Passing Fancy?

ATHENS - While the rest of the SEC is preparing for the biggest weekend of the conference season so far, the 33-point favorite Bulldogs welcome lowly Vanderbilt for Homecoming.

The Commodores have struggled to be competitive in Athens lately - suffering back-to-back blowout losses in their last two trips Between the Hedges. While the outcome of the game seems inevitable, the Bulldogs’ play at quarterback is in doubt.

Starting signal caller Hutson Mason struggled and threw two interceptions during Georgia’s 35-32 win over Tennessee last weekend. He’s come under scrutiny from fans, and Coach Mark Richt wouldn’t dismiss talk of playing two quarterbacks this week.

“I’ve done it for years,” Richt said of rotating quarterbacks. “I was used to doing it at Florida State, and then when I got here, we did it with (D.J.) Shockley because that’s kind of what I was used to doing.”

The Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1) rotated quarterbacks from 2002-04 and appeared in the SEC Championship twice, winning it in 2002, with David Greene starting and D.J. Shockley filling in from time to time. So a move to a two-quarterback system isn’t unheard of in Athens. Mason’s performance last weekend has opened the door for redshirt freshman Brice Ramsey to get some snaps this weekend - and not just in junk time.

Program insiders speculate that Ramsey will get in at some point in the first half against Vandy, but Richt wouldn’t confirm that is Georgia’s plan.

“A plan (to play Ramsey)? I don’t know,” Richt said.

For his part, Mason said that he’s got to improve if the No. 13 Bulldogs are going to continue winning.

“It starts with me,” Mason said. “All of this starts with me. We have to get better, and I have to get better.”

Brice Ramsey celebrates throwing the first TD of his career. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

Mason will get a chance to do just that with the return of two of the top receivers in the program. For the last year the Bulldogs have been without explosive receivers Justin Scott-Wesley and Malcolm Mitchell, who have both been recovering from ACL injuries suffered in the 2013 season. Richt said on Wednesday that he expects both receivers to play against Vanderbilt.

“They’ll definitely play,” Richt said. “I don’t know how many plays they will play. By no means are they perfectly polished.”

Anything will help the Bulldogs’ struggling passing game. The Bulldogs have failed to throw for more than 200 yards in four consecutive games for the first time since a four-game transition from Joe Cox to Aaron Murray’s in 2009-10.

Meanwhile Georgia continues its fight with the injury bug. Tailbacks Sony Michel (shoulder) and Keith Marshall (ankle) will miss the Vanderbilt contest. Michel could be out for an extended period of time - perhaps as late as the middle of November. But reserve defensive back Rico Johnson got difficult news on Thursday when he was medically disqualified for what Georgia calls a “neurological condition.”


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