G-Day ‘upset’ of offense not quite what it appeared

Jonathan Rumph didn't catch this ball, but the junior college transfer had a big G-Day game. (Phill Skinner / AJC)

Jonathan Rumph didn't catch this ball, but the junior college transfer had a big G-Day game. (Phill Skinner / AJC)

The consensus seems to be that the Black team’s 23-17 win over the Red team in Saturday’s G-Day game in Athens was an “upset.”

After all, the Reds featured the Bulldogs’ star-studded first-string offense, which returns almost all its starters from last season’s record-setting unit, while the Blacks had the first-string defense, which is having to rebuild after losing most of its starters.

But while a case definitely can be made that the Red offense underperformed in Saturday’s intrasquad game before a record crowd of 45,113 on a beautiful spring day at Sanford Stadium, it’s only fair to note that they weren’t at full strength, with their top receivers not playing due to injury, quarterback Aaron Murray only playing about two quarters’ worth, and the “Gurshall” tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall barely in the game, with Gurley having only four carries for 25 yards and Marshall six carries for 6 yards. (J.J. Green led the Reds with eight rushes for 27 yards.)

Meanwhile, the Blacks, led by second-string quarterback Hutson Mason, benefited from having the day’s standout performance by a receiver in junior-college transfer Jonathan Rumph’s four receptions for 98 yards, including two touchdown catches, and also in having the stronger backup QB in Parker Welch, who in passing was four of eight for 103 yards, including a pretty 47-yard touchdown strike to Rumph, while Murray’s primary backup on the Reds was Christian LeMay, who had another terrible day, going 0-for-6 through the air with an interception.

Still, the big story of the day was the starting defense, playing for the Blacks. Most observers kind of expected the rest of the game to go like Saturday’s opening drive, in which Murray led the Red offense on a five-play, 75-yard scoring drive, but the Black defense then notched four straight three-and-outs before giving up a Marshall Morgan field goal and then another touchdown in the final minute of the first half when Murray showed off the Dogs’ quick-strike scoring capability, completing passes to Rhett McGowan and Justin Scott-Wesley for a 17-7 halftime lead. The Blacks’ lone first-half score was a 20-yard TD pass from Mason to Rumph, Georgia’s tallest receiver at 6-foot-5.

In the second half, however, with LeMay and true freshman Brice Ramsey at the controls much of the time in place of Murray, the Black defense definitely had the upper hand, and the Reds were completely shut out. (Ramsey, who’s expected to redshirt, did at least get the chance to show off a strong passing arm on a couple of plays.)

Meanwhile, the Black offense, which initially had little success running with Brandon Harton, fared better in the second half as Kyle Karempelis darted for 89 yards on 13 carries (with one fumble) and a trio of backup placekickers converted three field goals.

One of the problems offensively for both teams was the number of “sacks” (nine), though that’s a bit misleading in that officials were blowing the whistle to stop the play if a quarterback was touched and, as offensive coordinator/Red team coach Mike Bobo noted, in several of those instances the QB simply held on to the ball too long.

The quick whistles also stymied a bunch of quarterback keepers. Even so, it wasn’t a great day for either the first- or second-string offensive lines, particularly in run-blocking. (There was a bit of team-switching during the game, with John Theus, who spent the day continuing his experimental stay at left tackle, among those playing in both red and white jerseys.)

Both starting quarterbacks got off to slow starts but ultimately both looked pretty good, with Murray going 12-of-18 for 200 yards and two touchdowns and Mason ending up 16-of-27 for 191 yards , a touchdown and an interception. There were some nice catches made and some passes dropped on both sides.

Overall, the starting defense for the Blacks, including the front, looked pretty impressive and freshman linebacker Reggie Carter continued to make a case for playing time, notching an interception (his third in three spring scrimmages) in addition to seven tackles, and another frosh, Reggie Wilkerson, looked solid at cornerback, stepping in for projected starter Sheldon Dawson, who was held out with a hamstring problem. Spring star Tray Matthews looked good in the secondary and Josh Harvey-Clemons looked sharp alternating between safety and nickel back.

The best defensive play probably came late in the game when Murray and Marshall were re-inserted into the Red lineup to try and convert a fourth-and-1 on a pitch out, but the Black defense held.

