G-Day recap: Offense looks good

ATHENS – For the first two series of Saturday's annual spring G-Day game, Georgia's offense looked like the 2003 version, moving the ball steadily but missing out on big plays and scoring opportunities.

However, starting quarterback David Greene and wide receiver Fred Gibson finally got on track to break a 0-0 halftime tie and lead the first-team offense's Red team to a 21-0 win over the first-team defense's White team.

"It was good to see the offense score," said Coach Mark Richt, who didn't work with either team during the game. "It was getting kind of boring, but I wouldn't have been upset if it had ended 0-0."

A crowd of 25,134 enjoyed a beautiful day in Sanford Stadium.

"I was really excited to see the crowd," Richt said. "It was certainly the biggest in my four years, and some people who have been around a while said that it was the biggest crowd they could remember."

The fans saw Gibson rebound from an early drop to catch five passes for 129 yards, including touchdowns of 47 yards over cornerback Mike Gilliam and 64 yards over cornerback Tim Jennings. Gibson had a shot at another score on the Red team's second possession, but Greene underthrew a long ball and Gibson dropped it under pressure from Greg Blue.

"If he would have led me, I probably would have scored three touchdowns," Gibson said. "He redeemed himself, though."

Gibson's first touchdown actually came out of the hands of reserve quarterback Tommy Wilson to cap the first drive of the second half.

"That kind of got Greene going," Richt said.

Greene re-entered the game on the next series and found Gibson for the 64-yard score. On the next series, Greene threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Bryan McClendon, who made a great catch in the back of the end zone.

"It's really a good sign for the offense," Greene said. "That's the one thing we couldn't get going last year, is just making plays."

Greene finished 11-of-13 for 131 yards. Wilson was 2-of-3. White team starter Joe Tereshinski III finished 5-of-17 for 43 yards and two interceptions, both made by walk-on safety Chris Burgett. Freshman Blake Barnes was 6-of-6 for the White team.

Danny Ware led all rushers, gaining 43 yards for the Red team. Kregg Lumpkin had 38 yards for the Red team.

White team linebacker Odell Thurman defended his unit, correctly pointing out that many of the defensive starters didn't play the second half. Mary Persons graduate Tra Battle led the White team with seven tackles. (Starting defensive end David Pollack was held out of the game because he is too disruptive to the offense, Richt said.)

"They scored a couple points on the second string defense.," Thurman said. "I won't say they wouldn't have scored on us, but I don't see that happening."

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder told his several of his starters days ago that they wouldn't be playing the second half, but Thurman thought VanGorder would change his mind to try to preserve the halftime shutout.

"I thought, he's not going to take us out now," Thurman said. "I was like, ‘Just one more series.' He said, ‘No, you just might as well take your shoulder pads off.'"

The team will gather today so the Red team can enjoy the winner's dinner of steak and lobster while the White team eats beans and franks.

"I'm going to steal somebody else's steak and lobster," Thurman said.

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