More for fans to like at G-Day than just glorious spring weather

G-Day left no doubt Hutson Mason will play if anything happens to Aaron Murray. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

G-Day left no doubt Hutson Mason will play if anything happens to Aaron Murray. (Johnny Crawford / AJC)

Fan expectations were low for Saturday’s G-Day game in Athens, what with some key spring story lines short-circuited by injuries to freshman tailback Keith Marshall and prospective two-way player Malcolm Mitchell. But in the end, as one of my brothers noted, it was the most enjoyable spring game we’ve seen in recent years thanks to some unexpected scoring by both the offenses and defenses.

The first half was typical for these intrasquad outings, as the Red team with the first-team offense went against the Black team with the first-team defense, resulting in a pretty even match that saw the Reds lead 10-3 at halftime.

However, with the coaches mixing it up more in the second half, the benches emptying and several players showing up on both teams, it got a lot more interesting than your typical G-Day, resulting in only a missed 2-point play preserving the Reds’ 32-31 win with less than a minute left on the clock.

I think probably the highlight of the game for me was Black team QB Christian LeMay hitting redshirt freshman tight end Jay Rome, who made a leaping, twisting catch and then a nice run for a 66-yard score with 59 seconds left. With Artie Lynch also having made a couple of nice catches for the Reds, it’s looking like the tight end position might be a team strength again this coming season.

There were other memorable plays, including a defensive score that came thanks to the officials being a bit more lax in blowing whistle-sacks on the quarterbacks than in some past G-Day games. So when linebacker Reuben Faloughi hit Black team QB Parker Welch, knocking the ball out, the refs didn’t blow the play dead and defensive lineman Ricky Lowe grabbed the ball in midair and rambled 62 yards for a touchdown.

But aside from the entertainment value of such moments — and just the sheer pleasure of watching any sort of UGA football Between the Hedges on a beautiful spring day — the main reason most of us were there was to get some sense of what sort of team the Bulldogs will field in 2012. And from that perspective, we walked away with a few tentative conclusions.

For one, LeMay continues to progress nicely into the prospective backup QB this year, what with plans for No. 2 signal caller Hutson Mason to take a redshirt year unless needed. Right on his first play, LeMay made a really nice fake before hitting Rantavious Wooten on a 27-yard pass. But LeMay, who’s only played two intrasquad games of football in the past two years, wasn’t as consistent as Aaron Murray or Mason, even though he had the day’s best numbers, with 7 of 10 passes completed for a touchdown and an interception. Going up against one of the best defenses in the country and spending much more time in the game than we’d been led to expect, Murray was a workmanlike 7 of 17 for 112 yards and a touchdown. Mason, who wound up playing for both teams, was a combined 9 of 12 for 133 yards and definitely provided the spark that got the Black offense back in the game.

We left Sanford Stadium certain of one thing: If anything happens to Murray, that redshirt will be quickly torn off Mason.

As for the running game, things were stacked heavily in favor of the Reds initially, with starter Ken Malcome and Isaiah Crowell alternating with about even results, the edge going to Malcome for a couple of tough, tackle-breaking scoring runs. Meanwhile, the Black team’s backfield was populated from deep in the depth chart, with mighty mite Brandon Harton and Kyle Karempelis carrying the ball with little success behind a struggling second-team offensive line. (That, ironically, led to the Black quarterbacks instead using their tailbacks as receivers on quick screen passes — which is how small but speedy tailbacks should be used, instead of trying in vain to run them up the middle. Harton ended up with six catches for 52 yards. Mike Bobo, please take note!).

Eventually, though, fullback-tailback Richard Samuel, who had been listed as doubtful because of a concussion earlier in the week, switched from the Reds to the Blacks (and to a No. 19 jersey instead of his usual 22) to inject some life into the Black running game, showing both power and speed on the outside. He finished with 43 yards and a touchdown on eight runs.

On defense, it was a bit of a surprise that Ramik Wilson’s name was called out so frequently by stadium announcer by Brook Whitmire. Wilson had quite a day, leading the Reds with seven tackles (two for loss) and an interception that he returned 19 yards. Alec Ogletree also had a nice interception and 28-yard return on a sailing pass lofted by wide receiver Michael Bennett, but you expect that of him. Chase Vasser had a good day for the Blacks, making five tackles and deflecting a pass. Big John Jenkins batted down another pass for the Blacks.