Overall, the closeness of the score (a hallmark of these first-string vs. first string games) made it a fairly entertaining G-Day for fans, despite the numerous drives that ended in punts (which were not returned).

And, hey, it was Georgia football Between the Hedges — always something worth cheering.

POST-SCRIPTS

The halftime entertainment included a contest between a couple of fans in which former Dawgs helped out, with Blair Walsh kicking, Eric Zeier throwing and — best of all — former center Ben Jones kicking a couple of PATs! … The big screen on the scoreboard also featured a music video for the song “Dawg Bite” by David Richt (son of) and Colt Ford that included Georgia’s grinning head coach joining in a couple of choreographed moves. As I told my daughter, fathers will do anything for their kids. … As usual, there were problems with both the game clock and the officials’ microphones, both of which are recurring problems at Sanford Stadium. Isn’t it about time those issues were addressed? Also, looking ahead to the coming season, let’s hope the athletic association finally does something about providing fans with free Wi-Fi service inside the stadium.

Got something you want to discuss concerning UGA athletics? Or maybe a question you want the Junkyard Blawg to tackle? If so, send it to junkyardblawg@gmail.com.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

64 comments Add your comment

Dawgs Run This State

April 7th, 2013
2:41 pm

Really liked what I saw from Rumph and Karempelis is making a real statement to be our third feature back behind Gurshall.

Dawgs Run This State!

Bulldawg35

April 7th, 2013
2:49 pm

Things would of been different if Murray would of played the whole game. I hope this young defense will be better than last year. I have my doubts…..but we do have more depth and that should help out a whole lot. Look just wait when Johnson and Langley plus wiggins get here.

Macclenny_dawg

April 7th, 2013
3:08 pm

Murray as always started out slow!!! This has to be fixed before Clemson!!! We have the talent to be special!!! Lemay is just not cut out for our pro style system. Overall a good job by all. Continue to commit to the Grind!!! Go Dawgs!!!

Flat Tire Doesnt Live in Delusionalville Ga.

April 7th, 2013
3:32 pm

“As usual, there were problems with both the game clock and the officials’ microphones, both of which are recurring problems at Sanford Stadium. Isn’t it about time those issues were addressed?”"

Yea I said the same thing yesterday but our athletic department would rather not spend any money but instead whine about Nick Saban hiring consultants even though its legal to do

7576DAWG

April 7th, 2013
4:03 pm

Still worried about our run Defense. Our Offensive line has got to be consistently good and not just half the time.

Owen Scott, III

April 7th, 2013
4:27 pm

Thanks for the informative review, Bill.

Bulldogs for Muschamp Lifetime Contract

April 7th, 2013
5:04 pm

Meanwhile, in Gainesville, Driskell continues to not be able to complete a forward pass to anyone except a couple of blond coeds.
His running ability is all he has

That equals 3 in a row for UGA in Jacksonville

Rabun Dawg

April 7th, 2013
5:39 pm

The UGA baseball team just lost 2 of 3 to Mizzou and are now 2-10 in the SEC. How much longer is CDP going to stay on and keep dragging the baseball program down. Get rid of the guy immediately, if not sooner!! And, is LeMay a bust, or what?

bardawg

April 7th, 2013
5:55 pm

I’m certainly surprised by LeMay’s apparant ineptitude. I don’t think it would hurt my feelings if he would persue another endeavor.

Bulldawg35

April 7th, 2013
5:59 pm

I’m also worried about the defensive backups against the run….the first team defense against the run was a lot better…..time Perno to resign….don’t wait on Mcgarity to let u go

7576DAWG

April 7th, 2013
7:00 pm

The only way LeMay has a chance at the next level is to change positions. I am amazed he has change to Receiver yet.

JWOW

April 7th, 2013
7:02 pm

Man, Hutson Mason led his team to another victory, he looked great out there again.

Murray, another loss. Murray’s off-season work with Qb guy didn’t help. Lost again. Except for the last 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter, Murray looked pretty bad.

I wonder why winning Qb Mason wasn’t available by Richt for interviews? Seemed odd not to have the excitement from the winning side Qb Hutson Mason.

JWOW

April 7th, 2013
7:05 pm

Like most here, I’d opt for Lemay or Mason anyday over 1-10 record against teams that finish in the top 20 A Murray. Can’t imagine any true dawg fan disagreeing, unless they think 1-10 is a good record.

