Athens — I tried to hit the highlights of Wednesday’s full scrimmage, the first of Georgia’s preseason camp, in this story. But if you want more, here goes:
– The scrimmage marked another significant marker on the comeback trail for OT Trinton Sturdivant and DT Jeff Owens, both returning from devastating knee injuries. Both got through the scrimmage in good shape, coach Mark Richt said, continuing setback-free preseasons. Quarterback Joe Cox was talking appreciatively about Sturdivant a couple of days ago: “You can tell he’s got all his strength back. . . . He’s definitely one of those special linemen that have feet like a skill guy. Anytime you have a guy like that, especially on your blind side, it makes you pretty confident when you’re back there.”
– Richt’s overview of the scrimmage, which matched the No. 1 offense vs. the No. 2 defense (and the No. 1 defense vs. the No. 2 offense): “Our No. 1 offense did extremely well, and our No. 1 defense did extremely well. Too much disparity in my mind between our 1’s and our 2’s right now. There should be better competition when our 2’s go against our 1’s on both sides of the ball.”
– The highly touted freshman tight ends caught five balls –- three by Orson Charles and two by Arthur Lynch. The more veteran tight end, Aron White, didn’t play because of a tender hamstring.
– Veteran linebackers Rennie Curran, Akeem Dent, Darryl Gamble and Darius Dewberry did not play in the scrimmage, mostly to get a look at younger guys. “I think coach [John] Jancek wanted to see his young pups play,” Richt said. One who got to play a lot: freshman Mike Gilliard, from Valdosta. Hours later, Curran admiringly mentioned one big hit Gilliard administered.
– As Richt read the “official unofficial” stats of the scrimmage to the media, one that jumped out was defensive end Rod Battle’s 3.5 sacks, especially considering that the team’s D-ends combined for just 9.5 sacks last season. Battle battled a series of injuries last year -– hamstring, neck, shoulder. “He never really got on track,” Richt said. “He’s excited to be healthy, and he’s practicing well. It’s good that we’ve got a bunch of healthy D-ends right now, period. We will be better [there], no doubt.”
– While Richard Samuel’s scrimmage stats caused a stir in Bulldog Nation, Richt wasn’t overlooking his one fumble: “Right now I would think the incentive of playing time would really help him hold on to the ball.”
– All in all, a looooong day. Georgia was determined to get in two practices and had to had to schedule around rainy weather to do it. The scrimmage, originally scheduled for late afternoon, was moved to mid-morning. The second practice started under the lights 11 hours later, at 9 p.m. Players left the field around 10:15 p.m. Ever been on a practice field later than that? “Not that I remember,” safety Bryan Evans said.
– Curran, speaking late in the night about what he saw from Samuel in the morning scrimmage: “He definitely ran with some power, ran through some tackles, made a couple of jukes here and there. . . . You definitely could tell that he has been working hard.” Curran said RB Carlton Thomas also “looked good.” Thomas had five carries for 60 yards.