At wide receiver, redshirt-freshman speedster Justin Scott-Wesley showed indications he’ll be a factor this fall, leading the Red team with three catches for 46 yards. Tavarres King caught a couple, including a 33-yard touchdown pass from Murray. And the Black team’s Michael Erdman made a really nice snag on a long gainer from Mason.

And for those who enjoy big hits, Sanders Commings unleashed one when he caught Marlon Brown not looking, decking the senior receiver to the crowd’s obvious delight.

All in all, a lovely day to be in Athens, as local radio legend H. Randolph Holder used to say.

OTHER G-DAY NOTES

The 2012 spirit shirt was unveiled Saturday. (University of Georgia)

The 2012 spirit shirt was unveiled Saturday. (University of Georgia)

Among the “millionaires club” of Dawgs alums hanging out on the sideline were A.J. Green and Matt Stafford. … The lettermen’s flag football game before the regular spring game was fun, as usual, with the spirited participants including Garrison Hearst (who’s developed into quite the receiver), Tyson Browning (still making great moves), Joey Hester (who made some impressive throws), Andre “Pulpwood” Smith, Amp Arnold, Michael Cooper, Kentrell Curry (whose name sideline “announcer” Bobby Poss never could master) and Fred Munzenmaier. Just for the record, the Reds won that game as well, 28-12. … The official UGA 2012 spirit T-shirt, as chosen by the student body, was unveiled. This year’s design, by fan Christopher Sweat of Patterson, features distressed “Sick ‘Em” lettering over a print of Uga’s eyes. It’s available at the UGA Bookstore or through Georgiadogs.com.

Got something on your mind concerning UGA athletics or a question for the Junkyard Blawg? Send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

154 comments Add your comment

Matt

April 15th, 2012
1:12 pm

Dawg89

April 15th, 2012
1:17 pm

I thought the shot Sanders took on Brown was cheap, particularly for a spring game. I bet that wasn’t a “coach pleaser”.

Dawg Tired

April 15th, 2012
1:18 pm

SO you liked Murray going 7 for 17?

dawg fan

April 15th, 2012
1:27 pm

I thought Samuel looked great at tailback. Malcome was also impressive. Both have that sec body. Hope to see those two along with Crowell at tailback. We have great weapons at receiver. Coach Bobo has done a very good job with the quarterbacks. 42,43.and 46 all blocked better than we did last year. they were actually physical. I enjoyed watching 42 and Samuel in the 2nd half. Reminded me of some of the great tailbacks we have had that pounded the line. I think we have a chance to have a great season. Hope we can redshirt the young backs and allow their bodies to mature. Go Dawgs.

Dawgboy

April 15th, 2012
1:28 pm

Redshirting Hutson Mason is about as smart as redshirting Knowshon Moreno.

Dogs on "Fire

April 15th, 2012
1:28 pm

The dogs are loaded for 2012—they should win the SEC easy and play alabama for the title.

Dawg89

April 15th, 2012
1:35 pm

Murray gets a lot of hype that I just don’t understand. Seems like Mason is better to the untrained eye. I can see why they want to create class separation. Lemay is lacking and has already burned a red shirt year. But, as Bill noted, if Murray gets hurt early, Mason won’t be red shirting. I think he could outplay Murray right now. Murray has too many “Oh crap I can’t believe I just did that” moments.

RamboDog

April 15th, 2012
2:12 pm

Murray gets a lot of credit for his “stats”, but the only stat that really matters in the end is WINS. He has not shown any ability to win against GOOD competition. He doesn’t maintain ball security when things break down, tries to do too much. I wish I was wrong, but we won’t win anything meaningful with him at the QB position…. Go Dawgs,

doug dawg

April 15th, 2012
2:17 pm

not that it makes much difference. but what was the final score? 32-21, or 32-31? been reported both ways on ajc.

Dawg Bounty Hunter

April 15th, 2012
2:19 pm

we need QB competetion… Mason and LeMay can be used when Murray Mis Fires… thats what would Saban or Spurrier do !!! Go Dawgs!! play ‘em ALL !!!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
2:20 pm

35:55minute MURRAY for Heisman! I didn’t know they give a Heisman for the most over-hyped bad QB.

Destin Dawg

April 15th, 2012
2:21 pm

yeh… what gives murray lock on QB ???