Dang, even with the defense losing 12 guys to the NFL, Murray couldn’t break 20 points on an inexperienced defense.

No wonder Bobo was so upset, that performance by Murray and his offense was embarrasing.

JWOW

April 7th, 2013
7:14 pm

Kyle Karampelis ran all over the defense, 80+ yards, bout 6.5 per carry, the little guy just stomped on the defense.

Grantham still has no clue how to stop the run. Guess the trend from the last 4 games continues there. Proves it wasn’t Rodney Garner’s fault. Not good news for dawg fans. The new DLINE coach is a disaster.

JWOW

April 7th, 2013
7:21 pm

Murray led the team to 5 punts in the 1st half, should have put in Lemay.

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

April 7th, 2013
8:01 pm

JWOW is such a loser. Your arguments are so idiotic that they do not even warrant a response. I wish there was a way to ban people below a certain intelligence level of posting on this board. It would be a lot better that way. Stop trolling the AJC boards and get a life. You’re probably some high school kid with no life who happens to be a Florida, Auburn or Georgia Tech fan.

Bulldawg35

April 7th, 2013
8:33 pm

Jwow…..you are just looking for attention. Murray is a lot better than mason.

JWOW

April 7th, 2013
8:48 pm

So, 1 “fan” likes Murray’s 1 win, 10 loss record vs. teams that finish in the top 20. Anyone think we got a South Carolina fan on the board here? Yep.

Me and the 99%, we don’t care for losing 90% of those big games. We’ve tried Murray in big games for 3 years, 1 win, 10 losses. Let’s try something else, like the QB who always beats him, Hutson Mason.

What’s up with Keith Marshall getting 6 yards on 6 carries? Yikes!

Dawg Fan in FL

April 7th, 2013
9:00 pm

JWOW, go away. Your rantings have gone on for 3 years, and you always change your name to give the illusion that more than one moron shares your opinion. How many interceptions did Murray have and how many did Mason have? How many plays did Murray have and how many did Mason have? Please go away!!!!

MIGHTY DAWGS!

April 7th, 2013
9:33 pm

JWOW What is Mason’s win loss ratio in big games? ZERO He played over three quarters of the game to Murray’s less then two. Murray went 12 of 18 for 200 yards with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Mason was 16 of 27 for 191 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. That tells me Murray won hands down in all categories! Attempts, yards, touchdowns and interceptions. Murray even lead in scoring drives! You just need to shut it!

The Tide is Rolling and Nothing Can Stop it!

April 7th, 2013
10:10 pm

Is it time to talk about how awesome your Defense is going to be again?

The penal colony is football dumb…

RED DOG 77

April 7th, 2013
10:32 pm

It would seem some of the young players [as well as some who post here] are begining to mature. I’m excited about Reggie Carter, JHC as well as the way these kids are being brought along. Georgia usually always has the ability for a big season, lets hope 2013 is our year……….all things BULLDOG are looking very interesting, I don’t see any reason we can’t win a boat load of games this year, mabe the BIG ONE?…………only time will tell. It sure is sweet to be a Georgia Bulldog…………….RED

Blake

April 8th, 2013
3:46 am

Enter your comments here

Blake

April 8th, 2013
3:52 am

I personally liked the play of Jonathan Taylor. That kid is gonna be a BEAST. He is one of the most athletic guys I have ever seen for his size. 335lbs is gonna be hard to deal with, with the way he moves. I’m curious to hear about John Atkins who went down with a knee injury in the 2nd quarter. I hope it wasn’t a season ending one, because he was gonna be one of the guys we were gonna heavily lean on at NT. As far as JWOW goes…..well not much to say except he has to be either a troll or some ignorant kid. No one puts a lot of stock into spring games as far as wins or losses go. That’s not their real purpose. It’s all about player evaluation. Murray’s the man until he leaves and when he leaves he will probably own every UGA and SEC passing record.

dale

April 8th, 2013
6:45 am

WiFi? You can’t complain about student section apathy and then request the Sanford provide WiFi.

