(Click here for scrimmage statistics.)
ATHENS – Georgia’s football team held its next-to-last scrimmage of spring practice Saturday morning in Sanford Stadium.
Well, some of the team did, anyway.
Eighteen players were sidelined by various injuries — a reflection of a grueling spring of physical practices.
At least five projected defensive starters were among those not participating: cornerback Brandon Boykin, safety Bacarri Rambo, cornerback/safety Sanders Commings and inside linebackers Christian Robinson and Alec Ogletree. Boykin, Commings and Robinson were sidelined because of concussions, Rambo because of a sprained knee ligament and Ogletree because of a strained groin.
The scrimmage was closed to the public and media, but statistics provided afterward by coach Mark Richt revealed that the Bulldogs had more success throwing than running — or, if you prefer to look at it the other way, more success stopping the run than stopping the pass.
Richt reported that the quarterbacks threw five touchdown passes -– three by backup Hutson Mason and one apiece by starter Aaron Murray and freshman Christian LeMay –- but that the top rusher, tailback Carlton Thomas, had just 26 yards on eight carries.
“Not much in the way of running the ball,” Richt said, “but the guys [pass-]protected pretty good, threw and caught pretty good.”
Of course, they were throwing and catching against an injury-depleted secondary.
“When you compete the way we’ve been competing and hit the way we’ve been hitting, there’s going to be some [injuries],” Richt said. “But my goal this spring was to make sure we’re a physical football team and a team that will get after it every time we put pads on. And I have seen that.”
Said wide receiver Tavarres King: “We’re out there grinding. It’s been a pretty rough spring, but we needed it. I feel like we needed it to get back to where we need to be.”
Richt said he expects “a bunch” of the injured players back at practice next week, including tailback Washaun Ealey, who has been sidelined most of the spring with a strained hamstring.
The numbers game
More details from the scrimmage:
Georgia will have three more practices –- Monday, Tuesday and Thursday –- before wrapping up the spring with the annual G-Day intra-squad game at 1 p.m. Saturday in Sanford Stadium.
Richt plans a new method of choosing sides for the spring game. In the past, coaches have chosen the squads, generally putting the first-string offense on the “red” team and the first-string defense on the “black” team. This time, Richt plans to pick offensive and defensive captains for each side and let them “draft” players for their rosters.
“Shoot, I’ve wanted to do this for years, but I always let the assistant coaches talk me out of it,” Richt said. “This year, I’m not going to let them.”
Players won’t know how high, or low, they are drafted. The selections will be made with only the captains, Richt and director of sports medicine Ron Courson in the room, and then the rosters will be posted.
– Tim Tucker, AJC