UPDATED: Freshman TB Todd Gurley stars (again) in Georgia’s scrimmage

Georgia freshman tailback Todd Gurley has gained 167 yards on 15 touches and with two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' two preseason scrimmages. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

Georgia freshman tailback Todd Gurley has gained 167 yards and scored three touchdowns on 15 touches in the Bulldogs' two preseason scrimmages. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

ATHENS – Let the hype begin.

Georgia coach Mark Richt tried to downplay the performance of tailback Todd Gurley in Wednesday’s scrimmage. The freshman from Tarboro, N.C, led the Bulldogs in rushing for the second time in as many scrimmages this preseason. This time with 87  yards on 7 carries, two touchdowns — including a 66-yarder –  and two receptions for another 22 yards.

But Richt was unable to dampen the excitement of Georgia’s players, who are making up their own mind about what they’re seeing from the young back.

“Special,” senior safety Shawn Williams said. “When I’m standing on the sideline and watching, all I can say is, ‘Wow!’ I don’t want to say too much, but when I saw that [number] 3 running down through there today, I was like, ‘that’s going to be a Trent Richardson right there.’ That’s what I can say. Big and fast, that’s all I can see.”

Said wide receiver Chris Conley, who had a pretty good day himself with 4 catches for 114 yards and a score: “I’m seeing a lot of great things out of Todd. He’s definitely maturing fast. He’s definitely picking up the plays very fast. He’s finding the running lanes, he’s got great vision and he’s actually got a lot of speed for a guy who’s that big. He has a knack for staying on his feet when he gets hit and he’ll just keep moving. It gets me very excited whenever you see a running back who can create plays like that when there’s really nothing there.”

Gurley also led all Georgia backs in the first scrimmage of the preseason last week. He had 6 carries for 58 yards and a 40-yard TD run in that one

Richt was excited about what he saw, too. He was just a little more measured in his assessment of Gurley in what he otherwise described as a “pretty good” scrimmage.

“Well, he had one big run,” Richt said. “I forget the situation but the one that broke out I think was a short-yardage run. A lot of times that happens. . . . But, yes, he’s done well and I’m impressed with him. I was impressed with the running backs today. They all ran well.”

Keith Marshall also averaged 12.4 yards per carry (5 for 62) and busted a 52-yard run. Richard Samuel had 6 for 40 with a TD and Ken Malcome added a TD and 35 yards on 5 carries.

“So it was nice to see that for the offense,” Richt said. “Not for the defense.”

Overall, Richt was had a negative view of the Bulldogs’ 90-minute scrimmage, which featured eight turnovers, including a fumble and an interception from each quarterback. There were highs such as the No. 1 offense scoring on its first three drives; and lows, such as the No. 2 offense driving the length of the field to score on the No. 1 defense.

“I thought we looked like a pretty good team,” Richt said. “But pretty good is about 8-4, maybe 9-3 if you’re lucky. We’d like to do better than 8-4, but that’s about how we played today. It wasn’t just awful but it wasn’t great. . . . I didn’t see a team that was ready to be great. I saw a team that was still pretty good. So I wasn’t that thrilled about it.”

Other notable stats from the scrimmage:

  • Quarterback Aaron Murray was 8-of-14 passing for 158 yards with a 78-yard touchdown, an interception and a fumble;
  • Freshman wideout Blake Tibbs had 3 catches for 32 yards and a touchdown;
  • Linebacker Chase Vasser had 6 tackles, 4 tackles for loss and 3 sacks;
  • Williams had 4 tackles and an interception.

Probably the best news: Richt said there were no significant injuries that will knock anybody out of any upcoming practices.

