ATHENS, Ga. - Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger knew 15 spring practices could serve as a steep learning curve, and they weren't mistaken.
Georgia's two freshman quarterbacks finished spring drills Saturday at G-Day, with the Red team that included Mettenberger pulling out a 13-3 win. Murray had the better afternoon, completing 3 of 5 passes for 62 yards, and both agreed they're better than they were last month.
"My first practice, I went out there and was rushing my footwork and launching the ball over the wall of the practice field," the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Murray said. "I was everywhere, but I thought after each practice that I calmed down and saw the defenses a little better. It was confusing for a young guy, because I had never seen half of those defenses before."
Murray completed more than 50 percent of his passes in all three scrimmages and had the longest pass play of each one. The longest play Saturday was his 43-yard strike midway through the third quarter to walk-on receiver Marquise Brown, who fumbled after getting stripped by outside linebacker Nick Williams.
Mettenberger was 0-for-3 with an interception and was sacked twice. In the three scrimmages, the 6-5, 229-pounder completed 2 of 18 passes for 43 yards with two interceptions.
"I feel like I can only get better from here," he said. "I'm going to work my tail off this offseason and will get bigger and smarter."
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said neither freshman overtook redshirt sophomore Logan Gray for the No. 2 spot and noted that he didn't expect one to because this spring was more about learning the system. He said the early enrollees have proven to be intelligent and fundamentally sound and have bright futures.
"For some reason, the balls that Zach has thrown have been dropped more than the balls Aaron has thrown," Richt said.
It's wide open
Sophomore Caleb King had a chance to distance himself this spring in the race to replace Knowshon Moreno at tailback, but Richt said that position will be wide open entering preseason camp.
"I would say we'll play more than one guy," he said. "I can't say we can feature a guy right now. In camp, that might be defined. Within two or three games, that might be defined."
Redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas led all tailbacks Saturday with 59 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. King had 22 yards on seven rushes, while junior walk-on Kalvin Daniels had 20 on three.
Houston still healthy
Sophomore defensive end Justin Houston had two sacks and a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown in Georgia's second scrimmage, and he followed it with three more sacks at G-Day. Houston and former offensive lineman Kiante Tripp were the only healthy scholarship ends to finish spring.
"He didn't miss any practices during the year and he didn't miss any practices this spring, and it's showing," Richt said. "I think he's ready to be pretty productive for us. I'm not going to predict a bunch of sacks or that kind of thing, but he's big and strong and athletic and has long arms."
Odds and ends
Georgia's previous record crowd for G-Day was 30,085 in 1982. ... The Bulldogs have landed their second and third commitments for the 2010 signing class, receiving nonbinding pledges from safety Marc Deas (6-0, 185) of Kissimmee, Fla., and defensive tackle Kolton Houston (6-5, 270) of Buford, Ga.