2006 Spring Football: Full Scrimmage Rundown

ATHENS – Mark Richt came away from his team's first scrimmage of the spring happy with basically everything, from the injury situation to the Sanford Stadium field condition to all four of his competing quarterbacks.

"The most important and exciting news today is nobody got hurt," Georgia's head coach said after his Bulldogs went full pads and full contact for two hours Saturday. "I thought the field looked really good. We had it painted up pretty and had some recruits there and everything."

The most important things, though, were happening above turf level, where the quarterback competition remained tight and a newcomer continued to emerge on both sides of the ball.

Senior quarterback Joe Tereshinski started the scrimmage off by showcasing his biggest advantage. With the first-team defense in man coverage, Tereshinski audibled to a takeoff route, and hit Kenneth Harris for a 40-yard gain, starting safety Tra Battle said.

Tereshinski, the most experienced of the quarterbacks, led the first-team offense to the 1-yard line on a 10-play, 74-yard drive but didn't get the team into the end zone.

"I went out there and made some good reads, threw some good balls, did it quickly," said Tereshinski, who is working exclusively with the first team while the other three quarterbacks rotate first-team snaps. "Overall, I felt like I graded out pretty well."

Redshirt freshman Joe Cox took the other drive with the first team offense and failed to score. Cox worked with the first-team offense because it was his day in the normal rotation, quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo said. (In spring, Georgia's first-team offense works against the first-team defense and both second-team units face each other.)

"I think I did pretty well," Cox said. "I knew what to do on every play. I understood what was going on against every defensive look. I knew where the ball should have gone. That was my main thing."

Freshman Matthew Stafford and sophomore Blake Barnes each led a touchdown drive with the second-team offense.

Stafford took the team 75 yards on five plays and hit Mikey Henderson on a 30-plus yard scoring pass, Bobo said. Barnes finished off his drive with a touchdown pass to walk-on running back Jason Johnson.

"I thought (Stafford) looked good, threw the ball well," Bobo said. "He missed a couple, rushed it with his feet, but for his first time going out there in the stadium, I thought he was calm and didn't show any signs of being nervous. He was ready to play."

Tereshinski had two touchdown passes and Stafford had one in situational drills, Richt said. Barnes struggled in the situational drills, Bobo said.

"I'd say everybody who had opportunities to make plays did," Richt said. "I think Stafford, Tereshinski and Blake probably had a few more opportunities to make good things happen. Joe Cox, it seemed when his turn rolled around, people weren't quite as open and he didn't get protected very well, but I think he managed things very well."

Battle said the competition still looks pretty even from his vantage point.

"They all look pretty good," he said. "Joe T has the most knowledge. Stafford, he has an incredible arm. Joe (Cox) reads the secondary pretty well. Blake, he always finds the checkdowns. He's not going to make a bad throw most of the times."

The Bulldogs will not juggle their quarterback pecking order based on Saturday's work, Richt said. Cox, Stafford and Barnes will continue to rotate during practices, and tafford and Barnes each will get a chance to work with the first-team offense during the remaining two scrimmages, he said.

"You are always evaluating on what they do, drills and everything, but the bottom line is what they do out in the stadium, playing 11-on-11 without the coach right in your ear giving you a reminder every play," Bobo said.

Henderson's touchdown catch on Stafford's drive was just another in a series of long spring scores. The 5-foot-9 junior was moved from cornerback to wide receiver this spring on a trial basis and has impressed the coaches.

"I don't think he's going to play defense anymore," Richt said. "He's going to be very valuable to us, and he has shown the ability to go deep and to catch the deep ball. Sometimes guys can run real fast, but it's hard to judge the ball and make the play. He's going to push for playing time and even for a starting role if he keeps going the way he's going."

Despite his small stature, Henderson may prove to be the deep threat Georgia lacked most of last season.

"I expected him once we got the ball in his hands on short routes to do a lot of stuff, but he's been running routes well, catching everything, just like a normal receiver," Stafford said.

Tailbacks Thomas Brown and Danny Ware also were impressive, Richt said. Kregg Lumpkin sat out due to a minor shoulder injury but is expected back Monday.

On defense, it's cornerback Asher Allen who continues to assault the depth chart. Allen started the practice off strong with two long punt returns and is in the mix with Thomas Flowers, Henderson and Bryan Evans for that starting job. He also continued to play well on defense, where he stripped a quarterback and recovered the fumble on a cornerback blitz.

"Asher is an incredible athlete," Battle said. "If he can refine his technique, there is no limitation to what he's capable of doing it. Right now, he's making plays and they are just on instinct and ability alone. He gets himself in (bad) positions, and he still makes plays on the ball. If he learns the system and gets his technique down, he can be one of the best cornerbacks we've had."

Richt also praised defensive ends Marcus Howard ("Our guys just couldn't block him," he said), Quentin Moses (two sacks) and defensive end Charles Johnson and linebackers Jarvis Jackson and Marcus Washington.

"On the goal line, the defense was definitely better, but everywhere else, I'd say it was pretty close to even," Richt said. "The ball got moved pretty good, really, better than a couple times in past scrimmages."

The only thing that darkened Richt's sunny attitude was the place-kicking, but that wasn't the fault of kickers Brandon Coutu or Andy Bailey.

"We struggled with the snap and hold," he said. "We're not even close to having an answer there right now. That's a very, very big issue right now."

Stalwart snapper Brian Jordan graduated this offseason, leaving Jordan Wolf, Benjamin Boyd and Bo Fowler to compete for the snapping job. Holder Lee Jackson also is gone, and punter Gordon Ely-Kelso and Dublin's Brian Mimbs are competing for that spot.

"We need Brandon and Andy to have confidence in that snap and hold right now," Richt said. "It's not happening right now and it's getting in their head a little bit."

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