The scrimmage was closed to media but here’s the “unofficial official stats” offered by Richt afterward:

RUSHING

  • Gurley 7-87-2 TDs
  • Marshall 5-62
  • Samuel 6-40-1
  • Malcome 5-35-1
  • Harton 7-31

PASSING

  • Murray 8-14-158-1-1
  • Mason 8-18-67-1-1
  • LeMay 2-5-35-0-1

RECEIVING

  • Conley 4-114-1
  • Tibbs 3-32-1
  • Rome 2-32
  • Gurley 2-22
  • T. King 2-9

DEFENSE

  • Vasser 6 tackles, 4 TFLs, 3 sacks
  • S. Williams 4 Ts, 1 INT
  • Rambo 4 Ts
  • A. Ogletree 4 Ts, 2 TFLs, 2 sacks
  • Harvey-Clemons 4 Ts, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT
  • Drew 4 Ts
  • Swann 3 Ts
  • J. Jones 3 Ts, 1 sack
  • Commings 3 Ts

KICKING

  • Morgan 1×1 FG (42)

PUNTING

  • Barber 2-49.5 (avg)

About those turnovers

Richt was clearly aggravated by all the turnovers, which included fumbles by four different quarterbacks and three interceptions.

“I saw a lot of bad things,” Richt said. “I saw three bad interceptions, just bad throws. Every time a quarterback got touched, they fumbled the ball. They’re not supposed to get tackled but sometimes they’ll get touched. Everytime they got hit a little bit, they fumbled the ball.”

Murray struggled with ball-security a year ago, throwing 14 interceptions and losing five fumbles. It marred an otherwise productive season in which he passed for 3,149 yards and 35 touchdowns.

“We’ve got to take care of the ball; we can’t be careless with the ball,” Murray said. “I think we’ve done a great job all of camp of not having many interceptions or fumbles. . . . Today we weren’t as sharp as we need to be. We had a couple of fumbles in the pocket where we weren’t keeping two hands on the ball at all times. We’ve just got to be more careful.”

Richt said some of the carelessness could be explained because the quarterbacks don’t get hit during the preseason.

“Sometimes they’ll relax because they know they’re not going to get hit and they can make that an excuse if they want to,” he said. “But the bottom line is, just like we tell the running backs, when we run a play, you better bring that ball back to the manager. I don’t care if the whistle blew and they ripped it out. The ball came out [four] times between our quarterbacks on what wasn’t even a vicious tackle or anything like that. So we better get better at that.”

Williams said the defense deserves some credit for so many balls hitting the ground.

“We were real aggressive,” he said. “We were trying to force the issue. We forced a lot of turnovers. Rambo forced a fumble, I had an interception, Corey Moore had a nice interception and B-Smith had a couple of pass-breakups. So we did our job.”

Conley goes deep

Conley, a sophomore flanker from Paulding County, had one of the biggest plays of the scrimmage when he hauled in a pass from Murray for a 70-yard score. It was one of four catches he had to lead the Bulldogs receivers on Wednesday.

“We were doing a great job with play-action today,” said Conley, who 288 yards as a backup last season. “The defense bit on a fake and Aaron made a great throw. It was a play-action boot(leg) and the cornerback  bit. Great pass.”

Drew plays big in return

Sophomore Ray Drew was unable to practice for a week due to a concussion. But not only did he return to live action on Wednesday, he was one of the defensive standouts in the Bulldogs scrimmage with four tackles.

“I believe this was a big-statement scrimmage here,” said Drew, who moved to defensive end from outside linebacker. “This was the last scrimmage we’ll have as a team before we start actually preparing for Buffalo. So this was a chance to show coaches that I’m ready and that I can actually play. . . . Being able to get out there and show them I know what I’m doing and can go full speed and make plays helped me out.”

SI tabs Dogs No. 9

Georgia was picked No. 9 in the Sports Illustrated preseason rankings released on Thursday. The Bulldogs were picked No. 6 in the USA today/Coaches poll released earlier this month. The Associated Press poll comes out on Saturday.

Picture Day on Saturday

Fans’ Picture Day will be held Saturday in the Reed Plaza area of Sanford Stadium. Tickets are required for access to the area where Richt and the bulldog mascot “Russ” will be located. Those tickets will be distributed at 8 a.m. Saturday to the first 150 fans east end ticket window on East Campus Road.

