much more than nutrition.

BURMA SHAVE

Burma Shave

April 17th, 2011
1:11 am

A year of frustration
For Georgia’s QBs.
Your receivers were dominated
By scout team DBs.

BURMA SHAVE

Burma Shave

April 17th, 2011
1:17 am

Your offensive line
Are dawgs that can’t hunt.
Got beat up all day.
By a three-man front.

BURMA SHAVE

nuttsache

April 17th, 2011
1:22 am

Rain. You’re as wet as a mop. Give Murray a break you cumulis nimbis. Murray didn’t have AJ for 4 games last season. Also wasn’t Murray the best rated FR QB last season you limp noodle….. Where am I????

Get on the….where am I and why am I here???

Burma Shave

April 17th, 2011
1:24 am

Poor strength and conditioning
Made you weak in the trenches.
So many Georgia players
Sat hurt on the benches.

BURMA SHAVE

Burma Shave

April 17th, 2011
1:29 am

G-Day’s first score
A fumble and safety
Let Georgia fans know
It’s not 1980.

BURMA SHAVE

nuttsache

April 17th, 2011
1:30 am

bURMA sHAVE typing away
late at night, anyway.
he/she/it blogs all day and all night long,
about the dawgs of which he/she/it wishes to belong.

Sam

April 17th, 2011
4:02 am

Rain…Its idiots like you and the rest of the fire Mark Richt crowd that makes Dawg fans look like idiots…I would bet the only football (or any sport) you ever played or coached was on an X-Box or PS3…CMR is a heck of a coach. He’s done more with this program in 10 years than any other UGA coach ever did.

Ssgt Dawg

April 17th, 2011
6:18 am

People always take way too much from these spring games. Especially this year when your entire starting backfield is unchosen , the starting LT’s career is over and the best players are probably not even suited up yet.

Murray will win games for you but the weakest group on the team is by far the receiving core. There is no such thing as replacing AJ he’s a once every 10 years type of player.

O'Leary

April 17th, 2011
7:46 am

I love Georgia Tech. Georgia on the other hand, can’t stand them.

It Ain't Rocket Science

April 17th, 2011
7:49 am

I can’t quite understand the negative comments about Murray that people seem to make on these blogs. Things like, “He lost all 6 games against winning teams”, comes to mind. He is just one player out of 22 on the team, and I think as much as he could, he displayed control of the teams offense last year. Ask the players whom they think gives them the best shot by being a QB and helping the most at the QB position for their team. Surely, you might be a little less nonsupporttive then. He will not be all world this year either but he gives the DAWGS all he has and is a good field general. The offense will be successful, if they control the game clock this year, because I think the defense is going to cause a fair amount of 3 and outs, if the safeties step it up a bit. Murrays stats. were very good last year, even though he got less than stellar perfromance from a lot of the others on offense. Give the kid a chance, and he will be just fine. Mason should be a capable back up and LeMay is good for the 3rd. I do not think CMR will let Murray stay in a game if he becomes rattled or is having a bad day this year. He could pull him for Mason or LeMay if the game situation dictates. I just don’t see that happening too much though. I am sure Murray understands this is well, and will do his level best to perform great. I don’t put too much stock in the G Day performances, as I think they in large part, are mostly for the fans benefits. There is no way to know how any QB will react when the rush is actually full steam ahead and the sacks land you on your back. Murray though has a year of experience already, so he at least knows what to expect. A scrimmage is still not a true test of all the players capabilities.

chs

April 17th, 2011
8:04 am

Burma has no life.
Lives in his basement.
Away from daylight,
his kids, and his wife.
Everywhere else,
He’s a zero.
But, when down in his basement…
…and in the recesses of his mind…
He thinks himself to be quite the hero.

JB

April 17th, 2011
8:05 am

YA know, these blogs are generally responded to with some serious buffoonery but the comments by “Rain” and “Burma Shave” have to be some of the all time stupidiest stuff I’ve ever read. “Murray is an underachiever”??? There’s nary a program in the country that wouldn’t take AM. “Lemay will never start a game”? Really?

This is Burma fool acts like what was seen in a Spring game will be exactly what a team will look like in the fall.

You to need to run along and never come back. Just wow!

BTW, I’ve always been all about us doing a “Red out”. But frankly, it should always be that way and not a gimmick but just what we do.

old time dog

April 17th, 2011
8:13 am

D A Double U G…. stoked? red? D A Double U G= retard. Pansies like you ought to support GT instead of the Bulldogs. Get something else going BOY.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 17th, 2011
9:17 am

Bill

What about Arthur Lynch come on if we put him out there charles and hopefully 2 others we have a good recieving core

