ATHENS –- Saturday morning in Sanford Stadium, Georgia coaches will get their best look yet at their quarterback competition and new 3-4 defense.
The Bulldogs will hold their first of three spring scrimmages, and even though the 92,000 seats will be empty, coach Mark Richt and his assistants have stressed that this is showtime.
“Coach Richt was talking after practice [Thursday],” quarterback Aaron Murray said, “that this is going to be the first test for everyone, [the time] to see where everyone is at, what we have learned and where we have come after two weeks of practice.”
The scrimmage will be closed to the public and media, but closely analyzed by the coaches.
“Tomorrow ought to be fun,” Richt said Friday. “I think guys will be revved up, ready to go. . . . I think they’re ready to compete.”
Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs went so far as to say that he expected players to be studying their playbooks Friday night.
“I think it’s going to be a good showdown,” Dobbs said, between the revamped defense and the quarterback-seeking offense.
At quarterback, Richt said Murray, Logan Gray and Zach Mettenberger will share scrimmage snaps equally. And on the revamped defense, Richt said the fog has cleared enough for quasi-game-like conditions.
“I’m glad we have waited this long to have the first scrimmage,” he said, “because I think our defense is more prepared now than if we had tried something a little sooner.
“It’s still a little foggy for coaches and players, quite frankly, but the thing I love the most is just the high energy level out there.”
No firm personnel decisions will be reached based on what happens in one scrimmage, of course, but players are not underrating the importance of their performances.
“It’s the first chance to get out there and really just compete and cut it loose,” tight end Aron White said. “It’s a way to see where you’re at. . . . It definitely helps [the coaches] shake out the depth chart, see who’s ready, who’s not ready, what we have to work on.”
Orson Charles apparently has taken the early lead in the battle for the starting job at tight end, one of the Dogs’ deepest positions.
“I believe Orson is No. 1 on the depth chart right now,” White said. “He’s been taking reps vs. the 1’s, but you never know who’s going to be in there.”