Milton solid as top tailback for G-Day game

<b>Tony Milton</b> will line up with the first-team offense when Georgia ends its spring football schedule with Saturday's G-Day game, but the sophomore says he is not assuming he will still be a starter in the fall.

"I'm not (comfortable) at the top of the depth chart by any means,'' Tony Milton said. "I'm still competing with the other guys. We've got five or six other running backs who are doing a great job, and I'm competing against them trying to earn a position.''

The G-Day game, the last of Georgia's 15 spring practices, will feature the first-team offense (Red team) against the starting defense (Black team) at Sanford Stadium.

  The second-team defense (Red) will face the second-team offense (Black). There will be some normal limitations, including no kickoffs, no contact for the quarterbacks and no pass rush on extra points, field goals and punts.

Otherwise, the most noticeable difference will be the length of the game. Each quarter will last 7 minutes, 30 seconds, instead of the standard 15 minutes for college games.

Also notable: David Greene and D.J. Shockley will share time at quarterback with the Red offense instead of each starting on opposing teams. Coach Mark Richt said Friday Greene probably will play the first half and Shockley will play the second half.

Joining Greene, Shockley and Milton on the Red offense will be receivers Reggie Brown, Fred Gibson and Damien Gary, tight end Ben Watson and fullback Jeremy Thomas. Richt said Thomas has used the spring to become established as the starting fullback.

Working behind Milton at tailback with the Red team will be redshirt freshman Michael Cooper.

On the Black team, Joe Tereshinski III should see most of the time at quarterback. Ronnie Powell and Tyson Browning will be the top tailbacks. Tereshinski's targets at receiver will include Mario Raley and Cedric Haywood.

Milton was held out of contact the first half of spring practice as he continued to recover from cracked ribs he suffered in the Sugar Bowl, but the last two weeks he has solidified his status as the player to beat for the starting job when preseason practice begins.

"Tony is our best back, our best tailback, for sure,'' Richt said Friday. With the exit of Musa Smith to the NFL draft, Milton is the leading returning rusher on the team. Including one start, he rushed for 314 yards as a redshirt freshman last season.

Even before spring practice, Richt said he was confident Milton could be the starting tailback.

"No matter what is said, I know I've got to go out there and compete to play each time I'm on the practice field.''

When Milton was held out of contact drills, Powell was next in line, but Cooper and Browning have had opportunities with the No. 1 offense.

With projected starting guards Josh Brock (sprained ankle) and Bartley Miller (shoulder surgery) out with injuries, there is almost no depth left on the offensive line.

The big question today is how the No. 2 offensive line - a unit that will feature tackle Dennis Roland as the only scholarship player - will fare against a much deeper second-team defensive front when the Black team has the ball.

Offensive line coach Neil Callaway said the second-team line should keep the game "fairly competitive.''

"I don't think it will be just a wash for the defensive line,'' Callaway said. "(The second-team offensive line) has had some good moments, but obviously they're not as talented as the No. 2 defense.''

As is the tradition for Georgia spring games, Richt will watch from the press box while his assistants call all the plays. Callaway will call the offensive plays for the Red team, and quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo will call the plays for the Black offense.

In keeping with another tradition, players on the winning team will be rewarded with a meal of steak and lobster, while the losing team will eat beans and franks.

What: Georgia spring football game 
When: Saturday, 2 p.m. 
Where: Sanford Stadium, Athens, Ga. 
TV: CSS (Comcast Sports Southeast) 
Tickets: $5 adults, $2 students (no admission charge for University of Georgia students). Proceeds will benefit the United Way of Northeast Georgia.

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