Georgia Bulldogs turning attention to G-Day

Defensive end Josh Dawson (91) pressures quarterback Faton Bauta (10) during Georgia's annual G-Day game at Sanford Stadium on Saturday in Athens, Ga. Bauta is the Bulldogs' No. 2 quarterback.

It's game week for the Georgia Bulldogs.

Sort of.

Georgia held its 11th spring football practice Tuesday afternoon and will work out again Thursday before Saturday's G-Day game. The Bulldogs will hold two practices next week to conclude spring drills, but it's Saturday's game that has players eager to perform before a Sanford Stadium crowd.

"With this being my last spring, I am really excited," senior defensive end Josh Dawson said by phone Tuesday night. "Both sides of the ball have shared the same mindset of getting better, and now we can go out there and show it. I'm really looking forward to Saturday."

Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said hot and muggy conditions provided a good challenge Tuesday, and he is hoping for more of the same later this week.

"The guys fought through it, and I think we got better," Richt said. "It was a feast or famine day. There were either a lot of big plays happening both ways, either a nice play offensively or an interception or forced fumble on defense. I think our defense is doing a nice job of raking the ball out.

"We had way too many balls come out, but it is a tribute to the defense and the job they are doing, and it's going to make us better offensively."

photo Coach Mark Richt participates in a news conference in this Dec. 29, 2014, file photo.

Dawson was the beneficiary of one of Georgia's biggest defensive plays last season, falling on a fumbled exchange by Tennessee in the end zone for a touchdown. The score gave the Bulldogs a 35-25 lead over the Volunteers with 4:25 remaining, and they held on for a 35-32 triumph.

The 6-foot-4, 266-pounder from the Atlanta suburb of Tucker tallied 17 tackles last season and four tackles for loss. Dawson played in all 13 games and made four starts, including the 37-14 thumping of Louisville in the Belk Bowl.

"The goal is to build off last season and keep the ball rolling this year," Dawson said. "I'm having a good spring, and I know it's an important time for me. Hopefully I can carry it over to the fall."

Back at practice

Redshirt junior tailback Keith Marshall shed his noncontact jersey Tuesday in practice and could play at G-Day. Marshall has been battling a hamstring injury.

"I wouldn't say he's 100 percent, but he did get more reps," Richt said. "He got more work than I thought he would. He did get some reps, which is good for him and good for his fellow backs, because it takes a little pressure off of them."

Odds and ends

Jacob Eason, the top-rated quarterback nationally in the 2016 signing class and a Georgia commitment, attended Tuesday's practice. ... Former Georgia and Alabama defensive tackle Jonathan Taylor pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Athens to his felony domestic violence charge from last July. Taylor has a status conference set for June 30.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.