The running game is still a question mark

RMikel58

April 17th, 2011
9:22 am

Branden Smith…….. Does anybody know why he’s isnt starting on Defense? A 5 Star player with a 4.2 speed. CMR has got to start this guy on D otherwise its a waste of talent. You know i cant believe that you people come on here bashing the Dawgs even before the season starts.
Give them a chance- Defense will mature and get better and the Offense has got to see who’s gonna start this year. I wouldnt be suprised if all the negatives are coming from Ga. Tech and Florida Fans here. All you Dawg haters let me ask you a question.
Why are you here? Being a Georgia Fan you dont see me in the Tech or Florida rooms blogging negatives toward those teams and acting childish. I know you have the right to express yourself in any room but the more you bash Georgia, the more foolish you look here.
Children do that sort of thing you know……. trying to get people upset and arguing over nothing. Some of you no matter what has to stir the pot up and get off on creating controversy and i bet youre the same way at work and at home.
Can you not just enjoy watching these kids grow up and being blessed to have an opportunity to play on the college level without chopping them up?
You get out there and play with them and see how difficult it is to compete with better athletes than when you were in highschool and come back and tell me how easy it was.
Dont these kids have enough pressure just growing up and going to a major college without everyone expecting them to be in the college hall of fame. You got grades to keep up, team meetings, scrimmages, practices, family issues and memorizing assignments without listening to people get down on you all the time because theyre not living up to our expectations.
After all this is a game to most and the ones that chastize are the ones who make their kids play through their dreams of what they could not have been in college and not just let them graduate from college with a degree in hand and a lifetime of enjoyment to pursue their own dreams.
Only 3% of all college players ever get to go to Pro’s, so support them, lift them up, stand by them no matter what, and let them grow up and if they fall be there to help pick them up. They will never learn anything if you dont allow them to fail because that gives them better character in the end.
If you wanna bash then go to another room where your team is but dont come here because most of these Georgia Fans have gone through the droughts with the Dawgs and are here to stay.
We dont need to listen to all the negatives from Techies and Gators and/or “Fair Weather Fans” that have nothing in their miserable life but to complain about anything that gets a rise out of others. Remember Misery loves Company and those ppl ought to seek help mentally.

Bulldog59

April 17th, 2011
9:43 am

Good to see walk-on,Connor Norman, getting recognition! I know the family personally, top-notch all the way. All 3 Norman boys are hard workers and great kids!

Macclenny_dawg

April 17th, 2011
9:43 am

Well Grantham beats Bobo in spring game!!! I wonder how many times we say Bobo got us beat again!!! I sure hope Grantham has the defense ready looks like the offense can’t hang on the ball!!! Every rb needs to be made 2 carry the ball everywhere they go and everybody needs 2 try 2 get it from now 2 the season starts!!!

T-Dawg

April 17th, 2011
9:47 am

RMike — word. Gotta not get sucked in to taking it all too seriously. Grill them when they get to the pros, but cut some slack in the meantime. Wonderfully entertaining watching them play.

Eaassyy

April 17th, 2011
9:49 am

When and what channel will the game be re-televised (if at all)??

SOGADOG

April 17th, 2011
10:00 am

Its past time to hire a running backs coach.

BobDawg

April 17th, 2011
10:02 am

I say we load up on the D-side this year and play a 2 tight end offense and win games 20-17 all year long…

tide roll

April 17th, 2011
10:23 am

Your concern over the offensive line is well founded. The starters are competitive, but there’s not enough depth to sustain time consuming drives or ball control. It will be more of the same throwing it all over the place and “taking shots down field.” There’s an arrogance about Richt and Bobo that hurts the Dawgs. They would rather show how they outsmarted the other guy than simply win the game. This is the danger in having former QBs in both the head coach and offensive coordinator roles. They support rather than challenge each others decisions. Richt and Bobo think too much alike. This is why you lack balance on offense.

51WTGW50

April 17th, 2011
10:44 am

Will Bobo be the head coach when Richt doesn’t have a good season. Bobo will make a Great UGA Head Coach. It is time to make him the Coach in Waiting right now.

DawgNation

April 17th, 2011
10:56 am

@tide roll….YAWN!!!!! You are Nothing here. Move along.

Get a life

April 17th, 2011
11:01 am

Some people like Rain, Burma Shave and Roll Tide need to get some friends or a hobby. I will be a die hard Dawg fan until the day I die, and hate Auburn, Bama, and Gators with a passion, but it would never occur to me to go on an opponent’s blog, make comments on an opponent’s blog, and I certainly would never spend one minute composing even one “poem” about an opponent.

1eyedJack

April 17th, 2011
11:16 am

tide roll wrote a new script!!

AltamahaDawg

April 17th, 2011
11:36 am

old time. I thought D A UU G was spot on. Did you actually disagree with something he said?

51WTGW50

April 17th, 2011
11:36 am

1eyedJack
The question is are Richt & Bobo still reading the same old script?
A New Uga needed. A new great Running. A better Defense.
Sounds like the same old Script to me.

AltamahaDawg

April 17th, 2011
11:37 am

Except that I was certain I saw Dogwood petals blowing past the press booth

If the defense...

April 17th, 2011
11:41 am

…was missing a lot of its “starters”, and still looked good, maybe those “starters” are really second team and the coaches are just slow to understand that – and why soes that not surprise me?

And Branden Smith is not starting on defense because, obviously, he cannot play, just like Richard Samuel…