RP

April 8th, 2013
7:03 am

JWOW appears to be the same guy that was posting under a different handle a few days ago. I think Bill covered all of the mitigating factors you have to consider in evaluating this game. Positives were the emergence of Rumph, JSW, and McGowan and the depth of the d front. Also, I think they should have allowed Mason to lead the first team offense in the second half. If we want him to be ready to play this year, we owe him that opportunity.

bad brad

April 8th, 2013
7:03 am

If you let the students go back to reselling their tickets to other students, there wouldnt be an student apathy issue. Wi-Fi would be a good move. Can’t wait for 8/31.

NCDawg

April 8th, 2013
8:37 am

It’s G-Day folks… a glorified scrimmage, nothing more-nothing less. Reading anything into the results more than evaluating effort is really useless. Harton looked like a world beater a couple of years ago. The O-line is being juggled around as an experiment. It was a scrimmage held in Sanford Stadium. I love G-Day but it is not a very reliable barometer. Getting worried or excited based on a play here or there is a waste of energy. The crowd, however, is something to get excited about. The Bulldog Nation is hungry.
And good googly moogly… do some you people just sit around waiting for a new blog so you can continue to gripe about the program? It’s the same ol’crap… give it a break. If you love Bama so much just go ahead and jump ship… no one will miss you. 100 to 1 you’ll find crap to moan about in their program too. On second thought, Vegas won’t give odds on something that is guaranteed.

AltamahaDawg

April 8th, 2013
9:27 am

I can’t believe anybody is even seriously discussion the offense “issues” when they didn’t play its top receivers, barely it’s top RB, shuffled around the line, and hardly had it’s record setting starter QB past page 2 of the playbook.

Good heavens, we had some (literally) children out there at times.

dawgfan3334

April 8th, 2013
10:41 am

Does anybody know where you can go to see the video by David Richt?

AltamahaDawg

April 8th, 2013
10:42 am

brad, I know I personally am not that concerned that a student who had no intentions on going to the ball game, was apathetic or not.

Rox

April 8th, 2013
10:56 am

Agreed, Steve S0purrier threw a party when he found out A Murray was back. Why not? A Murray’s 0-3 against South Carolina, add in Alabama, LSU, and we find Murray has never won a game against any of the top 3 sec teams in three years. Turns out, Florida is the only team that ended up in the top 20 AP Poll that Murray’s every won a game against, and Murray had 3 turnovers in that game. Murray is 0-10 in the other 10 attempts to win a significant game.

dale

April 8th, 2013
11:16 am

I work in tech and mobile devices are the bread and butter. But why on earth does a fan need internet access at a Georgia game? You can’t unplug and soak in the atmosphere for 3 hours? If you want to play angry birds at halftime then pony up the dough.

CHDawg

April 8th, 2013
11:53 am

Rox for brains…one would think Murray is the only player who can sway the outcome of a ballgame listening to you. Just like Henry Aaron ruined the Braves chances of winning, and Clowney caused S. Carolina to lose to Florida and LSU. Your logic is faulty. Murray is a great QB, but the Dawgs will sink or swim as a team.

AltamahaDawg

April 8th, 2013
11:56 am

What was Jarvis Jones record against top 20 teams?

Moobs

April 8th, 2013
11:57 am

It isn’t Murray’s fault that Tech stinks so bad that they win their division and NEVER finish in the top 20. His record against the ACC is around……. 100%..

WDE

April 8th, 2013
1:20 pm

Lets see last couple of years Murray has lead us to wins over UT,UF, Auburn and Bug U both years and two SEC East titles…..we were 12-2 last year..question how many teams did we beat to KEEP them from being a top 20 team? And wasn’t UF and Neb in the top 20 last year?

CHDawg

April 8th, 2013
1:26 pm

Well, here are my thoughts on GDay. D line looks pretty good, but inexperienced in spots. They will have to gel quickly, but we clearly have a lot of talent. The back end is worrisome because of experience. The whole D has a lot of potential, but they will be tested early and often. CTG has a real opportunity to shine. If we have a solid D next year, he will garner a lot of respect. The O line didn’t look great to me, but they were experimenting a lot. They did look good at times. Depth is clearly much better, but the key question I have is how much better the starting crew will be compared to last year. They have to improve a lot because we may need to control the clock more next year. Mason got some great reps, and he is a very solid and dependable number two. This was great experience for when he is number one. Pretty standard Spring Game, with a lot of rust on the wheels. CMB was right about the O lacking execution. The big question is how good these guys want to be. We have some serious talent, and if we get some key people back from rehab we could go a long way this year.

