The defense was so dominant during Georgia’s second preseason scrimmage Saturday morning that Bulldogs coach Mark Richt jumped in the huddle at one point to make sure his defenders still were interested.
“Don’t get tired of whipping their tail,” Richt said of his message in recalling the scene. “Don’t get tired or bored or feel sorry for them. Just keep whipping them.”
The offense managed only one long field goal by junior kicker Blair Walsh during the extended-drive portion of the scrimmage, according to information provided by Richt. The defense scored when junior outside linebacker Justin Houston scooped up a fumble and raced 33 yards.
Houston and senior outside linebacker Darryl Gamble each had three sacks, while senior inside linebacker Akeem Hebron had five tackles and a fumble recovery.
“I think with every practice and every scrimmage, we get more and more confidence,” Houston said. “As you get more comfortable, you can go hard to the ball. I’m sure we made mistakes, but we’ll watch the film and we’ll keep getting better.”
Not until the late stages of the scrimmage, when the ball was put on the 12-yard line going in, did the offense start producing.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray, who went 12-for-21 for 237 yards with two touchdowns in the first scrimmage, completed 8 of 20 passes for 133 yards Saturday against the same No. 2 defense. Freshman backup Hutson Mason was 8-of-18 for 48 yards.
Former quarterback Logan Gray had three receptions for 70 yards and caught a 46-yarder from Murray that set up Walsh’s kick.
“Logan Gray had a fine day,” Richt said. “Of all the offensive players, he probably had the best day making a couple of plays.”
Sophomore tailback Washaun Ealey had 78 yards on seven carries, but Richt said one long run made his stat line misleading. Junior tailback Caleb King had 18 yards on seven carries.
Junior receiver A.J. Green had 141 yards and two touchdowns during the first scrimmage but only one catch Saturday.
The offense played without center Ben Jones (knee), guard Cordy Glenn (mononucleosis) and tackle Josh Davis (ankle). Jones, who suffered his injury during the first scrimmage, is scheduled to have his knee scoped today but is expected back by the Sept. 4 opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Redshirt freshman center Chris Burnette, junior guard Tanner Strickland and sophomore tackle A.J. Harmon have assumed temporary starting roles.
“I’m glad we’ve got three more weeks to iron this stuff out,” Richt said. “This is the time of year you want to be gaining confidence offensively and defensively. I’m sure the defense gained confidence today, but I’m not sure the offense did.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...