Cdpridg

April 15th, 2012
2:23 pm

Dawgs looked good in most facets of the game yesterday…should be ready to roll come fall

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
2:24 pm

On the ROAD at Mizzou I think the Dawgs will find out if Murray is a contender or pretender. Win or lose is not the issue. He could win and be ugly or he could lose and be great. How Murray plays will tell everybody finally if MASON should get more playing time. I think MASON has been a sucker and fool for staying. He could be playing on Sat for some team.

Destin Dawg

April 15th, 2012
2:24 pm

We need Mason NOW !!! not in 2 or 3 years !!!!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
2:26 pm

Did this count as MURRAY beating a good defense finally? I am not so sure the New Junkyard Dawg D was that impressive based on what I know about Murray’s ability to beat good teams.

Dawg Bounty Hunter

April 15th, 2012
2:29 pm

play LeMay in the Buffalo game when Murray throws a bad pass/interception… send Murray a message !!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 15th, 2012
2:30 pm

Still@theKool-aidBAR

I will agree with the Mason comment

Mason has shown time again he deserves playing time and yesterday was no different; After what I saw yesterday Murray needs more competition because he is still making bad throws

Destin Dawg

April 15th, 2012
2:54 pm

Hutson Mason is the real deal….. huge passing and scoring at Lassitter H.S… Parade mag 2nd team All American… play “em !!!!!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
3:04 pm

MURRAY must have photos of Richt doing some Missionary Position Work in Florida while he was Recruiting him. Mett Beat Murray, Mason is as good as and maybe better than Murray, but still Murray keeps the job.

CHDawg

April 15th, 2012
3:05 pm

Is it possible you guys might be missing something.? After all, almost nobody complains about CMR/CMB’s QB coaching talent. Maybe the play calling, but assessing and coaching QB talent–nobody. Yet you guys are convinced you know more. Just a fan here, but this is what I saw: Murray continues to show improvement, and he was already very good. I particularly liked how quickly he was getting rid of the ball. He did have some drops, and he unloaded a few under pressure–exactly what great QBs do. With his very young OL, and the top 5 defense he was against, I am sure he was compensating. Remember, he didn’t get to play against the twos. I wouldn’t trade him with any QB in the country, much less on UGA. I think Murray can win the Heisman if we protect him. The problem is that we didn’t protect him last year. He still had great stats, despite the fact that UGA was the worst team in the SEC at protecting the QB–except for Kentucky! Nobody but Kentucky allowed more sacks, and if we had a less mobile QB, we would have probably been the worst. You guys amaze me–I mean, there were smart people who thought Babe Ruth couldn’t hit and he should have stayed at pitcher. I guess it is a good thing the Yankees didn’t listen to them. And BTW, I really like Mason and Lemay, too. You heard it here first, though: if we can protect Murray this year, unlike last year, he will lead us to the crown, or at least put us in close contention for it. We won the SECE last year with terrible protection. We were also near the bottom on tackles for loss, too. Our position players, as a whole, are as good as you can find anywhere–bar none. I hope they move Samuel to TB, because he is another huge weapon on the field. Go Dawgs.

CHDawg

April 15th, 2012
3:09 pm

Make that FB on Samuels. He could play either position, but moving him to FB gets more talent on the field, and gives DCs a terrible problem. We have a bunch of TBs who can run this year–stronger and deeper there than any year in recent memory.

CHDawg

April 15th, 2012
3:12 pm

Samuel, going too fast.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
3:12 pm

If Murray is in the running for the Heisman UGa will be in trouble against the better defenses in the country. Murray will be making stats against the bad competition but to dominate and win the SEC then the Running Game needs to be the Dominant Part of the offensive game plan.

texasdawg

April 15th, 2012
3:26 pm

I agree with you chi! They look at a spring game ,see the backup against the number 2D. Of course he’s ripping it up what do you expect ?? Yes he’s a good qb but a spring game is where all the backups play the hardest because they have more to prove . Plus I’m sure bobo was tweaking the plays trying new calls along with a young OL . It ain’t many centers in the country that can block Jenkins coming up the middle .