Bill King

April 8th, 2013
1:32 pm

I don’t personally miss WiFi at a game but I have heard quite a few people complain about the lack of it (particularly those young people we’d like to get attending games more regularly) and I know other schools in the SEC are adding or moving to add it. It’s a fact of life now that when people are at an event, be it a concert, game or whatever, they like to tweet and post status updates and photos. So why not keep up with the times and accomodate them?

NCDawg

April 8th, 2013
1:41 pm

Adding Wifi would not be all that expensive in comparison to things like the jumbotron and other renovations. It may be the cheapest upgrade Sanford has ever received. Go for it. If it gets the students jazzed, it’s good for the program. Period.

WDE

April 8th, 2013
1:47 pm

Add the Wifi for so many folks today young and old its as important to be seen at an event and let all your friends KNOW your there as it is to actually be there. Go Dogs….

Sport

April 8th, 2013
4:22 pm

Some problems I saw on GDay:
1- The oline can’t block, it was a sack-a-rama
2- Keith Marshall looked slower and didn’t gain more than 7 yards
3- Hutson Mason outrushed Gurley & Marshall combined
4- Defense gave up 83 rush yards to a 3rd string running back
5- defense gave up 450 yards passing
6- Murray and the offense didn’t score much

Overall, my grades:
OLINE F
DLINE F-
DEFENSE D+
OFFENSE F-
MARSHALL D-
MURRAY C-
MASON B+
GURLEY B-
KAREMPELIS A-

Sport

April 8th, 2013
4:42 pm

Saw 2 SEC Qb’s had big spring games:
Tyler Russell bombed for 6 td’s
AJ McCarron bombed for 4 td’s

dcATH

April 8th, 2013
5:55 pm

Wi-Fi would be useful to check stats and scores from other games. The scoreboard updates are sometimes way behind or not working at all.

Bill King

April 8th, 2013
9:33 pm

To “Sport”:

A few notes on the “problems” you saw at G-Day:

1. Many of those “sacks” wouldn’t have been so in a real game.
2. Marshall is coming back from an injury and didn’t play much.
3. Mason ran it a lot more than Gurley and Marshall.
4. The 3rd string running back had his success against the 2nd-string defense.
5. The passing stat you cite is combined for both teams.
6. Murray played not quite two quarters and his backups were the weakest or youngest members of the QB corps.

DAWGMAN

April 9th, 2013
1:43 am

Good job, Bill. Great to hear that weather wasn’t a factor.
If a smart, educated guy like Aaron M. thinks an indoor facility would help to prepare for a more difficult season ahead, then I would listen to him.
Finally I say let the talent bloom!

NCDawg

April 9th, 2013
7:06 am

Sport – the line is being juggled as an experiment. It’s G-Day… a glorified scrimmage. No need to suck the chair up your rear end dude, Remember, Harton looked like a world beater a couple of springs ago. See my post a few lines back.

BigDawg

April 9th, 2013
7:53 am

Glorified scrimmage that answered some questions, some positive, some negative. Bright spot is the talent on defense is there for the Dawgs to have a good season. Only now have to jell and execute in the real games this fall. Juggling OL caused some of the inconsistency and not having Gurley in there to carry the ball, makes me wonder if he has been hurt or are the coaches just being cautious. It does worry me that Marshall only got 6 yards on 6 carries with all that speed, I would have expected him to be stronger and able to break tackles. Anyways it is what it is, hopefully these guys are doing the right things to get better as the first part of the season is a killer- Clemson, South Carolina and then LSU the 4th week of the season.

Go Dawgs

NCDawg

April 9th, 2013
8:15 am

I wonder if they are pulling punches just to not give Clemson anything to work with. Gurley has been working alot on pass protection and supposedly on being a receiver out of the backfield as well. Like I said earlier the only thing you can take away from a spring game is who is a gamer and who is giving maximum effort.

AltamahaDawg

April 9th, 2013
8:56 am

WiFi doesn’t even seem like a question. I’m pretty surprised that wasn;t in place years ago.

Also, Don’t encourage fans to tweet messages for the scoll, but then repeat the same 9 all day.