Defense dominates first scrimmage

ATHENS — Georgia held its first spring scrimmage of the season on a beautiful Friday afternoon at its practice fields. At least, it was a beautiful afternoon for the defense, which, by all accounts, dominated the offense.

"We know we have to get better," quarterback D.J. Shockley said. "We didn't do as well as we wanted to."

Added: offensive lineman Daniel Inman: "They didn't make mistakes, and we killed ourselves."

That's expected this time of the season, coach Mark Richt said.

"I'd worry if the offense rolled up and down the field in the spring," he said. "On a good football team, the defense will stone the offense this time of year."

The offense is particularly having trouble making plays on the perimeter, where senior cornerbacks Tim Jennings and DeMario Minter have been head-and-shoulders better than the first-team wide receivers.

"I think the biggest mismatch at this moment is our cornerbacks versus our wide receivers," Richt said. "That's making it tough on the offense right now. We're getting a lot of single coverage and not making a lot plays. That's what happened today."

On one play when Sean Bailey did get open deep, Shockley overthrew him, Richt said.

The controlled scrimmage started with the first- and second-team offenses each taking two, eight-play drives against the first- and second-team defenses, respectively. Shockley took both first-team drives, and Joe Tereshinski and Blake Barnes each played in one of the second-team drives.

The offense didn't score on any of the drives. Tereshinski's possession came the closest to scoring, and he remains the clear-cut No. 2 quarterback, Richt said.

The second half of the workout was devoted to situations such as first-and-goal from the 10-yard line. In those drills, Shockley threw short touchdowns passes to Bryan McClendon and Bailey. Shockley didn't throw any interceptions.

"I don't think he threw any balls that even could've gotten picked," Richt said.

One of the bright spots for the offense was the play of offensive guards Josh Brock and Bartley Miller. Brock and Miller missed the 2004 season due to shoulder injuries, but played well and stayed healthy Friday, Richt said.

KICKING ROTATION: Brandon Coutu is still ahead of Andy Bailey for the Bulldogs' starting place-kicking job, Richt said.

"Statistically, Coutu has done better, not by an unbelievable margin, but he's been pretty solid," Richt said. "If the decision was made right now, Brandon would be the kicker, but there's still time."

The Bulldogs opened Friday's scrimmage with kicking drills. Bailey and Coutu each were 3-for-4. Both players missed from 40 yards. Bailey's attempt was blocked by Martrez Milner.

"We're both hitting the ball well right now," Coutu said.

Bailey is still confident he can win back the job he held most of last season and feels like he's in the thick of the race now.

"We just rotate. I don't think there's a set order," he said. "I think it's about an even race."

BUMPS AND BRUISES: Center Russ Tanner (knee) and safety Tra Battle (back) suffered minor injuries that took them out of the scrimmage, but neither player was seriously hurt, Richt said. Defensive tackle Kedric Golston limped off the field with his left shoe and sock off but appeared to be fine.

FAMILIAR FACES: At least one former Bulldog and two future Bulldogs watched practice Friday. Brian VanGorder, who left Georgia's defensive coordinator job for the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, came with one of his sons, and Georgia signees Joe Cox and Mohamed Massaquoi traveled from Charlotte, N.C. to attend. Cox and Massaquoi are classmates at Independence High School in Charlotte.


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