The Georgia cheerleaders will be available from 1-5 p.m, Russ and other UGA sports teams from 1-3 p.m. and football players and Richt from 3-5 p.m.

346 comments Add your comment

UGA88

August 15th, 2012
8:59 pm

go get em gurley!

Georgia Regents University? What? Are you kidding?

Uga30

August 15th, 2012
9:00 pm

First go dawgs

Honey boo boo

August 15th, 2012
9:00 pm

AUTOMATIC WEAPONS

August 15th, 2012
9:02 pm

BOUT THEM DAWGS!!!
GOD BLESS DIXIE

The BIG DAWG

August 15th, 2012
9:06 pm

Like what I’m hearing from Richt. No rosy comments is a good thing. Sign that this team is mature enough to handle criticism. Also like what we’re hearing about the RB’s.

Simpson

August 15th, 2012
9:06 pm

we just need one RB to be a game breaker. what if we have 2 or 3?

What's happened

August 15th, 2012
9:06 pm

to the defense?

MattDawg

August 15th, 2012
9:08 pm

Looks pretty good to me, the interceptions and fumbles are a concern though. Glad to see the defensive stats look good though. Its hard when you play against yourself.

Bigboy Dawg

August 15th, 2012
9:11 pm

Looks like the Dog defense needs to get it together!

Steamer Lane Bulldog

August 15th, 2012
9:12 pm

The N. Carolina boys and the new punter seem to be rounding, into pretty good shape.
The suspended guys are playing great. I just wish they could be more mature and stay out of trouble.
The Mizzou game scares me a little.

greg t

August 15th, 2012
9:12 pm

Over 450 yards of offense. Looks like the O Line may be coming together. Gotta clean up the turnovers but overall a good scrimmage, especially the no injuries part. Go Dawgs

Soft schedule soft coach

August 15th, 2012
9:14 pm

A pick and a fumble – Murray still the same old Murray

What's happened

August 15th, 2012
9:17 pm

to the defense? 450 yards of offense sounds like we are in for another year like last year. Defense good against second tier teams, but gives up big points and yardage to the better teams if the Dog offense is really that good.

Bad Dawg

August 15th, 2012
9:21 pm

Pretty good is not good enough for me. Another 8-4 or 9-3 regular season with the schedule would be considered an absolute failure. Nice to hear the offense is catching up the defense though.

Dawg58

August 15th, 2012
9:22 pm

Dawgs are gonna whip Missouri. 34-17. Good Dawgs!

Rob

August 15th, 2012
9:22 pm

1st: uga88 gru? What were they thinking?

2nd: I like the sound of these stats we worry about ints and fumbles but this could easily be because of good defense. I’d rather see both sides making plays than only one dominating. Makes team more complete. Let’s just hope JHC lives up to those impressive stats he threw up come regular season! GO DAWGS!

ugab

August 15th, 2012
9:26 pm

gooo dawgs… 15 more days. hope the buffalo game gets these players warmed up..

JB

August 15th, 2012
9:27 pm

Play book to complicated. Not sure he can pass protect. Red Shirt and see the field sometime his soph year in mop up duty. Play the guy whose been there 4 years and gets tackled by the white lines on the field.

True Dawg

August 15th, 2012
9:27 pm

Nothing really important here. It was ones vesus twos as usual. The story doesn’t say wich backs were running against which defense so this whole article is suspect. Could be good, could be bad. We still have to wait and see, which is exactly how CMR wants it and how it should be.We’re talking about practice ya’ll… PRACTICE!!!

441North

August 15th, 2012
9:28 pm

Just remember guys, this is against the no. twos.

JB

August 15th, 2012
9:28 pm

9-3 this year with this team and schedule means bridesmaid forever under Richt, just say’n.

Grantham's The Man!