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 15th, 2012
3:34 pm

CH Dawg

Great optimism

But we wouldnt even play for the crown even if Herschel Walker, David Green, Aj, Lidsey Scott, and whoever else you want to name was on the field because we dont have the coaching to call plays to win my friend

A coach that cant go for it with 4th and inches inside the 6 yd line against UCF in a meaningless bowl game isnt playing for a national title

I recomend you go play Playstation for that dream to come true

ElvinBishopBand

April 15th, 2012
3:43 pm

Bunch of UGA folks sitting on that bale of Hay! Alabama will repeat in 2012. I have been a Bama fan since 58 and I can tell you this 2012 team will be one of the best football teams we’ve ever had at Alabama. The talent level is amazing on this roster. No missing man team, no wannabe dream team nor ring team for Bama. Just another glass football for the trophy case. Early entry freshman RB was selected MVP (TJ Yeldon) and this kid is a man already at 6 2 and 210. Dillion Lee did pretty good and he’s smart but I think he gets a redshirt but that could change come fall and if so he will be a special teams player only. You’re only getting further behind.

minutedawg

April 15th, 2012
4:06 pm

Last Spring:
1- Murray threw a lot of interceptions, and he etablished habits that worked into his 14 int season
2- Crowell was out last G-Day, this time Marshall, could Marshall be like Crowell was last year?
3- Had trouble running the ball, also had trouble during the season
4- Fans unimpressed with Murray on G-Day suggested going with Lemay or Mason, and predict Murray won’t win any big games, Murray went 0-4 winless again vs. teams that finish top 25, G-Day was an accurate portrait of Murray under pressure, lost first 2 games, and last 2 games, Murray played well only against Boise in the 4 losses
5- Richt stuck to his insistence that Murray was the starter, and stuck to that all season, regardless of how many interceptions Murray tossed (SEC worst 14), how many sacks Murray yielded due to not throwing the ball to outlets (conference worst 32 sacks), how inaccurate Murray was (39% vs. LSU & FLORIDA) and how many big games Murray lost as starter (0-9 record vs. teams that finish in the top 25).

Last Spring showed many things, that turned out to be the reasons we went 10-4, instead of 14-0. I expect this Spring’s habits to overflow into the season again.

Predictions:
1- Murray will throw 18 interceptions, and get sacked 35 times (the O-Line is worse and the best running back blocker transferred and Murray’s habits there are firmly established)
2- Murray will lose to South Carolina & Florida (Murray is 1-3 against 2 biggest rivals) and will make 5 turnovers in thsoe 2 games alone (like he has every year)
3- Murray’s accuracy will fall from a measly 59% to a horrid 52%
4- The run game will falter like it almost always does and finish 7th in the SEC
5- The defense, who allowed 63 points in the G-Day game, will once again finish last in defensive scoring against ranked teams, and again last in conference red zone td’s yielded (I think the offense scored 5 out of 6 times a td in red zone on G-Day)
6- Special teams will continue to be a sore spot, no experience at kicker or punter, no special teams coach

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 15th, 2012
4:14 pm

minutedawg

You should visit the kool-aid bar off of Lumpkin if you do your post would say something about the national championship we will win the Dream Team/Ring Team this season

Come now…. have a round!!

ole yeller

April 15th, 2012
4:17 pm

Looks like the “O” line did good in the spring game. They will come around and be special..

minutedawg

April 15th, 2012
4:20 pm

How about that strength & conditioning program?
13 points in 1st half, but guys got winded and gave up 50 points in 2nd half.

Thought the 2nd half collapses was going to be a “point of emphasis” this Spring?

ole yeller

April 15th, 2012
4:21 pm

Murray is feelind the hot breath of Hutson Mason on his neck. He must start out fast or he will be on the pine.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 15th, 2012
4:39 pm

minutedawg

I think the whole problem with the conditioning program is not the program itself

I believe its the lack of proper hydration;

I think instead of serving the players kool-aid they should go back to serving Powerade instead

I think we could see a big difference in the second half

kingdaddy

April 15th, 2012
4:48 pm

Trollville…….Why don’t bammers have a blog site they can go and slap each other on the back to celebrate their 2012 Championship!!! Yeah, they’ve already won the 2012 N.C. just listen to them on this Ga. blog site tell all you Doggies how bad your team is and how great they are. Truely sickning… It’s not the truth, just more hot air to make them feel better about living in a çrappy state. Bamma didn’t look like world beaters in their spring game and you may not be so lucky this year. Usually when people brag about themselves all the time, they are blow-hards. Try you own sites…

minutedawg

April 15th, 2012
4:48 pm

The o-line just looked so bad on passblocking:

1- Lemay got clobbered, and his ball was easily picked. Protection broke down completely.
2- Welch had a whole bunch of guys swarming who knocked the ball out, and turned it into an easy touchdown.
3- Mason had a bad snap from the inexperienced center, recovered in end zone for instant td.

