Defense rules the day in Black's 10-0 win

Georgia's defense dominated action during Saturday's G-Day spring football game in Athens.

ATHENS, Ga. ----- Brian Van Gorder was a double winner Saturday.

As the head coach of the Black team in Georgia's G-Day spring football game at Sanford Stadium, Van Gorder was on the winning sideline.

As Georgia's defensive coordinator, Van Gorder also had reason to celebrate, as defense ruled for both teams in the Black's 10-0 win over the Red.

With head coach Mark Richt watching most of the game from the press box, Van Gorder and offensive coordinator Neil Callaway called the plays from the sideline. The view from either vantage point led to the same conclusion for the defense's domination.

The only touchdown of the game — a 1-yard plunge by fullback J.T. Wall — came with only 1:34 left to play.

The defense's play was not a major surprise, since it had the upper hand for most of the spring schedule.

"It was a defensive day, certainly, but it has been a defensive day since about the sixth day of practice,'' Richt said. "A lot of it had to do with familiarity (of the offense). ... They've just done a really fine job.''

Added Van Gorder: "I was really pleased with both sides defensively. I like how we're running the field. I like our intensity. I like how we're putting a lot of hats on the ball.''

The Sanford Stadium crowd of 17,812 reacted to every opportunity to see quarterback D.J. Shockley, giving the redshirt freshman applause even for missed passes. The fans booed when referees blew early whistles on sacks that stopped the elusive quarterback.

All quarterbacks wore green jerseys and were exempt from contact, so defensive players earned sacks just by touching the quarterbacks — even on plays when it was clear Shockley would have avoided the tackle.

Shockley completed only 4 of 17 passes for 90 yards for the Red team, but that was enough to keep pace with David Greene's 2-for-13 passing for 41 yards for the Black.

There were no interceptions, but Shockley lost a fumble at the Black 22-yard line in the fourth quarter. He recovered another fumbled snap earlier in the game.

Shockley gave himself an "average'' grade for his first college game in front of fans.

"It was not up to par where I like it,'' Shockley said. "There were little mistakes here and there.''

Shockley had a long run of 17 yards but lost 30 yards on three sacks.

"I was a little frustrated with (early whistles), too,'' Shockley said. "A couple of times they got a little happy and I could have gotten away. Time will tell.''

The leading rusher was Ronnie Powell, who netted 81 yards on 15 carries for the Black. Bruce Thornton rushed for 25 yards on seven carries while also starting at cornerback for the Red.

Richt noted that Thomas Davis, who moved to safety from linebacker, and Matt Redding, who moved from quarterback to defensive end to linebacker, were two "who surprised me'' this spring.

Davis (six tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery) and defensive tackle Gerald Anderson (five tackles) led the Red defense.

Johnathan Sullivan (five tackles), Derrick White, Will Thompson and Tony Gilbert were credited with quarterback sacks for the Black defense.

True freshman Darrius Swain knocked down two of Greene's passes and, at 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds, looked like he is ready to contribute in the fall at defensive tackle.

"At any given time, he can do something great,'' Richt said. "We've just got to get him in shape.''

Billy Bennett kicked a 27-yard field goal in the second quarter but missed from 35 yards on his first attempt and had another kick blocked at the end of the first half.

The lone touchdown of the game was set up by a trick play. Greene gave the ball to tight end Robert Brannon, who passed 24 yards to receiver Jarrett Berry to the Red 5-yard line. Powell ran four yards to the 1 to set up Wall's score.

Berry caught three passes for 91 yards. Tight end Ben Watson led the Red with three receptions for 66 yards.

"What this definitely says is regardless of who the quarterback is, you've got to have some help around him,'' Richt said.


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