August 15th, 2012
9:29 pm

Sounds good to me! Isiah who? I also like Richt’s Vince Dooley impersonation.

Look for the Defense to win the next one. Go dawgs!

JB

August 15th, 2012
9:31 pm

Concerns me we haven’t opened many running lanes the last 2-3 years. Our backs seem to “hit a brick wall” when they get to the line. Not much push, and Dawgs had the biggest line in NCAA football last year

True Dawg

August 15th, 2012
9:32 pm

What really concerns me is whether or not CMR and CMB are willing to throughout the game plan if something is working very well. In the past if we are running well, they want to pass and vice versa. Remember the Bowl game with Texas A&M a few years back? They couldn’t stop our running game and for whatever the reason CMR and CMB decided to run it down their throat. Nearly every play was a running play! We even lined our fullbacks in the I.

BiggDawgK

August 15th, 2012
9:33 pm

The offense seems like they are going to be scoring a lot of points. Since everyone has repeatedly stressed that Georgia won’t be playing any good teams at all this year, even if the defense gives up a few scores it won’t matter anyway.

I wonder how the fans of the gameCOCKS, the gaytors, the barn and the pathetic north avenue trade school feel knowing everyone considers them a joke.

JB

August 15th, 2012
9:35 pm

True Dawg…..How about the SECCG last year when we came out with a 160 pound walk on RB in the second half and we were going to prove we could run on the number one D in the country and we could hardly run on Tech’s defense. We had them on their heels the first half. WTH.

BC

August 15th, 2012
9:36 pm

Richt continues to downplay Gurley’s superior performances, sounds familiar, did the same junk with Thomas & Ealey until they got sick of it and transferred.

Keep it up Richt, Gurley will transfer, just like Ealeyu & Thomas did, and they’ll find a coach who sees what they do, and your two favorites, Samuel & Marshall will get all the reps.

And that 8-4 season will be your year.

P.S. Speaking on 1 big play, Marshall was 4 rushes for 10 yards and 1 rush for 52 (Well, Keith Marshall has had 1 big run in 2 games, the rest of his carries were for a 2 yard average), so Marshall is the one Richt should be making THAT comment about, CERTAINLY NOT GURLEY.

I love this time of year

August 15th, 2012
9:38 pm

This may be a nc year , if not for the tough schedule

BC

August 15th, 2012
9:38 pm

Lovin the 2 catches by Gurley for 22 yards. The guy is a playmaker.

kerryb

August 15th, 2012
9:39 pm

Steamer Lane Bulldog
August 15th, 2012
9:12 pm

The N. Carolina boys and the new punter seem to be rounding, into pretty good shape.
The suspended guys are playing great. I just wish they could be more mature and stay out of trouble.
The Mizzou game scares me a little.

____________________________________________________________________________

Don’t worry so much about Missou. They have no O-line anymore. They had 2 starters go down with season ending injuries in their first scrimmage. Their LG was a 5th year Senior. He is backed up by a walk-on and true Freshman. Their RT went down with an ACL. He is backed up by a red shirt Sophomore. Our front 7 will run right through whats left of their O-line.

JB

August 15th, 2012
9:39 pm

I love Samuels heart, but he is a straight up, straight line runner who goes down easy. He’s big and strong and ought to be used inside the 10 for power.

nobody

August 15th, 2012
9:41 pm

What defense do Gurley and Marshall go against since they are basically third string?

JESUPDAWG

August 15th, 2012
9:44 pm

Looks like the tailback race is going to be a tough one. But it also looks like Gurley wants to play ball!!

OrlandoDawg

August 15th, 2012
9:46 pm

u go gurley…dawgs r hot baby

Cobb Dawg

August 15th, 2012
9:48 pm

Why do some assume that it’s 1’s vs 2’s? This ain’t HS!

JB

August 15th, 2012
9:49 pm

Our D will be the same D, only stronger,bigger,wiser, that played LSU in the first half. Let’s hope they’ve learned there are two halves. If so, look out

BC

August 15th, 2012
9:49 pm

Guess all that work Murray did with the Manning brothers didn’t pay off, if he can’t complete more than 57% against the No 2 defense.

