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. …
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