McKenzie Opens Eyes in Scrimmage

ATHENS - A piece of information came out of Georgia’s closed scrimmage via Twitter Saturday evening from an invited guest about freshman Isaiah McKenzie returning a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Coach Mark Richt afterwards tamped down excitement that may be generated by that.

“Well, it wasn’t live, it was a thud,” Richt said. “It looked like he did. I’d have to see the film to say that he wouldn’t have got tackled. You don’t tackle on thud so you just keep going. A guy might come up and bump him out in space or two-hand tag him out in space. He did run from where he caught it to the end zone. …I’d temper that a little bit.”

Even so, McKenzie and freshmen Nick Chubb and Sony Michel made good first impressions in the first Sanford Stadium scrimmage. McKenzie and Michel were teammates at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla.

The 5-foot-10, 228-pound Chubb from Cedartown rushed for 52 yards on seven carries while working with the first and second team. He had the longest run of the day of 19 yards.

“He’s a load now,” Richt said. “He’s a tough guy to bring down. He’s a very strong guy.”

Michel, a 5-foot-11, 208-pounder, had 21 yards on five carries and caught two passes.

McKenzie also caught a long pass from Brice Ramsey, one of two catches he had in the scrimmage.

“We’re using him in a lot of different roles,” quarterback Hutson Mason said. “I think everyone knows he can be special player and kind of change the dynamics and use special teams for us this year and really change field positions.”

Among other freshmen: outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter was credited with three tackles and a sack, cornerback Shaq Jones had five tackles and a pass breakup, cornerback Malkom Parrish had a sack, tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.

This and that

Marshall Morgan “is kicking the ball extremely well,” Richt said. The All-SEC kicker converted a field goal from over 50 yards and missed a couple more over 50 “barely. He’s striking the ball extremely well.”

Quarterback Faton Bauta, competing for the No. 2 job, again went “live” in the scrimmage, allowing the defense to tackle him. Just like the spring. “He came to my office and asked if it would be OK to be live in the scrimmage,” Richt said. Bauta wanted to be able to use his athleticism. “He made some plays,” Richt said. “He’s just a tough kid.”

Richt said nothing jumped out injury-wise from the scrimmage. “Nah, it was kind of a typical scrimmage,” Richt said. “Usually we have less injuries in scrimmages than we do in practices sometimes.”

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