The inexperienced O-Line has LONG, LONG ways to go in a brief time.

some sense

April 15th, 2012
4:53 pm

Bill,

You are not Coach Bobo’s conscience. You think you are, but you’re not. As a matter of fact, you do not have the credibility to criticize anyone…coaches, players, anyone.

441North

April 15th, 2012
5:05 pm

Bill, also remember Mr. H. R. Holder saying: “Keep smiling until ten o’clock, and the rest of the day WILL take care of itself”.

We have so much talent at QB and RB this year, I sure hope somebody knows something about personnel management, as well as calling plays……..

441North

April 15th, 2012
5:08 pm

Hey, Elvin Bishop Band. Calling all cows up to the barn. UGA IX and company will see you in the dome.

Without Hershel, UGA has been Vandy without the education.

April 15th, 2012
5:09 pm

We missed seeing Ben “chopblock” Jones playing dirty.

Without Hershel, UGA has been Vandy without the education.

April 15th, 2012
5:09 pm

Enter your comments here

Bill Queen

April 15th, 2012
5:22 pm

Bill King, you know absolutely nothing about football!! The battle for QB should be between Mason and LeMay, LeMay adds a new dimension to the GA offense. He can throw the ball with zip down the field, and he can roll out. Mason is smart and makes good decisions. Murray well…….how’s that worked out so far for UGA. Get a clue Bill!

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
5:35 pm

BILL you are taking some abuse for your OPINION. I guess the dWags fans don’t understand this is a Fan Blog or Fan’s Opinion Blog. I guess they are smarter than you of course in their Opinion. Haha don’t you love the LOGIC of some fans Opinions?

New World Man

April 15th, 2012
5:39 pm

UGA beat their top 4 rivals last year: Tennessee, florida, auburn, tech. Who was the qb in those games? When was the last time UGA beat those 4 in the same season? Did David Green do it? Zeier? Stafford?

BlueDawg

April 15th, 2012
5:46 pm

Aaron Murray promised to work on his accuracy in the off season to attempt to improve his accuracy. It didn’t work. He got less accurate, finished at 41% yesterday, while the other 2 QB’s were both over 70%.

In the 3 spring games, Murray is down to 50% accuracy from 59% last season. This pattern of getting worse, was also exhibited last season in interceptions increasing from 8 to 14 from 2010 to 2011. I suspect this year, Murray’s accuracy will also drop, along with his interceptions and sacks going up. Murray doesn’t know how to fix issues. Or maybe he’s not aware. This is not surprising to anyone who watched Murray’s sacks and int’s balloon out of control last season. Now his accuracy is gone too.

441North

April 15th, 2012
5:48 pm

I wasn’t convinced Murray was the best QB on the field yesterday, but I don’t know defenses, and who’s no. 1 or no. 2 etc.. That’s for the coaches, who see them evey day, to decide. I see LeMay as the future of the program. Nice touch. Throws a nice ball.

kingdaddy

April 15th, 2012
5:50 pm

New World Man
You can’t win this argument with logic. They aren’t listening. Pychological Warfare is their game. Most of them didn’t even watch the game because they aren’t Doggies…

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
5:54 pm

NWM….were all of UGa biggest rivals really that bad in one year?

And YES UGA has done that before. I am pretty sure Buck & Herschel did it at least 1 time.

Still@theKool-aidBAR

April 15th, 2012
6:09 pm

1981 the dawgs beat those teams.
1982 too
So the dawgs did it 3 times.
The 80’s are so long ago.

kingdaddy

April 15th, 2012
6:19 pm

The trolls only hear what they want to hear. They don’t care Murray won 10 in a row or that winning or losing is a team effort. When LeMay, Mason and Welsh messed up , it was the OLs fault but Murray had no turnovers but he sucked. They only pick stats that serve their negative agenda. Trolls never change, they just hate on and on…

a man of honor

April 15th, 2012
6:20 pm

hey 441north..

will the dawgs and their fans be sitting with the SCe fans or the LSU/Bama fans on championship day? cause the sorry dawgs sure won’t be playing on the field!