Another interception, and a fumble. After Murray’s fourth Spring, really see why Mark Richt is concerned. Murray couldn’t get the ball to Tavarres King against the No 2 pass defense. This is the worst possible news.

That kind of performance by Aaron Murray, against the UGA No 2 defense, wouldn’t beat Mizzou, GT, Auburn, Florida, or South Carolina.

Not surprised Hutson Mason struggled against the No 1 defense. The No 1 defense was solid against the pass, going against the back up No. 2 set of receivers and the No 2 oline

Concerning, the No 1 defense is NOT solid against the run as Malcome & Samule both averaged over 6 yards per carry.

BC

August 15th, 2012
9:56 pm

Clemons is coming on. Vasser showed why he is No 1 on the depth chart today. Ogletree had a big day.

No 1 set of Receivers corp were completely shut down, King-Bennett-Brown-Lynch. Murray just couldn’t connect with any of them.

southgadawg

August 15th, 2012
9:58 pm

@BC

Are you lost in space? Please tell me you dont think Thomas and Easley shouldnt have transfered?

Don'tsufferfools

August 15th, 2012
9:59 pm

Get off all of this 1s vs 2s whining. When you are trying to develop a young OLine the last thing you need is for their confidence to be destroyed in a scrimmage. They need to experience success, not get stonewalled by Jenkins, Geathers, Washington, A.Jones and crew. 1 vs. 2 also develops more depth. Can you imagine the whining if we read poor offensive stats of 1O vs. 1D? No team is going to scrimmage 1s against each other for more than a handful of plays 2 weeks before season opener.

BC

August 15th, 2012
9:59 pm

Gurley sounds a lot like Trent Richardson with his ability to bust plays with big explosion runs. From his teammates comments, he’s SEC ready right now.

Too bad Mark Richt still has Harton getting as many carries as Gurley.

BC

August 15th, 2012
10:04 pm

Murray had 1 big 78 yard pass, his other 7 completions were only for 80 yards total.

Marshall had 1 big 52 yard run, his other runs averaged less than 2 yards a carry.

A little surprised Richt didn’t mention Murray or Marshall’s 1 big play, since Richt’s so into the “1 big play” theme with Gurley apparently now every press conference.

Brian

August 15th, 2012
10:05 pm

You know things are going well when you average 12.4 ypc and are a footnote. Good job Keith Marshall!

bubba4dawgs

August 15th, 2012
10:06 pm

Good to see the offense showing so well! Sounds like Todd is going to produce but I feel the other backs will do the same! Isaiah who? Who was worried about missing him? The weed has been removed from the team! GO DAWGS!!

USA today editor

August 15th, 2012
10:07 pm

Is there any defense? But anyone who puts stock in preseason scrimmages needs to step back and get realistic

BC

August 15th, 2012
10:14 pm

Defense did a great job forcing turnovers. About time.

BobDawg

August 15th, 2012
10:16 pm

When I saw Gurley’s size and speed I wondered why everyone was talking about Marshall and not much about Gurley… His size is more SEC ready than Marshall and looks like he has the instincts to take it to the House and break tackles…
BC, Richt is creating a good mindset not getting all lovey on the Frosh… Dooley didn’t even start Walker in his first game….

BobDawg

August 15th, 2012
10:19 pm

Actually, I only want Murray to throw 18 -25 times a game/Max… With this stable of backs, we can run the ball down most teams throats….and let the D do the rest….

Dawg Haus

August 15th, 2012
10:20 pm

Good to hear so many young Dawgs are doing well. I’m loving the freshman tailbacks!

Dewayne

August 15th, 2012
10:30 pm

I’d love to see them play all 4 of the backs in a game. Rotate them in an out throughout the game. It would open up the play action passing game. The O Line just needs to do their jobs!