ATHENS, Ga. — Attempting to place a positive angle on an ugly G-Day by his top two quarterbacks, Coach Mark Richt noted that at least David Greene and D.J. Shockley "didn't throw it up for grabs.''
It was true that neither quarterback threw an interception Saturday, but then again with Greene throwing too short and Shockley consistently throwing too long, nobody on the field — on offense or defense — had much of an opportunity to catch the ball.
"I think we hit about 20 percent of our passes,'' Richt admitted. "(Tight end) Robert Brannon might have been the leading passer of the day.''
Brannon's 24-yard pass to Jarrett Berry at the 5-yard line set up the only touchdown of the day in the Black's 10-0 win over the Red.
While that was good news for the Georgia defense, Richt was left to hope that missing offense Saturday could be attributed to missing offensive players.
When Georgia returns to the practice fields to prepare for its Aug. 31 season opener against Clemson, such players as tailbacks Musa Smith and Tony Milton, receivers Terrence Edwards and Reggie Brown and offensive guard Kevin Breedlove should be in uniform. All were spectators Saturday, severely cutting into offensive firepower already drained by splitting the roster into two teams.
Richt said he would have been satisfied with a 10-0 halftime score and, figuring that the four eight-minute quarters Saturday were really made for only about half of a real game, he concluded that the lack of offense wasn't so distressing after all.
Still, it was impossible to rationalize the combined 6-for-30 passing for Greene (2 of 13 for 41 yards) and Shockley (4 of 17 for 90 yards). Even though neither quarterback had a full roster of receivers, that didn't stop Cory Phillips from looking quite comfortable as he completed 3 of 4 passes for 45 yards, and it didn't stop true freshman Joe Tereshinski III from completing a 38-yard pass to Berry for the longest play of the day.
Greene and Shockley have been in the spotlight this spring as Richt opened the way for a two-quarterback system next season, even though Greene was the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year as the starter last season. Greene will open the 2002 season as the starter, but Saturday may have provided the first sign that he will not react well to new worries about losing playing time to Shockley. Meanwhile, Shockley showed he can be an elusive runner, but he otherwise did little to show that he deserved a share of the position.
Richt continues to stand by both players.
"Greene is the starting quarterback; I don't see that changing anytime soon,'' Richt said. "I think both are capable of playing in the next league if they continue to progress. ... I like them both a lot and I see them both playing a lot.''
Richt said that if it becomes "painfully obvious'' that one quarterback deserves the full-time job, "then we'll see at that point.''
Meanwhile, Richt is eagerly awaiting contributions from his 2002 class of signees.
Even if Smith makes a full recovery from the groin injury that has slowed him for six months, there still will be room for freshmen Michael Cooper and Reshard Dudley to make an impact.
It also will be important for freshmen offensive linemen to earn backup positions and prepare for 2003, when this year's six seniors on the line will be gone.
NOTES: The only injury of note in the G-Day game came when offensive guard Chris Hewitt suffered a sprained knee in the third quarter. The injury was not thought to be serious. Hewitt's injury gave sophomore walk-on Jake Hooten of Columbus a chance to play the rest of the way.
Charles can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com